First-Ever 1963 Z06 Corvette Stingray – Dave MacDonald Picks Up And Then Races Z06 #684 At Riverside
The First Z06 Corvette Was a Race Car!
Dateline: 8.30.15 – The original Z06 was Duntov’s “racer kit” for the then-new 1963 Sting Ray. Unlike modern Z06s, there was no flash to the first Z06, it was strictly hardware designed for the racetrack – no badges, special body panels, or designations at all! But considering the official “we don’t race” policy of GM, 199 1963 Fuel Injected Corvettes with heavy-duty brakes and suspension, wasn’t anything in GM’s big picture. But, if you wanted to race your Corvette in ’63, it was everything, and Duntov made sure you got what you needed.
Thanks to the SCCA rules that allowed the 2000-pound Cobra to race against the 3100-pound Corvette, even with the Z06 racer kit, the Vette was at a serious disadvantage. Continue reading
Corvette Timeline Tales: NCM inducts James Jeffords, Myron E. Scott, & John A. Cafaro to the Hall of Fame
August 30, 2002 – National Corvette Museum, inducts James Jeffords, Myron E. Scott, and John A. Cafaro into the Hall of Fame.
Dateline: 8.30.15 – The Corvette has lasted longer than Harley Earl, Ed Cole, Zora Arkus-Duntov, and Bill Mitchell ever imagined back in the 1950s, thanks to the continuing passion of men and women that understand the soul of the Corvette. The National Corvette Museum’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony has become a much-anticipated annual event in the Corvette community, as a “Thank You” to those that have carried the flame forward.
James “Jim” Jeffords was two-time SCCA B-production champion and pioneered the successful use of Duntov’s first “racer kit” the RPO 684 that helped him be unbeatable in 1958 and 1959 driving the Nickey Chevrolet “Purple People Eater” 1958 Corvette.. Jeffords also drove Jerry Earl’s 1956 SR-2, as well as some of the top sports cars of the day including a Scarab, a Maserrati Birdcage, and Jaguar. Continue reading
Corvette Timeline Tales: August 20, 1954 – Chevrolet races 1953 Corvette at a NASCAR-sanctioned Raleigh Speedway.
The Corvette was a race car almost from the very beginning!
Yes, these were the first Chevrolet-built Corvette race cars. They don’t look familiar because in this promotion photograph the cars had yet to be decorated. The young man to the left and in the back is Bill France, Jr. in 1953 Corvette VIN #211 and the man on the right and in front is Joe Hawkins in 1955 Corvette VIN #1399. The names of the bathing beauties are not known. Back in the NASCAR’s early days they had a “Sports Car Series,” sometimes called the “International Class” that ran as support races for the Grand National races.
Terry Michaelis, owner of ProTeam Corvette has fully restored the 1953 version and meticulously researched the two cars, stitching together the history of these two forgotten Corvette racecars. Back in the day, working under the direction of three-time Indy 500 winner, Mauri Rose and Chevrolet chief engineer, Ed Cole, the Chevrolet Engineering Department did an admirable job turning the struggling Corvette into a racer. Continue reading
Corvette Timeline Tales: Aug 16, 1969, Astoria-Chas 1967 L88 Corvette Sets A/Sports Production Nat’l Record
August 16, 1969 – AHRA Summer Nationals, at the New York National Speedway, John Mahler drives the Astoria-Chas 1967 L88 Corvette to a A/Sports Production class record.
Dateline: 8.16.15 – Charlie Snyder was a car crazy Long Island teenager who came of age when Joel Rosen and Marty Schorr launched their Baldwin-Motion Phase III Supercars. Schorr was also editor of CARS Magazine, so the enterprise also got plenty of ink via road tests, how-to tech features, and advertising. Snyder bought a new Marlboro Maroon ’67 427/435 Roadster and quickly turned in into a street racer, then a drag car.
Unfortunately, Charlie was drafted and killed in Vietnam, but his friends back home fulfilled his dream by setting a national record with his “Ko-Motion Astoria-Chas” Corvette, with an 11.04 @ 129-mph run. Later, John Mahler ran a 10.47 et at a local track. Then the car was trailered to Chas’ sister’s house, garaged, and covered for the next 31 years! The car was eventually sold to businessman Glen Spielberg who was just a wee lad living on Long Island when Charlie’s car was spending lots of time at the Motion performance shop. Spielberg bought the car from the Snyder family with the promise that he would never restore or race the car. Continue reading
The first wide-body Corvette race car went on the Mecom Monterey 2015 block!
