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1953 Corvette NASCAR Unit…

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
1953 Corvette NASCAR Unit-1 1953 Corvette NASCAR Unit-5 1953 Corvette NASCAR Unit-3
1953 Corvette NASCAR Unit-4 1953 Corvette NASCAR Unit-2

THE EARLIEST KNOWN CORVETTE RACE CAR, VIN E53F001211. This Daytona Beach “NASCAR Unit” was created by Chevrolet Engineering for NASCAR stock car racing, and was probably a dual branding effort between Chevrolet’s Ed Cole and NASCAR’s Bill France. This effort was part of Ed Cole’s push to save the Corvette from extinction (700 sales in 1955) and Chevrolet’s first effort in creating a brand image of speed and performance lasting through seven generations of Corvettes.

This Daytona Beach NASCAR 1953 Corvette Convertible, VIN # E53F001211, is one of two, a 1953 and a 1955, that were built/rebuilt by Chevrolet Engineering to be equipped with dual four high output 1956 engines, 3 speed close ratio transmissions, heavy duty rear end assemblies, plastic tonneau covers, small racing windshields and relocated gauges per Mauri Rose. Work was done by Chevrolet Experimental Shop and Garage, subject title: “REBUILDING OF NASCAR CORVETTES FOR STOCK CAR RACING”, dated November 3, 1955. This project was under the direction of Ed Cole and the conversion was under the supervision of 3-time Indy 500 Winner, Mauri Rose.

Delivered to Smokey Yunick, Daytona Beach, Florida in early February 1956 in time for promotional NASCAR photos with Bill France Jr. and Joe Hawkins and the subsequent February 12 -26, 1956 Annual Winter Daytona Beach Classics which included the 7th Annual International Safety and Speed Trials and Stock Car Races (race number 27).

Prior to rebuild by Chevrolet Engineering, this 1953 VIN #211 was raced by NASCAR’s legendary Thomas Brothers (Herb & Don), Junior Johnson, Jimmy Massey, Ralph Liguori, and Gwyn Staley at the Bowman Gray Stadium, Martinsville Speedway and Raleigh Speedway in 1955 (race number 62).

After the February 1956 Daytona Beach races, this car returned to the grit and grime of the legendary North Carolina NASCAR race tracks, primarily Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston Salem, where it was driven by Pee Wee Jones, Bobby Myers, Gwyn Staley, Junior Johnson and Jimmy Massey with race numbers 3 & 27.

In 1958, Mr. Leslie Gray Tuttle purchased #211 from NASCAR and received the GM – MSO and became the first titled owner of #211, and over fifty years later, Mr. Tuttle provided conclusive evidence that helped identify #211 as the original NASCAR Daytona Beach and Carolina Racer.

Documented with the Chevrolet Engineering department build orders and vintage photos from private collections, Chevrolet and the NASCAR archives! This is the earliest known Corvette to run NASCAR’s sanctioned events…and the earliest known Corvette to ever race thus “A Pioneer of Speed”…and a fascinating chapter of Corvette and NASCAR history!

Click here for a history timeline and almost two dozen vintage photos.

 Show Awards and Invitationals: Class Award at the 36th Annual Concours d’Elegance of America in July 2014.  Bloomington Gold Great Hall Special Display in June 2014. First Place Class Award and the Bill Rudd Honorary Trophy at the 36th Annual Ault Park Concours d’Elegance in June 2014. 2014 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on March 9th, 2014. “Competition Corvette” display at the Corvette Nationals Show in November 2012.

Interesting Links: Read about the Chevrolet Engineering Cars that helped save the Corvette. More information is wanted about the Chevrolet/NASCAR SCODA Corvettes that raced in 1955 and 1956 at Daytona Beach and NASCAR tracks in the Carolinas.  Chevrolet’s answer to the Ford Thunderbird at the 1956 Daytona Speed Week in this 15-minute documentary on YouTube. Historic Timeline.

