That mission took him to an Illinois car dealership where he purchased the car he had been dreaming about while serving overseas: a marina blue 1967 Chevrolet Corvette.
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Paid for with money he’d sent home from the war for that very purpose, Keith Litavsky took meticulous care of the car.
He kept diaries of its use where he logged each time he started it and the RPMs he hit. He never drove it in the rain. He refused to park it in the sun. He even instructed his five children not to talk to anyone about the car out of fear it would be stolen.
After decades of caring for the vehicle, Keith Litavsky died in 1993 of cancer from exposure to Agent Orange on his last mission in Vietnam. That is when his son, Matt, inherited the car and vowed to carry on his father’s legacy of meticulous care and sharing each magical moment with the dream car with his growing family.
“One of my first memories as a kid happened to do with that car,” Matt Litavsky explained. “I have two brothers, and my dad would take the cover over the jack stand out behind the back seats, and we would take our shoes off and carefully sit in the back. Two of us would sit in the back area and one would sit in the driver’s seat, and he would give us rides. … All I can remember is him getting on it, and lot of screaming going on and my head bouncing off of the back window and just loving every second of it going, ‘whoooo!’
“Now it’s part of my family with my wife and three kids, and they cherished it and loved it as much as I did when I was a kid. So it’s kind of bittersweet for us, but I think it’s time.”
With its unparalleled record of care, the Litavsky family Corvette is a highlight of Mecum Indy 2017 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, and the closest thing to a “vault find” you’ll see at the auction this year as it spent most of its life away from public view.
The car, boasting the 427 cubic-inch V-8 with 435 horsepower an M21 close-ratio, four-speed, manual transmission, has just 8,533 miles. In its 50-year history, it has never been judged or shown publicly, and has only been driven 15 miles in the past 15 years.
It is scheduled to cross the Mecum auction block on Saturday. As far as what it will sell for, the value of the car has not been estimated by the folks at Mecum, so enthusiasts will have to wait until the weekend to find out.
Matt Litavsky said owning the car has been a blessing, but it has also been extremely difficult as it brings back memories of his father’s death. passing.
He remembers his dad as a 6-foot-2-inch, 220-pound man made of solid muscle. He remembers him as the man who was injured several times during the war, including once when he was hit by a grenade blast, which that left shrapnel in his body for the remainder of his life.
He remembers him as the man who carried his injured commanding officer out of a horrific firefight, a firefight that only Keith Litavsky would survive. That incident happened during the mission where Keith Litavsky was exposed to the chemical Agent Orange.
“As a result, his commanding officer told him he would nominate him for the Congressional Medal of Honor. Yet he never received the medal because his commander lost his life in a helicopter crash before being able to submit the nomination,” Matt Litavsky told Mecum Auctions. “That crash left my father as the only surviving soldier in his unit. He was released with two Purple Hearts, but it was an endless string of tragedies. We were so happy to have him come home, safe and sound … or so we thought.
“Watching my hero die in front of me was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
Matt Litavsky said moving forward, parting ways with the car will never erase the wonderful memories he has of caring for it with his father. He remembers his father coming home from work at a lab with long cotton swabs and fabric-covered tongue depressors, and how they would use those items to clean every nook and cranny of the already spotless Corvette.
“It has been in our family my whole life … but if something happens to me, my children can split money easier than they can split a car,” he said. “I wanted to do it right, and I think that Mecum Auctions has done a great job. It’s been a real blessing and it’s been a great tribute to my father, my family and the car.”
When someone mentions an electric Lotus, the first thing that comes to mind is the Tesla Roadster, the California-based automaker’s first vehicle. That car started life as an Elise before being heavily massaged and adapted by Tesla’s engineers. In a similar spirit, the people at Onpoint Dyno are close to finishing Blue Lightning, a track-ready all-electric Lotus Evora.
Blue Lightning uses a Tesla drive unit and a Chevrolet Volt battery pack, both mounted in the middle in place of the Evora’s 3.5-liter Toyota V6. It’s putting down about 450 horsepower at the wheels. The car was built for time attack sessions, so power is fed through custom forged wheels and super sticky Pirelli PZero Trofeo R tires, the same ones found on the last Chevrolet Camaro Z/28. There is a custom digital instrument cluster in place of the Lotus gauges. There’s also a regen paddle on the left side of the steering wheel. With a full charge, Blue Lighting should go about 120 miles.
