<VV> Corvairs at Riverside, 1962

James P. Rice ricebugg at mtco.com
Sat May 16 17:50:56 EDT 2009

Smitty:  This kid remembers, and has the magazine bought with my paper route
money to prove it!

Anyhow, what Smitty is talking about is a story in Sports Car Graphic (RIP),
March 1962.  (I believe Motor Trend also had some coverage, but I could put
my hands on the SCG real easy.) Peterson Publications, who were always nice
to Corvairs, put together a two Corvair coupe effort at running 24 hours at
the 2.7 mile Riverside International (RIP) road course in Southern

Carroll Shelby was the team manager, and drivers included a list of well
know road racers, at least one drag racer plus several local and an
international motor sport journalist.

The cars were both 62 coupes with 4-speeds and the RPO690 suspension kit.
One was very modified with every know trick then available from the likes of
Bill Thomas, Racer Brown, Bill Stroppe, Moon Equipment, Koni, and Empi, and
it had Hands Wheels and Goodyear racing tires.  The other had a stock 102 HP
engine and most of the same suspension mods as the modified car, including
de-cambered rear suspension, driving lights and roll bar and racing belts.

The mod car DNFed due to some valve train problems after about an hour.  The
stocker finished the 24 hr, averaging 64.54 while covering 1549.1 miles and
averaged 16.6 mpg.  They had heavy rain and lots of wind for the last 11
hours, so they only marginally missed their goal of 65 mph for the event.

There was a third car on the track for several hours.  "Zip" Keys, owner of
Hands Wheels, volunteered his Corvair when the assembled race car drivers
got bored with only one car to share.  It had a mildly modified engine and
suspension, Hands rims and street tires, plus a roll bar and belts, but no
extra driving lights.  It also DNF'ed shortly after darkness fell.  Car when
off track, flipped, rolled and spun, what you would call a three axis crash,
but landed on its wheels.  Driver, drag racer champion Jack Chrisman was OK,
car was fixable, but it was done for the rest of the event.  Top speed for
the "stocker" began at about 95 and progressed to near 105 as the event
ended.  Maybe because drivers were exiting the corner before the 1.1 mile
straight faster or because engine got really broken in.  Or both.  Both the
modified cars had topped out a about 115. Dan Gurney turned the fasted lap
at 2:09 and change, while most others ran around the mid 2:15's or so.

Historically Yours,

-----Original Message-----
From: virtualvairs-bounces at corvair.org
[mailto:virtualvairs-bounces at corvair.org]On Behalf Of
virtualvairs-request at corvair.org
Sent: Thursday, May 14, 2009 6:01 PM
To: virtualvairs at corvair.org
Subject: VVDV52I59 Riverside


Message: 4
Date: Thu, 14 May 2009 15:44:45 -0700 (PDT)
From: Smitty Smith <vairologist at verizon.net>
Subject: <VV> Top Speed
To: virtualvairs at corvair.org

Smitty Says:  you kids couldn't be expected to remember this of course, but
back in 62 there were three 62 Monzas run at Riverside for 24 hours.  Not
blueprinted, race prepared cars, but honest showroom stock.  By the time the
event was over they were turning the track at 105 mph.  Remember, these were
not 164 cu engines and not 110s.

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