Watch “The Master of Oversteer” Enjoying a Day’s Work!
It’s been a pleasure to get to know the family of Corvette racer Dave MacDonald. The April 2012 issue of VETTE Magazine has part 1 of my story about the career of MacDonald and the May 2012 has part 2, the conclusion. While pictures and words are great, video just adds some dimension. So, I thought some vintage MacDonald videos were in order.
MacDonald’s racing career path was similar to John Greenwood’s, in that like Greenwood, MacDonald started out in drag racing. But like many guys that like to drive Corvettes in, shall we say, a “spirited” way, it didn’t take MacDonald long to get used to not only thundering down the straight-aways, but sliding the back end around the corners. MacDonald was known as “the master of the oversteer” and his tail-out driving style was very popular with the spectators.
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 “Corvette Legends – The Great, Dave MacDonald – Part 1”→