Credits: Noland Adams, Dave Bartush, David Burroughs, Chevrolet Archives, The Daytona Beach NASCAR Archives, Bill Gould/Auto Ancestry, Historic Speedway Group, John Hutchins, Tim Jones, Richard Miller, Chocolate Myers, Dick Whittington, Laverne Zachary

Special Thank-you… must be given to Loren Lundberg, for without his help the true identity of VIN #211 may have been lost forever and Gray Tuttle of Clinton, NC, who bought VIN

#211 from NASCAR in 1958 and was extremely helpful in identifying the “bones” and offering conclusive evidence that this was his old Corvette race car.

Key Players: Bill France, Paul Whiteman, Mauri Rose, Smokey Yunick, Hubert Westmoreland, Alvin Hawkins, Joe Hawkins, Chevrolet, NASCAR

Key Drivers: Pee Wee Jones, Junior Johnson, Ralph Liguori, Jimmy Massey, Bobby Myers, Gleyn Staley, Don Thomas, Herb Thomas

Comments of questions, email: [email protected]

The 2014 Monterey Collector Car Auctions…

Monday, August 25th, 2014

produced a new record of almost $400 million in classic and collector car sales. This new record shattered the last seven years’ record of $312 million in 2013, $260 million in 2012, $197 million in 2011, $172 million in 2010, $116 million in 2009, $140 million in 2008, and $135 million in 2007.

Some examples of Cars sold during the 2014 Monterey auctions:
1) 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Coupe… sold for $38,115,000.00
2) 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale… sold for $26,400,000.00
3) 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder… sold for $15,180,000.00
4) 1964 Ferrari 250 LM Coupe… sold for $11,550,000.00
5) 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Coupe… sold for $10,176,000.00
6) 1965 Ford GT40 Prototype… sold for $6,930,000.00

Yupp! The above figures are millions!!

Corvettes did not do well compared to the many multi-million dollar Ferraris but we did note that an ex-ProTeam 1968 Red/Red L88 produced $847,000.00 and a 1963 Z06 Tanker Coupe failed to sell at $1.1 million. Car collectors have realized that collector cars are the gold standard and are a tangible appreciating asset. Questions or comments, email [email protected]

Monterey-Collector-Car

Rick Tavel Talks Great Hall and tMichaelis…

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Automotive writer chats with Terry about ProTeam and his inclusion into the Bloomington Great Hall Class of 2014 in his Article Terry Michaelis Selected for Bloomington Gold Great Hall

Terry Michaelis inducted into Bloomington Gold Great Hall

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

The Great Hall featuring the People, the Cars, and the Stories
Napoleon, Ohio — Terry Michaelis, President of ProTeam Corvette, has been inducted into the Bloomington Gold Great Hall class of 2014. An honor reserved for those people and cars that were pioneers and influenced the Corvette hobby and the Corvette phenomenon.

The Bloomington Great Hall was designed as a five-year celebration of the 50 most significant and influential people and organizations and the 50 most influential and historic Corvettes; those pioneers, game changers, educators, and inspirators that have forever influenced the hobby. A selection committee of dedicated enthusiasts spearheaded by David Burroughs has assured preservation for the next generation of the stories and the why these people and cars matter. The induction on the grounds of the University of Illinois on June 27th, 2014 will include insights from the inductees, past and present.

Terry Michaelis is co-owner of ProTeam Corvette and has bought and sold more than 10,000 Corvettes in his storied career. Michaelis began his Corvette love affair over 40 years ago on a local car lot. By the mid-1970’s, Michaelis was dubbed “King” of Corvette aftermarket parts. Michaelis and his brother, Fred, formed ProTeam Classic Corvette in 1987, where they assembled the largest most dynamic collection of classic Corvettes in the world. He has become such a world-renowned expert on Corvettes that his knowledge has been the focus of hundreds of radio interviews and newspaper articles, as well as a long list of industry publications. Terry continues to lobby for the collector Corvette community with the same passion and affection for over the top marketing that he first had when he bought and sold his first Corvette in 1971.