Timeline: 8-15-15- Car auctions have never been more fun ever since they went LIVE online. Below is the video of the auction! Bidding stalled out at $300,000 and was a NO SALE!
It was anticipated that the car would fetch between $550,000 and $700,000, so stalling out at a measly $300,000 is incredible! According to the Mecum description of the car, $250,000 was put into the car’s restoration.
What’s mind-boggling is that earlier in the evening a 1969 L88 Roadster sold for $750,000 – CLICK HERE for details. So, if you’re itching to own a major piece of Corvette racing history, the Greenwood Sebring ’75 Corvette will no doubt be back on the block.
Here are the car’s details from the Mecum info page.
This is the worlds fastest racing Corvette and set a Top Speed Record of 236 MPH at Daytona in 1975!
In the history of endurance racing, some entries have notably stood out in sheer importance, and the car being made available here will satisfy the most discerning criteria. We are proud to present to you the 1974 Greenwood Corvette chassis number 002, the ‘Spirit of Sebring ’75,’ the first and most famous of only six Greenwood wide-body race machines ever built. Continue reading
Pratt & Miller Builds One Hell-of-a Corvette Race Car!
Dateline: 8.15.15 / Story by Jan Hyde, www. RegistryofCorvetteRaceCars.com VIDEO at the bottom of this post!
A story about the # 4 Pratt & Miller C5R-006 that we Corvette race car enthusiasts hope might inspire more collectors to share the rewards by taking their cars for an outing at the track. Expert Corvette Race Car specialists Nigel Dobbie (UK), Jonny Bens (BEL), Marwin Moonen (NE) and Wayne Ellwood (CN) contributed to this story. Nigel Dobbie is the author of Corvette Racing The GT1 years published in 2010 by www.silverwoodbooks.uk .”This car was put through the wringer!” in the words of Dan Binks, Pratt & Miller?s esteemed Crew Chief.
# 4 Racing in the ALMS 2002/2003 with the Corvette Racing Team
During the 2003 season, C5R-006 in the hands of Andy Pilgrim and Kelley Collins won the GTS class in the ALMS race at Road Atlanta on June 29.
Pratt & Miller completed chassis 006 (and sister car 005) in November 2001. It debuted at Sears Point on May 19, 2002 where Pilgrim and Collins finished second in class and won at Mosport later in the year. (Chassis 005 & 006 missed Le Mans because the team needed extra time to prep, ship overseas and test, drawing older Chassis 003 and 004 back into service). Continue reading
Corvette Mike’s Beautiful Video Presentation of the 1956 SR-2 Corvette Racer
Dateline: 7.21.15 “Corvette Mike” of Anaheim, California, the car dealer that ONLY sells used, refurbished, and restored Corvettes, produced this beautiful video of the stunning 1956 SR-2 Corvette Racer. I covered this car in Part 2 of my Vette Magazine “Corvette Experimental, Prototype, Concept, and Show Car Corvettes” series that ran in the December 2014 issue. That article is republished in its entirety at the bottom of this post.
VIDEO HERE: Continue reading
SPECIAL OFFER For John Greenwood Fans
For a limited time, we are offering 12, 11-inches by 17-inches art prints of the late John Greenwood’s racecars, as seen in my “Illustrated Corvette Series,” Vette Magazine monthly column.
Dateline: 7-19-15 The Illustrated Corvette series has been in every issue of Vette Magazine since the spring of 1997, with over 220 installments. In the 18 years the column has been running, I have written and illustrated stories about John and Burt Greenwood’s cars five times. We offer two print versions of each story: one with the story copy and one without. Then I created two single image layouts for a total of 12 prints. Continue reading
The Illustrated Corvette Designer Series No. 218
Words and Art by Scott Teeters as republished from Vette Magazine’s SuperChevy.com
The original Z06 was Zora Arkus-Duntov’s “racer kit” for the then-new 1963 Sting Ray. Unlike modern Z06s, there was no flash to the first Z06, it was strictly hardware designed for the racetrack—no badges, special body panels, or designations at all! But considering the official “we don’t race” policy of GM, 199 1963 fuel-injected Corvettes with heavy-duty brakes and suspension wasn’t anything in GM’s big picture. But, if you wanted to race your Corvette in 1963, it was everything, and Duntov made sure you got what you needed.
The First Independent Purpose-Built Corvette Race Car
The Corvette Racing Team has proven that the Corvette is more than a match for any sports car on the planet. But in the early days, racing a production Corvette would only get you so far. To get to the next level, “purpose-built” race cars were the order of the day. Tube frames (aka “bird cages”) with a thin fiberglass or aluminum body were super lightweight and the low power-to-weight ratio made for a race car that was a handful.
