<VV> Not Race Cars Ask John Fitch

Mel Francis mfrancis at wi.rr.com
Thu Oct 15 17:21:23 EDT 2009

My definition of "early Corvettes" includes the years '53 and '54, when the 
sixes were the only engine available.
I think these are the "early" cars that Bill was referring to. And they were 
not fast enough to perform well, on the street or the track.

The period of '52 to '56 was one of 'the hybrids', where all variety of cars 
were responding fairly well to the insertion of an american V8.
English sportscar chassis', with lighter suspensions, responded very well to 
a V8 and led the field in racing.
Backyards across the country were bristling with small cars and big iron 
Olds and Cadillac V8 motors, all hastily combined, but they were fast!

GM's own Corvette V8 hybrids were being developed within one year of the 
first production cars and available for consumers in '55 with the all-new 
Chevy V8........And at that point, John Fitch and Zora Duntov turned them 
into real race cars..........So you are both right!


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "James P. Rice" <ricebugg at mtco.com>
To: <virtualvairs at corvair.org>
Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2009 2:06 PM
Subject: <VV> Not Race Cars Ask John Fitch

> Bill:  I suppose it depends on your definition of "early Vettes"
> John Fitch and Zora Duntov turned them into race cars.  At Sebring in 1956
> (early enough?) John Fitch and Walt Hansgen drove one to 9th OA and 1st in
> class.  The were, in fact, the first production based car to finish.  Beat
> Ferraris, MB300SL and a whole host of limie cars.  There were 5 Vettes
> entered in the 58 car field, with 24 running at the end,  Three of the 
> Vette
> were running at the end in 9th, 15th and 23rd.
> In 1957, the Vette's were the first 3 production based cars to finish, in
> 12th, 15th & 16th.
> Need I go into other sources and list their domination in the SCCA's
> B-Production against the same furrin cars around that time?  Don't you
> remember Chevrolet's "The Real McCoy" ad in 1956.  Or weren't you born 
> yet?
> You may now apologize to John, Zora, their drivers and crews for your
> historical shortcomings.
> Historically Yours,
>                   James Rice
>                   CORSA member since mid-70's
>                   Former Chairman of the Competition Committee
>                   Member of original CPF Advisorary Committee
>                   CORSA/CPF BoD member and CPF Liaison 1999-01
>                   Occasional contributor to the Communique
>                   PCG member
> *******************************************
> The early Vettes were a lot of things, but they were not a race car.
> Bill Strickland
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