Terry is honored to be included in the Great Hall but wants to make clear this hobby is much bigger than fifty people, “As flattered as I am to accept entry into the Great Hall, I don’t enter alone. I take along the decades of indelible friendships and memories,” he added, “It is those folks who stand in the shadow of our hobby. We fifty represent them and the thousands of other unsung Corvette scholars, craftsmen, and weekend warriors that ensure this hobby’s survival.”

Terry enters the Great Hall alongside members of the 2014 inductees including (People and Organizations) Cypress Gardens, Bob Gold/Bob Cook Auctions, Al Grenning, Ronnie Kaplan, Irwin Kroiz, Karl Ludvigsen, National Corvette Museum, Vince Piggins, and Larry Shinoda. For more information, email Bill Locke at [email protected] The Corvettes making the grade are the 1955 Duntov Mule, 1963 Mark II Z06; the 1966 427 coupe, the 1967 327 coupe, the 1967 DX L88, the 1968 Owens-Corning Racer, the 1969 Rebel L88 Racer, the Pratt and Miller Le Mans Racer; the fourth-generation Corvette; and the C7 Corvette. To learn more about the Great Hall and Bloomington Gold, visit BloomingGold.com or email [email protected]

ProTeam’s world famous classic Corvette collection, Napoleon, OH. The inventory of 1953 to 2003 Corvettes is open to the public in climate controlled indoor showrooms. Many of these Corvettes have been beautifully restored to like-new condition and carry prestigious honors such as the Bloomington Gold Certification, NCRS Top Flight award, and the Triple Crown designation. ProTeam Corvette is recognized as the nation’s leader in classic Corvette sales, service & restoration selling an estimated 10,000+ Corvettes over the past four decades. Email: [email protected] or on the web: www.proteam-corvette.com

A Historic Birthday Party…

Friday, January 17th, 2014

This past weekend January 9-11, 2014 local long time resident ED WITTWER celebrated his birthday with good friend JIM GESSNER who is one day older. Both men are avid Corvette enthusiasts who invited 38 friends from across America and Canada to join them at Ed’s shop, CORVETTE SERVICE, in Carpinteria, California.

The mission was to ”share” knowledge of some of the rarest Corvette models ever built, namely a 1957 fuel injection model with the very rare AIR BOX and H.D. Brake and suspension option. 43 cars were built in 1957.

Also inspected were four very rare 1963 Corvette Split Window coupes with the rare Z0-6 Options. 63 models were built with the 36 gallon gas tank, fuel injection, HD Suspension and brakes.

Noted expert KEN KAYSER from Michigan gave a one hour review on GM Engineering history on the 1957 era. Ken was a Chevrolet POWERTRAIN engineer from 1968-2008.

Restoration Shop owner and 1963 expert TONY AVEDISIAN from Gaithersburg, Maryland gave the seminar on the rare 1963 Corvette Z0-6 cars.

Two days of history was recorded by LARRY NIMMER PICTURES . We hope this history will be saved for future generations.
Regards, Jim Gessner and Ed Wittwer
www.vettefinderjim.com
www.registryofcorvetteracecars.com

NOTE: It was my pleasure to be part of this as both a friend and avid enthusiast. It is a joy to be part of this hobby and connected to its great people!

 

Value Trumps Price…

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Collector Car Math: Value + Price + Exhilaration = Complete Satisfaction. I have asked/answered this equation thousands of times over my lifetime and since the Great Recession of 2008 took hold, the importance of getting this equation right has taken on a new importance. It isn’t just me but anyone who dabbles in the passionate world of collector cars has asked these questions. Mike Farbairn (RM Magazine, Summer ’13) wrote an article giving some sound advice in purchasing a classic car. First he asks, “How much is too much?” Ownership tenure involving a quick turn around like flipping the car and short-term ownership (90 to 100 days) necessitate a perceived monetary profit translating to a bargain hunter’s mentality. Long-term classic car proprietorship is a bit more ambiguous. It involves a bigger commitment to the car’s integrity, provenance, and market value. “In my experience, the very best is seldom cheap” but rest-assured the work in acquiring the “long-term hold” will pay dividends down the road. How can Mike be so sure? He is certain because of two universal collector car truths; (1) the market has always surpassed retail price and (2) when you own the best, there is always a profitable resale market. So in the end, Value Trumps Price. Price is secondary to exhilaration. Passion is incalculable.  Questions or comments? Email: [email protected]