Dave MacDonald was one of the young lions of Southern California sports car racing. He was a natural and quickly earned the nickname, “Master of the Oversteer.” Dave and his racing partner Jim Simpson started racing in 1960 and in their first year won 3 out of 15 races and never finished lower than 4th. In his second year Dave racked up 15 wins and three 2nd place finishes in 24 races and was on his way to being a dominant force. But like all racers, Dave and Jim wanted to move up into something faster. It was Carroll Shelby who suggested the guys get a Max Balchowsky chassis and build a purpose-built car. (Be sure to check out the video of this car. Click the “Continue reading” link)
Corvette Racing Legend, Dave MacDonald Inducted Into National Corvette Museum Hall of Fame
Dateline: 9-27-14 Auto racing legend Dave MacDonald was inducted into The National Corvette Museum Hall of Fame on August 28, 2014, in Bowling Green, Kentucky. MacDonald’s induction took place 50 years after the extremely talented young driver was tragically killed in his rookie race at the 1964 Indy 500 that also claimed the life of driver Eddie Sachs. After the race, an investigation determined that there was, “No driver error.”
MacDonald learned his driving skills in Southern California behind the wheel of several championship-winning first generation Corvettes. A gentle, quiet family man off the track, MacDonald was known as “The Master of Oversteer” and a fierce competitor. His driving skills were such that they attracted the attention of two other legends in auto racing of that time, Corvette Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov and Carroll Shelby. MacDonald drove prototype test cars for Duntov and was eventually hired by Shelby to drive Cobras professionally.
His induction into The National Corvette Museum’s Hall of Fame was well deserved and more than a little overdue. Regardless, Dave MacDonald now has a prominent and permanent place in Corvette history.
I have written extensively about the life and times of Dave MacDonald and have had the pleasure of getting to know the MacDonald family. I have Dave MacDonald’s younger brother Doug to thank. Many years ago I created a piece of line art for VETTE Magazine as a column filler “spot art” illustration. Later I included the illustration as an art print on my IllustratedCorvetteSeries.com website and mistakenly titled the print, “Dave MacDonald’s 1961 Corvette Racer.”
The 2014 National Corvette Museum’s Hall of Fame inductees included, left-to-right: Automotive Journalist and Author Jerry Burton, Corvette Engineer and Race Car Driver John Heinricy, and Race Car Driver Dave MacDonald.
A BIG weekend for Corvettes on the block!
It’s turning out to be a very interesting weekend for Corvettes at the high-end car auctions, with two big-time events going off at about the same time and area. I checked the RM Auctions website and saw that they have updated their home page and added a “VIEW AUCTION LIVE” link at the top of their homepage. So, they made it easy for us. Auction action starts at 6:60 PM Pacific time (9:30 Eastern Time). If you click the page link before the scheduled start time, all you’ll see is a black box where the streaming video will be. This won’t change until the event starts. After the feed begins, look for the button to Fill Screen, kick back, and enjoy!
If you’re mainly interested in the Owens-Corning 1968 L88 racer, the lot number is 141. The numbering begins with #101, a 1953 Hudson Hornet. So with 40 cars before the Owens-Corning car, it’ll be a few hours before the old war horse Corvette comes thundering upon the stage.
But if you love old cars and racing machines, the auction is a treat. Not only do you get to see the numbers ring up, but before the bidding begins, they describe the car, show photos and videos, as well as letting you get a good look at the car on the turntable. Most of the cars at the RM event are really special and have been lovingly restored and cared for. The marque almost doesn’t matter, they’re just wonderful machines. Continue reading
Subtitle: A Piece of Corvette racing history could be yours! How deep are YOUR pockets?
Sometimes you get a little “I wonder” thought. Yesterday I realized that the RM Auctions Monterey event would be coming up soon and wondered if there might be any interesting Corvettes going on the block. Last year there were five interesting Corvettes that were up for auction – four race cars and one one street Corvette. But the big splash was the auction of the John Greenwood Stars and Strips BF Goodrich 427 ZL-1-powered Corvette racer that went for $580,000. What’a show!
Usually, the cars are carefully pushed on the revolving stage, but for the Greenwood Corvette, the big ZL-1 was fired up off stage, sounding like an approaching thunder storm, and driven on stage. “Seven hundred horsepower, ladies and gentlemen!” said the auctioneer. And the crowd went wild! Yea, it was FUN.
