Corvette Book Review: “Legendary Corvettes”
“Vettes Made Famous On The Track And Screen” by Randy Leffingwell & Photography by Dave Wendt
Let me get this out of the way, up front. I love this book! For Corvette lovers, like us, this book is a visual delight. Veteran automotive writer, Randy Leffingwell and seasoned photographer, Dave Wendt have teamed up to present a visual and literary trip through 18 unique Corvettes.
As you page through the book, keep in mind that the images you see have not been PhotoShopped – they are “photographs.” Now “novel.” Wendt is a master at lighting. This is photographic “art.”
Keep in mind that our criteria for this book is, “Vettes Made Famous On Track And Screen.” After I had that settled in my head, everything was fine. Our visual trip begins at the beginning – the 1953 Corvette. The images draw out the inherent beauty of the car. It was just too good-looking to give up on, by a few very important people. That’s where Leffingwell’s prose lays out the stories.
The first Corvette scrapper – the 1956 Corvette SR Sebring Racer
Chapter 2 covers the very first Corvette race car. “Racing” is what defined the Corvette. And at every step along the way, there have always been those that want to make the car into “something else.” Somehow, the racing spirit has carried through. What a delight to see “the first” Corvette racer. This car has BALLS!
From there we wander through the beautiful ‘57 CORVETTE SS racer cars and more race cars. Chapters 2 to Chapter 11 cover race cars. From the ‘56 Corvette SR Sebring Racer to the Cunningham ‘60 Le Mans racers, to the ‘63 Z06, the Grand, Grand Sports, and the Penske ‘66 L-88 racer. Wow!
Okay, so the car lifted up in the front, it’s still a beauty!
Chapter 12 goes Hollywood, with the wildly customized C3 Corvette from the matinee feature, that 1978 blockbuster… “CORVETTE SUMMER” staring Mark Hamil and Annie Potts.
From Chapters 13 to 18, we enjoy a parade consisting of the John Greenwood, OVER THE TOP 1976 Spirit of Sebring racer, the first Corvette Indy 500 Pace Car, the Last St. Louis Corvette, the 253-MPH Callaway Sledge Hammer, the first factory-supported Corvette race car to win the 2001 Le Mans , and lastly, the 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” prototype.
John Greenwood’s “Batmobile” wide-body Spirit of Le Mans ’76 Corvette racer. It doesn’t get any WILDER than this!
Sweet victory came in ’01 when the Pratt & Whitney-built, factory-supported C5-R Corvette won its class at Le Mans. In road racing, it is said that you can win at Daytona and most will notice. But when you win at Le Mans, EVERYONE notices. Everyone noticed… and CHEERED!
Motorbooks International was so jazzed over Wendt’s images that they splurged for consumers with the added bonus. After the dust jacket is remover from the book and fully opened up, there’s a beautiful photo poster of the first ‘56 Corvette racer, printed on what is the front surface of the folded in half dust jacket. Front and center is the ‘56 Sebring Racer, and in the shadows, behind the old first Corvette racer, and the shadowy figures of two C nb 3 Corvettes in full L88 road racing regalia, and one of the Corvettes. It’s a frame-worthy beauty.
So, have I gone on enough about the book? Maybe. It’s a great book. Get one, you will not be disappointed. Books such as this, renforce my belief that there is a powerful lineage that surpasses any other American automobile. Corvettes are like a cross between a handsome, yet scrappy Paul Newman character and a Daniel Craig 007, “Bond, James Bond.”
And for you Corvette widows out there. You won’t go wrong for this as a holiday gift. Heck, give it to him because it’s today! Look for the scrolling Amazon banner to the right.
Save the Wave! – Scott
PS – We would be remiss if we didn’t tell you where you can find art prints of some of the above cars.
For Grand Sport Corvettes, visit… www.GrandSportCorvetteLegend.com
For other Corvette race car prints, visit… www.IllustratedCorvetteSeries.com/Corvette_Racers_C1.html