F7     F9




Chevrolet Corvette 6

Figure 1 shows the famous start of Le Mans with the drivers before lowering the starting flag on the right side, across from the race cars. Who can run faster, get in and actuate the engine, the has first the pole position. But that will benefit him not much, because the race takes 24 hours from 16.00 until 16.00 clock.

Four Corvettes were present in 1960. They were officially provided by private teams. No. 1, 2 and 3 belonged to the S. Briggs Cunningham team. They were come by ship to Le Havre and per axle to Le Mans, not uncommon at that time. Duntov and chief engineer Cole had wanted to go with the Corvette to Le Mans in 1957, but the Automobile Manufacterer's Association had prohibited the participation.

At least, the No. 3 (Fig. 1), to which we refer here, was equipped with the strongest injection engine of 140 kW (190 HP SAE) and a ZF four-speed transmission. It also had limited slip differential, specially cooled, metallic brake pads and an enlarged tank with special filler necks. The two drivers of the No. 3 were John Fitch and Bob Grossman.

The four Corvettes were not many opportunities conceded by the competitors. They drove to the bet mainly with Ferraris 250 and Aston Martin DBR 1, against which they would normally have no chance. After all, the Corvettes, actually designed as a convertible weighed about 1,400 kg. Then there was even not much useful a 4.6 litre V8 contra a 3 liter V12. Fortune one had during a long period of rain with special tyres.

The other three Corvettes bowed out mercilessly by accidents or technical failures successively. Only the No. 3 remained however, stood at the end of the race without coolant. Because refilling was permitted only after a certain number of rounds, one managed with new ice every two rounds. So the engine just made it to the finish line, after all, in eighth place. It was first in its class due to the large displacement.

Supposedly the real pursuit of the car went off just after the race. Chassis and body disappeared, undressed almost all special racing utensils, it found shelter in a warehouse in Tampa/Florida. Approx. 15 years later, it was again rebuilt by a private man, but as a normal red and white road Corvette (similar to Figure 4). Then it went through various hands, and no one suspected his racing background.

$ 300,000 expensive restoration

Only the intensive looking for the VIN brought the search to the right track. Without the last owner to set in knowledge from the true value it came into the hands of the famous collector Chip Miller, whose son finally shipped the car with GM's help back to Le Mans, exactly to the 50th anniversary of success in 2010. With John Fitch behind the steering wheel it turned there a lap of honor before the race. 03/14