So I checked in with the RM Auctions Monterey website to see if any Vettes were going on the block. But alas, I only found one (as of this date), but what’a beauty. Here’s your chance to buy one of the all-time great Corvette race cars, the ‘68 Owens-Corning Fiberglass L88 A/Production Corvette. This car won 22 consecutive races, qualified on the pole in most of its races, and scooped up the A/Production Championship two times!
The car is currently owned by John Thompson (no relation to race car driver, Jerry Thompson). In ‘07 Thompson sent the car to Corvette Repair for a restoration back to its Daytona ‘71 configuration. Kevin Mackay and his expert team completed the work in ‘08. In ‘09 the car won the NCRS American Heritage Award and was later one of the Chip’s Choice cars on display at the Corvettes at Carlisle Show. Continue reading
Dave MacDonald: Corvette Racer… Corvette Man… Family Man
You can catch Part 1 of this story HERE.
Being hired by Shelby made the MacDonald’s life almost as fast as the cars he drove. In the 17 months between the beginning of ‘63 through to the ‘64 Indy race, MacDonald raced in 44 events. The ‘64 Indy crash was the first time the 500 had ever been stopped because of an accident. The media at the time, would regularly make big headlines over any auto racing mishap, and were all over the crash. While Indy officials quickly concluded that there was no driver error, the race was hotly debated for decades.
“After Indy, I was hurting so, I needed to change my life, so I moved a few miles away, but stayed close to my in-laws. From Indy on, I didn’t follow racing. My interest in racing was basically ONE RACE DRIVER.” It wouldn’t be until the early ‘90s when Corvette fans started recovering and restoring old Corvette race cars that MacDonald’s all too short racing career began to get attention. “It is so gratifying and nice to meet people that raced with Dave and hear how much they admired him, not only for his skill as a driver, but for being a really nice guy.” Today Sherry MacDonald is retired and as busy as ever with volunteer projects and her large family. Continue reading
“Corvettes and Racing” A Wonderful Marriage!
“Corvettes and racing” have been perfect together since 1956. Without the influence of racing, I’m sure that the Corvette would have morphed into something else and been gone long ago. The other day CorvetteBlogger.com posted a story about a 2011 C6.R Le Mans Winning tribute Corvette that’s For Sale. The car looks as if it was just rolled out of the transport and is ready for a few hot laps, but this is a street machine sporting a brand new LS7 crate engine and a host of delicious racing goodies. The car has 52,000 miles on the odometer and the asking price is just $55,000. Almost begs the question, “So what’s wrong with the car???”
Seeing the car got me to thinking about earlier Corvette street machines with a powerful visual racing reference. Arguably the most over-the-top race track-influenced Corvettes were the ‘70s wide-body IMSA Corvettes. The wide body design was the last of Zora Arkus-Duntov’s “racer kit” Corvette parts program and first showed up on John Greenwood’s Corvettes around 1974-1975.
Previous Corvette racer body parts were limited to the functional L88 hood and fender flares. The fender flares were pretty big, but as tires got wider and wider, something else had to be done. Corvette stylists came up with a wild-looking and functionally aerodynamic full body kit that not only cover up the Can-Am-size racing tires, but improved the car’s aerodynamics. In full battle regalia, Greenwood’s IMSA Corvette looked like “the future” and was quickly nick named, “The Batmobile.” Continue reading
The second time was the charm as the Corvette Daytona prototype STOMPS the competition in Hotlanta!
Congrats, Kudos, and Three Cheers to the Corvette Daytona prototype team’s first win! When the flag came down it was the electric blue Spirit of Daytona Corvette prototype to took the checkered flag at the Porsche 250 race at the Barber Motorsports Park, in Birmingham, Alabama. Richard Westbrook and Antonio Garcia drove the car 103 laps with a best time of 1:22.245.
The next race will be the Grand Am Rolex Series Grand Prix in Miami on April 27-29. For more info about the team’s first big win, CLICK HERE.
And for AutoWeek’s coverage of the race, CLICK HERE.
NOW Feast your eyes on this beauty!
The Civilized Grand Sport Corvette Replica – Sort of…
Today you can go to your local Chevrolet dealer today and buy a Grand Sport Corvette to your liking. Almost 50 years ago, there were only five Grand Sport Corvettes in existence and they were NOT for sale. “Unrealized potential,” “the ultimate could’a been Corvette” and many other expressions tell the original Grand Sport Corvette story. Unlike today’s C6 Grand Sports, the originals were all-out racing Corvettes, designed to give the Cobras a good run for it.
