Passion and love bring a famous old Briggs “Swift” Cunningham 1960 Fuel Injected Corvette war horse back to life and into the lead roll in a movie!
Restored old race cars has become an exciting aspect of the Corvette hobby. If you have ever wondered if master craftsmen are still working today, I suggest checking out the work of Kevin MacKay, at Corvette Repair. Kevin and his crew have brought back to life famous Corvette race cars, including the Roger Penske ‘66 L88 Corvette, several of John Greenwood’s Corvettes, and Briggs “Swift” Cunningham’s 1960 Fuel Injected Le Mans class-winning 1960 Corvette, the star of the new documentary film, “The Quest.”
Here’s the official movie preview…
Here’s what I find to be so cool about these kinds of cars. The men that build or buy race cars do it to win races. Some cars become champions, others just competitors. But what usually happens is that this year’s used up race car is sold off and the team owner buys a new fresh car. The new owner of the used racer usually repaints the machine, and then the cars are often bought and sold into the scrap heap.
A rather common occurrence with early Corvette race cars was that because the cars were so close to stock, many were retrofitted with their original parts and sold off as street cars! Several championship Corvette racers made their way back into a life of a daily driver, with many owners never knowing the car’s true past. The Briggs Cunningham Le Mans racer was one such car.
“The Quest” made it’s official debut at The Carlisle Theater on May 6, 2011. If you missed the film’s premier and are planning on attending The Corvettes at Carlisle even this August (Aug 26 to 28, 2011) you might want to consider arriving August 25 to take in a special showing of this dynamic movie at 7pm. Advanced tickets can be purchased for just $15 HERE, otherwise, tickets will be $22 at the door. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Chip Miller Charitable Foundation to aid research amyloidosis, the rare disease that took Chip’s life way too soon.
Back to the car. After the Cunningham Corvette racer was restored at Corvette Repair it was shipped to Le Mans and lapped the track with 93-year old John Fitch behind the steering wheel! How utterly cool is that! Fitch is an amazing man. In 2004 Fitch drove Bob Sima’s Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Gullwing to Bonneville for a speed record run! He was 88 years of age. AMAZING!
BRAVO John Fitch! And a special thanks the Miller family and Corvette Repair for their efforts to preserve such an important part of Corvette racing history.
PS – To give you a sense of what an extraordinary man John Fitch is, don’t miss these videos…
PSS – For more about Briggs “Swift” Cunningham, visit this Car Guy Chronicles post HERE.
I covered the Briggs Cunningham 1960 Corvette in January 2008 issue of VETTE Magazine in my, Illustrated Corvette Series column in the January 2008 issue.