While the car runs under its own power, it’s only about 90 percent complete. It has no power steering, no firewall in between the seats and the motor and battery pack, no A/C, and a large hole where the shift lever used to be. Other final touches include fine-tuning the brakes and suspension. There is also a custom rear bumper coming that should make it look more like the new Lotus Evora 400. Onpoint Dyno expects the car to hit the track in the next month or so.
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The Indianapolis 500, a race where drivers determine who will drink a bottle of milk immediately after winning, has a shiny new pace car for its 101st iteration.
General Motors continues its ridiculous 21-year domination of providing Indy 500 pace cars with the 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport. The Grand Sport is, essentially, a Z06 without the supercharged V8. While it carries much of the ancillary equipment as the most powerful Corvette, it relies on the base model’s LT1 V8.
Still, 460 horsepower is nothing to sneeze at. We had a Corvette Grand Sport at the track last year, and we, offering excellent performance at a price that isn’t outright offensive. It won’t out-race the cars participating in the Indy 500, but nobody would expect the pace car to do that.
This is the 14th Corvette to pick up pace car duties at Indy, and it’s the 28th Chevrolet to do so. General Motors has a rich history of Indy 500 pace cars, including an Oldsmobile Bravada in 2001, a Pontiac Fiero in 1984 and a Cadillac Allante in 1992.
Overall, GM has supplied 52 different pace cars, not all of which are as middling as the ones I just mentioned. The driver of this year’s pace car has not yet been announced, but since the race takes place over Memorial Day weekend, it won’t be too long before we find out.
Chevrolet is on a tear in the IndyCar series. It’s already won five manufacturer championships in a row, with the 2016 season seeing a Chevrolet take the checkered flag in 14 of 16 races.
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Is there going to be a new corvette? Read this: http://westphalchevyblog.com/index.php/2017/05/04/is-gms-bowling-green-plant-retooling-for-a-new-chevrolet-corvette-motor-trend
There has been a lot of buzz about how lightning fast the new Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is and for good reason. The Demon is capable of blasting through the quarter mile in just 9.65 seconds can hit 0 to 60 mph in just 2.1-2.3 seconds. However, that does not mean other manufacturers aren’t working hard to make fast drag cars.
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Currently Camaro SS Drag Race Development Program, a branch of Chevrolet Performance, is working on taking the Camaro SS to the next level. Stock, the Camaro SS is equipped with a naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 that produces a healthy 455 horsepower. However, that isn’t enough power and technology to get a 10 second car.
In order to start locking down quarter mile times within the 10 second range, Camaro SS Drag Race Development Program needed to modify the popular muscle car. Although the new 8L90 automatic transmission has proven to be faster than even the best drag racers, you still need a heaping dose of power to get the needed times. Last year the program took the prop-shaft and half-shaft from the 6th generation ZL1 and added 250mm ring gear from the 5th generation ZL1 in hopes of improving the times. However, in order to added the needed additional horsepower, the program added Chevy’s header and camshaft package for the LT1 (6.2-liter V-8) engine as well as a new exhaust and cold air intake. This brought power up nearly 100 horsepower to 530 horsepower.
Even though the program has been quiet about drag times, modified LT1 Camaro was able to hit 600 horsepower and achieve a 10.685 quarter mile at 125.73 mph. Chevy plans to continue testing so they can produce more performance parts for Camaro SS drag enthusiasts as well as to build a faster car over all. Do you think they are looking to beat the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon?
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Chevrolet Spark Sales have increased 38.5 percent to 7,140 units in the first three months of 2017.
Why not drop by our dealership and check out the fuel efficient Chevrolet Spark?
Spark is perfect for a commuter vehicle, a 2nd car, a dependable vehicle for your kids or it’s plenty nice enough for a daily driver.
Shop Chevrolet Spark online at www.WestphalChevy.com or call our Customer Care Team at 630-898-9630 to schedule your VIP Spark appointment.
Have hybrid questions? Want to know what’s new for 2018? Call our Customer Care Team at 630-898-9630 and they’ll be happy to answer your questions!
If you would like to tour our Corvettes, or any of our Chevy’s for that matter…feel free. Our gates never close and we are open weekdays from 7 am to 9 pm and 8 – 6 on Saturdays.
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Larry Foyt says the team is still struggling to find the optimum setups for the Chevrolet aerokit following its late switch from Honda during the offseason.
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New Ron Westphal Chevrolet salesperson – Mike Logue talks about several new standard features on the all new Chevrolet Equinox.