Mega Horsepower! Racing on Street Tires! And Blazing Stars & Stripes!
Here’s a sweet little bench racing, Corvette day dream for ya! Imagine if you have a Corvette restoration shop and you had ALL THREE Greenwood BF Goodrich Corvette race cars in for restoration work. Yes, I know – open headered, old-school, hard-ass Corvette racing machines. Could you stand it? Well, Kevin Mackay and the Corvette Repair team could and it was no bench racing fantasy.
Mackay’s Valley Stream, New York shop has been doing top level C1, C2, and C3 Corvette restoration work on production Corvettes for over 25 years and has developed a nitch for Corvette race car restoration work. Kevin and his team of craftsmen have brought back to life some of the most famous early model Corvette race cars and Chevrolet Engineering experimentals to ever wear a set of Corvette cross flags. It’s not uncommon for race cars to be thoroughly beat when a team decides to unload a machine. Once gone, most teams rarely if ever keep track of the car’s new owners. So, part of what makes Corvette Repair’s work so interesting is the car’s back story of what happened after a high-profile team sold the old war horse off. Some are well maintained and enjoyed on the track. Some are even converted BACK to street cars, such as the Cunningham Le Mans class-winning 1960 Corvette. And others aren’t so fortunate and are pretty much are one hoof away from the glue factory.
The BF Goodrich-sponsored Corvette race cars of John and Burt Greenwood are arguably the most popular Corvette racing cars of all time. While other Corvettes may well have won more races and championships, for a handful of reasons, the Greenwood BF Goodrich Corvettes had a certain halo and mystique about them. The cars carried the racing torch for the Corvette community in the early ‘70s. While the team had durability issues, they added tremendous excitement to the races. All that was missing was a Jungle Pam pit crew assistant. Burt Greenwood designed the famous Stars & Stripes livery and knowing that their animal Corvettes were dicing it up on the track with street tires was sauce for the goose.
The Greenwood Corvettes usually struck terror in the hearts of competitors due to wild rumors that John was somehow squeezing upwards of 800-horsepower from his production-based 427 ZL-1 big-block Chevy engines. Of course, exactly how powerful those engines really were is open for debate. But what was observably so was the fact that the team’s engines were often too powerful, tended to break, but were capable of pushing the car’s Mako Shark-II shape to over 225-MPH on Le Mans’ famous Mulsanne straight. Remember sport fans, we’re talking a production-based race car from nearly 40 years ago! How sweet it was!
I’ve put together a little slide show below, of all three of the Greenwood brothers’ BF Goodrich Stars & Stripes Corvette race cars. And if you have a passion for early, non-electronic, mechanical Corvette racing hardware, you MUST visit the portfolio page at Corvette Repair’s website. So, we invite you to set aside some time, kick back with your favorite beverage, and have some classic Corvette race car fun. The only things that will be missing are the sounds of open headered small-block and big-block engines, and the smells of Sunoco 260! Enjoy! – Scott
PS – Corvette Repair’s most recent projects include the restoration of the one-of-a-kind XP-819 rear-engine Corvette and a total restoration on a 1971 ZR-2 Corvette. The ZR-2 was the 454 LS-6 big-block version of the ‘70, ‘71, and ‘72 LT-1 racer kit options. These were essentially variants of the infamous ‘67, ‘68, and ‘69 L-88 racer kit Corvettes. Only 12 ZR-2 cars were officially produced. Kevin Mackay had the ZR-2’s chassis on tour in ‘11 as “The Sideways Chassis.” The sideways chassis ZR-2 is currently having the rest of it’s restoration completed.
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