1958 Corvette Convertible | Value Trumps Price

1958 Corvette Convertible | Value Trumps Price

Thoughts on Chasing Tall Tales & Barn Finds

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Back in the 1970’s, we did not know just how deeply the Corvette was woven into America’s car culture, as its allure had not yet hit its stride. It would be a decade or more before we understood how entrenched the passion for the Corvette was. At that time, we drove them purely for the joy of a hot ride and as an extension of our own personality.

Working on a hunch backed by intuition has been my calling card since those early days. Whether it was an entire collection or a 1958 retractable hardtop, I learned to follow my instinct. There were plenty of wild goose chases but every once in a while a tall-tale became truth hidden under a tarp in an out of the way garage. Long hours, hundreds of miles and years melted away when the jewel was unearthed.

When opportunity knocks, it is important to open the door.

What keeps us motivated to bird dog these barn find cars? It is the thrill of the chase never forgetting the importance of doing your homework. It is what we in the hobby continually wrestle with; frustration versus pay-off.

We understand the real value of “The Find” comes only after the forensics and research validate the hunch. Only then can the conversation about restoration versus preservation take place. Only then can we consider historical importance as opposed to watching these cars run the course in freshly restored brilliance.

… And finally, ask anyone who has chased a storied car and they’ll tell you that these “barn finds’” real worth lie in the people who found them first. These owners’ lives are forever interwoven in the cars’ history and like the cars themselves; they are priceless barn finds as well.

Terry Michaelis, [email protected]

A Barn Find Jewel | 1963 Corvette Split Window Coupe

Corvette wins American Heritage award…

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

ProTeam’s ace mechanic, Billy Rodenhauser, participated and received the NCRS American Heritage award for ProTeam at the NCRS National Convention awards banquet on Thursday evening July 25th.

“It was fitting to have Billy receive the Heritage award for ProTeam.” Terry Michaelis, ProTeam president, commented on the long hours by ProTeam’s lead mechanic, “Billy was very involved in the 2011 forensic disassembly and inspection of the Lang race car remains prior to restoration.”

Billy travelled with Terry to the April 2013 Bowling Green, KY NCRS Regional where the car received its sign-off nomination. Billy left for Hampton, VA on July 20th with car in tow and participated in the five day NCRS National event and then towed the car back in time to be placed on the show field on July 27th at the Concours d’Elegance of America in Plymouth, Michigan.

The AMERICAN HERITAGE Award® was created by the National Corvette Restorers Society fifteen years ago in order to recognize Corvettes proven historically significant with regard to the marque’s legacy. These cars by their nature fall outside of the NCRS judging criteria, cars like GM styling and GM experimental. As for vintage race cars, they must have actual race history and be presented in the race form. It is an exclusive club. Only two to three vehicles per year have been accepted with only 36 Corvettes having received this award.

ProTeam found the famed Lang Z06 Race Corvette remains in New Carlisle, Ohio from the third owner who bought this car in 1977 for $250.00.

Terry Michaelis added, “We found it. We researched it. We oversaw the restoration. And now we are displaying the Corvette at many concours invitationals around the country, including the big one at Amelia Island, Florida. We will be rewarded when we decide to sell this significant Corvette as we have received offers close to one million dollars.”

In 1963 Lang and this Z06 first raced at the Daytona International weekend and by 1964, Dick Lang was the only Corvette driver among four Cobras in the top five standings. The legend had been solidified on those tracks and against the Cobra in the 1963 Corvette. Those challenges to the elite of the sport placed Corvette squarely as the face of America’s coming muscle car obsession.

Lang continued to race joining the DeLorenzo Owens-Corning team in 1969. The Z06 tanker Corvette lived life on and off the track for decades before being brought back to its better than new racing splendor by ProTeam and Nabers Restoration of Houston, Texas.