But GM had a completely different attitude about racing back then that can be nicely described as “backward.” Fortunately, all five original Grand Sports are still around. Along the way, there have been numerous companies that offered Grand Sport replicas – some, better than others. But today there is only one “officially licensed” by GM, Grand Sport replica, and that is the Duntov Motors Grand Sports.
Dave MacDonald: Corvette Racer… Corvette Man… Family Man
Could there have been a more exciting time and place to be into cars than Southern California in the 1950s? Probably not. It was postwar America, California only had about 1/3 its current population, Rock’n Roll was in its infancy, and the car culture was revving up. El Monte was just a semi-rural community in Los Angeles County, the perfect place for young Dave MacDonald and legions of other guys to pour their hearts and souls into cars. What’a time!
MacDonald’s Professional Racing Career
Dave’s first car was a fast 1953 Cadillac. But when Chevy put the small-block 265 into the ‘55 Corvette, 19-year old MacDonald had to have one. He saved his money and a year later, bought his first Corvette, a Gypsy Red ‘55 Corvette. The Caddy was fast and Dave did some street racing with the car, but it was the Corvette that got him into drag racing and eventually road racing. In February 1960, MacDonald had his first official “ride” as team driver for Don Steves Chevrolet at Willow Springs Raceway, and won the Sunday main event. In his first year, Dave entered 15 regional races, taking 1st place in three events, three second place wins, and 4 third place wins. Very impressive for his rookie year.
1961, was even better. MacDonald entered 20 races, won 13 victories, and three second place finishes. Dave’s last win of the year was in his purpose-built, tube frame, lightweight Corvette Special. This car is a story unto itself. 1962 was the year the spotlight really shown on MacDonald. While he didn’t totally dominate the year, he did finish on the podium in 16 races, including 10 victories. It’s also worth noting that MacDonald won every race entered from early February to June – seven wins in a row. The first three wins were with the lightweight Corvette Special. After that, the lightweight car only raced two more times. MacDonald had one race behind the wheel of another lightweight tube frame car, a Devin Corvette that provided Dave with a second place win. Continue reading
The once obscure L88s are now highly valued Corvettes!
It’s always an exciting thing when the heavy guns from the Corvette’s past go on the auction block. Auctions can be a quirky thing, be it a local farm auction or a high-level exotic cars auction. On one hand, the final sale price is a direct reflection of what the market place is willingness to pay. On the other hand, two people can get caught up in the adrenaline of the auction experience and drive up a final sale price. Either way, they’re always fun to watch to get a sense of the market value of Corvettes.
Keith Cornett at www.CorvetteBlogger.com does an excellent job of covering Corvette auction action. Well, it seems that there’s an interesting trend developing in the Corvette world over L88 Corvettes. L88s with the appropriate petegree are getting just just north of $600,000! That’s VERY impressive, considering that new, the cars cost in the neighborhood of $6,500 back in the day.
The L88 option was Mr. Duntov’s gift to his beloved Corvette racers. Just because GM didn’t want to go racing didn’t mean that Duntov couldn’t design and develop parts for independent racers to use. The L88 package was the ultimate racer kit for its day. On paper and in person, the L88 didn’t look all that spectacular. The only visual clue as to what lurked under the car’s body was the special cold-air-induction hood that was essentially a dome on top of the big-block hood’s dome. That was the ONLY visual clue. On paper the L88 was grossly underrated at just 430-horsepower. The real power number was never “officially” published, but it was estimated to be in the high 500horsepower range. Continue reading
Stockbridge police located Mr. Fitch. He’s okay! He’s okay!
A shock went through the Corvette community today when it was reported that race car driver, inventor, and Corvette legend, John Fitch was reported missing for a time, but was found, and was unharmed. Perhaps the most startling part of the report was that John is suffering from emphysema (an incurable condition) and mild dementia. If you have ever had a family member with dementia, you know what a rough ride that can be.
The Stockbridge police found John, which wasn’t too difficult, as he drives a black ‘05 Mercedes with yellow racing stripes on the sides. I’m sure they all know who John is and what he drives. John was taken to the local medical center and appeared to be in good condition. And his family was notified that he was found.
In Summer ’10 John was part of the festivities in Carlisle, Pennsylvania for a special presentation of the film, “The Quest.” The film is about Fitch’s involvement with the restoration of the 1960 Fuelie Corvette that he raced and won his class at the 1960 Le Mans race. In ‘10 after the car had been fully restored by Corvette Repair, the race car, along with the Miller family AND John went to Le Mans where John and Lance Miller took a lap in the car that Fitch raced full-out 50 years before. The moment and the car’s story is the subject of the film. Continue reading