<VV> Fitch Phoenix

James P. Rice ricebugg at comcast.net
Mon Jun 9 19:08:10 EDT 2014

All: Sorry for the tardy response.  I was at Indianapolis for the SVRA
Vintage race at the speedway for most of the last 4 days.  Four Yenko
Stingers were there.

The Phoenix as we know it was built on an shorten stock Corvair coupe
chassis. When I asked John were he got the Corvair in Europe from, he said
"I got it from GM."  Didn't say he bought it.... There was a second Corvair
shipped to the builder for a second Phoenix when the project died. It got
used as the shop's gofur car until it died and was left beside the road
dead. Corvair turned into a FORD:  Found On Road Deserted.      

I have access to photos by Karl Lidvegson of the underside of the car and
Brian O'Neil confirms the cut down Corvair origins of the chassis under the
Phoneix today. 

The backbone chassis others have referred to was intended to be the
production chassis, and the Phoenix was built to fit it if/when production
was started. The Backbone chassis predates the Phoenix by several years, and
originally built to accent EM suspension components.  It was done as part of
John's proposal to the SCCA for a single make series for club racing.  The
SCCA choose the VW offer which resulted in Formula V class, which is still
going strong in club and vintage racing. 

This backbone chassis was once offered for sale by Fitch in Competition
Press/Autoweek, (I have the ad) but what happened to it is unknown.  I
didn't think to ask John when I had the chance.  Chassis builder Jerry Mong
of Bobsy fame pitched the prints along with lots of other material a couple
decades ago.  I asked him, via his son, who restored Jim Schardt's
Bobsy-Corvair years ago. I have his letter of response that prints are gone.

Historically Yours,

Message: 3
Date: Sat, 7 Jun 2014 14:23:45 -0400 (EDT)
From: Matt Nall <patiomatt at aol.com>
To: virtualvairs at corvair.org
Subject: Re: <VV> Driving John's Fitch Phoenix

Just doing a little reading on the Pheonix and I see it had a 95"
wheelbase.  Does this mean it was built on the FC chassis??
Curious minds want to know!
Harry Smith


Very unlikely... John was a performance driver...but I have never seen
photos of it during construction!

Matt Nall
Charleston, Oregon

Message: 4
Date: Sat, 7 Jun 2014 14:26:24 -0400 (EDT)
From: Matt Nall <patiomatt at aol.com>
To: virtualvairs at corvair.org
Subject: Re: <VV> Construction pics of John's Fitch Phoenix
Not an FC chassis. John had a special tubular frame built onto which the
body is mounted. I have seen pictures in articles about the Phoenix. It is a
fairly substantial frame onto which the Corvair front and rear suspensions
are bolted.

Joe White


Message: 5
Date: Sat, 7 Jun 2014 18:29:48 -0400
From: yenko117 at yahoo.com
To: "Sethracer at aol.com" <Sethracer at aol.com>
Subject: Re: <VV> Driving John's Fitch Phoenix

Jack Dempsey replaced the rear end in the Phoenix just prior to the '91
convention at Hot Air Enterprises. Jack did indeed push it on his normal
test drive back through the local golf course. He told me that it
oversteered a bit, but handled well.


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