The ex-Dick Lang Z06 Tanker Race Car is on display in ProTeam’s world famous classic Corvette collection in Napoleon, Ohio. The inventory of 1953 to 2008 Corvettes is open to the public in climate controlled indoor showrooms. Many of these Corvettes have been beautifully restored to like-new condition and carry prestigious honors such as the Bloomington Gold Certification, NCRS Top Flight award, and the Triple Crown designation. ProTeam Corvette is recognized as the nation’s leader in classic Corvette sales, service & restoration selling an estimated 10,000+ Corvettes over the past four decades. Email: [email protected] or on the web: www.proteam-corvette.com

1963 Corvette Z06 Dick Lange Race Car

1963 Corvette Z06 Dick Lange Race Car

 

ProTeam’s ex-Dick Lang Z06 Tanker Race Car Wins Awards at Ault Park Concours

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Napoleon, Ohio – - ProTeam’s 1963 ex-Dick Lang Tanker Race Car recently took home the Best in Class award, First Place award, and Special Display award at the 36th Annual Ault Park Concours held in Cincinnati June 9th.

The Ault Park Concours d’Elegance has earned the reputation as one of most prestigious shows in the country. The show features 13 classes of classic, vintage, and exotic cars. This year’s Concours honored a century of the Aston Martin and 60 years of the Corvette. Among the featured Corvettes were two 1963 Corvette Split Window Coupes from ProTeam’s world-famous collection.

Terry Michaelis, ProTeam president, reflected on the accolades from the weekend, “To be invited to Ault Park is an honor and testament to legendary driver Dick Lang and the history he made in this machine. The other awards (Best in Class and First Place) are an acknowledgement to the high quality concours restoration of this Corvette.”

ProTeam’s 1963 Corvette Split Window Coupe was among the earliest “batched built” Z06 Corvettes that battled head to head against Shelby’s Cobras in the early 1960’s. Dick Lang was from Xenia, Ohio and one of the best Corvette drivers of that era racing throughout the Midwest, Central, Northeast, and Southeast regions of SCCA.

When this car and driver connected it was something very special!

In 1963 they first raced at the Daytona International weekend and by 1964, Dick Lang was the only Corvette driver among four Cobras in the top five standings. The legend had been solidified on those tracks and against the Cobra in the 1963 Corvette. Those challenges to the elite of the sport placed Corvette squarely as the face of America’s coming muscle car obsession.

Lang continued to race joining the DeLorenzo Owens-Corning team in 1969. The Z06 tanker Corvette lived life on and off the track for decades before being brought back to its better than new racing splendor by ProTeam and Nabers Restoration of Houston, Texas.

The ex-Dick Lang Z06 Tanker Race Car is on display in ProTeam’s world famous classic Corvette collection in Napoleon, Ohio. The inventory of 1953 to 2010 Corvettes is open to the public in climate controlled indoor showrooms. Many of these Corvettes have been beautifully restored to like-new condition and carry prestigious honors such as the Bloomington Gold Certification, NCRS Top Flight award, and the Triple Crown designation. ProTeam Corvette is recognized as the nation’s leader in classic Corvette sales, service & restoration selling an estimated 10,000+ Corvettes over the past four decades. Email: [email protected] or on the web: www.proteam-corvette.com

The Ault Park 37th Annual Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for the first weekend in June 2014 with proceeds of the event going to the Arthritis Foundation, Ohio River Valley Chapter. Email: [email protected] or on the web: www.ohioconcours.com

1963 Z06 takes its bow at Ault Park Concours awards ceremony

It’s the People that make the hobby…

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Fresh off the trailer and into the collection. 1967 Corvette 327 Coupe, factory air, powerglide, numbers match, 76,577 actual miles. This Corvette was in the care of one owner for the  past 31-years.

As neat as the car is, my experience buying is proof that the Corvette hobby is littered with some really great people.

1967 Corvette 327 Coupe

From the trailer to the world famous Corvette collection

 

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