Electric Corvettes from Pratt & Miller and Ride Makerz
At their facility in New Hudson, Michigan, Pratt & Miller (the engineering team behind the AMLS Corvette program) recently introduced eco-friendly editions of their famed C6R and C6RS Chevrolet Corvettes. Jumping on the green bandwagon, the new models are smaller and lighter than the company’s current race and street editions.
Now for the details; these all-new eco-friendly Vettes are powered by either high-torque electric motors or the forearm muscles of the driver. Yes, these are toy Corvettes, but they provide plenty of opportunity for good, clean fun.
The Corvettes are manufactured by RIDEMAKERZ®, a company that uses a Build-A-Bear process that lets kids actually “build” model cars that they can have fun with after the build is complete. The two new Corvettes, one that features “Jake” the Corvette Racing mascot (the skull), can be built at Ride Makerz stores in nine states. Models can also be ordered on-line and then assembled at home (www.RideMakerz.com).
At the debut of the new Corvettes at Pratt & Miller’s race shop, Ride Makerz’s CEO Founder Larry Andreini told us, “The new C6R and C6RS tap into American’s general love of cars and their particular passion for America’s sports car, the Chevy Corvette. We’re excited to make these models available so that kids, parents, and any car enthusiasts can all build and trick out their ultimate model Corvette. Fathers and sons should especially be fired up about these Pratt & Miller Corvettes because of their racing record and awesome style. These cars are something they can build and enjoy together.”
While at the press event, I talked with Gary Pratt (pictured with champion driver, Ron Fellows), co-founder of the racing team and engineering firm that opened in 1989. An Ann Arbor native, Gary started racing soapbox derby cars and go-karts when he was a kid. As he tells it, “By the early 1970s, I was racing all over; at Flat Rock, Mt. Clemens, and Toledo. I learned how to build racecars just so that I could keep driving. When I realized that I needed to actually earn a living, that’s when I figured out that I could build cars for other racers. You could say that that was the beginning of what you see here.”
Pratt & Miller’s modern, surgically clean 100,000 square-foot facility employees 140 engineers, fabricators, mechanics and other craftsmen who work on the Corvette Racing program, as well as an impressive array of other projects for the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense. Pratt says, “My partner, Jim Miller, visualized what we could become as an engineering firm, so we’re now much more than just a shop that builds fast race cars.”
While Pratt & Miller’s unseen engineering business gives the company a certain gravitas — as in they’re not a collection of talented hayseed mechanics — the firm is still best known for winning eight straight GT1 Manufacturers Championships in Chevrolet Corvettes. On this Gary Pratt happily reflects, “Yeah, I guess all this shows I’ve come a long way from those soapbox derby cars.”
If the Ride Makerz’ version of the Pratt & Miller Corvette C6RS are too small for you, Gary Pratt and his crew from New Hudson know how to make full-size iterations. Bring a sixth-generation Corvette plus a bag of money ($187,000), and the shop will complete the 600-horsepower, 202 mph transformation with the same expertise that has earned them so many championships.
Rex Roy can be contacted through www.RexRoy.net.
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