Doug Whyte Replicates George Hadad’s “Re-Creation” 1966 Penske Red L88 Sting Ray
Greetings and Happy New Year.
I’d say it’s a pretty good guess that most of us that love Corvettes and cars in general, spent hours and hours building 1:25th scale model cars when we were youngsters. When you are ten years old, it’s a great way to learn about the various parts of an engine, drive train, suspension, etc. It was as if AMT, Revell, and Monogram were “teaching” us about real cars.
Regardless, it was big fun for me, and because I’m patient and have a steady hand, my model builds were pretty good.
But I Was Never This Good!
I’d like to introduce you to two “gasoline in the veins” kinds of guys. George Haddad, owner of Fabulous Restorations in Fort Lauderdale, Florida has been a hot rod builder for over 45 years. Doug Whyte learned his modeling craft through his work for The Danberry Mint. The die-cast, articulated cars, and trucks that Danberry Mint creates are well known for their extraordinary detail.
George has carved a unique corner for himself, besides being a custom car builder and painter, he’s the Master of Re-Creations. George’s shop, Fabulous Restorations has been building and painting hot rods, street rods, customs, and race cars for over 45 years.
The Roger Penske 1966 L88 Corvette Race Car
The Penske 1966 L88, the Sunoco Blue with “Sunoco” livery, is currently owned by Kevin Mackay, in Valley Stream New York. But, the Sunoco Blue livery wasn’t the car’s first livery. When the Penske team first raced the car with just “Sunoco” on the car’s front fender at the 1966 24 Hours of Daytona, the car was factory Rally Red, with obvious racing modifications. This configuration and livery won its class at the 1966 24 Hours of Daytona.
Sunoco was happy with Roger Penske’s success they granted another “one race” sponsorship, but with one change. Sunoco wanted the Rally Red Corvette to be painted “Sunoco Blue”. Penske said, “No problem!”
The car was repainted Sunoco Blue, race prepped, and won its class at the 12 Hours of Sebring! The Penske 427 Corvette proved that a big-block Corvette could win races! This was a major turning point in Corvette’s racing history
Generally, racing team owners are “racers’, not “collectors. Roger Penske has many of his old race cars because he can. But typically, when a race car is no longer competitive, racers sell off the car as an “old race car” and move on to their next car so they can stay competitive.
One person was so impacted by the Penske Sunoco Blue configuration, he decided, “Someday, I’m going to OWN that car!” Many years later, Kevin Mackay’s” dream came true. After buying the car, the old racer got the full “Corvette Repair” restoration treatment, and is alive and functioning today, as a show car.
George Haddad Re-Creates the Rally Red 1966 Penske 427 L88
Haddad comes at the Corvette hobby from a different direction. Big-block Corvettes savaged the SCCA and later Trans-Am ranks from 1967, through the ’70s. The L88s and their variants produced more naturally-aspired horsepower than any other engine. There’s nothing quite like the thunderous roar of a big-block Chevy engine with open headers. Big-block Corvettes put on quite a show in their day and many are still raced as vintage race cars. The Penske ’66 L88 was the first of the big-block racing Corvettes and is historically significant.
George never claims his cars are “the” car, he boldly states, “These are accurate “Re-Creations”.
To date, George has Re-Created a 1967 L88 Racer, his Penske L88 1966 Corvette Racer, a 1969 ZL-1, and the 1968 L88 Owens-Corning Racer. For his red Penske Corvette, George has the accuracy backing of non-other than Gib Hufstadder (he was there!) and Jerry Thompson. Thompson was racing partners with Tony DeLorenzo, and was arguably the “Team Captain”, as he was also a GM Engineer. Their Ownes-Corning-sponsored L88 1968 and 1969 Corvette were the winningest cars in Corvette racing history.
The detail in all of George’s Re-Creations is magnificent! Now, imagine replications that work, but in 1:24th scale.
George was BLOWN AWAY when he took delivery of Doug Whyte’s completed model. George said, “Doug is as obsessed with the details as I am!”
Enjoy the video and KUDOS to you, Doug Whyth! – Scott
PS – Check out Doug Whyte’s “Model Car Muse” YouTube Channel, HERE.
Also, visit Doug’s Patreon Page, HERE.