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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]

ProTeam’s Daytona Beach NASCAR 1953 Doubles-up at Ault Park Concours

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Napoleon, Ohio – - ProTeam’s Daytona Beach NASCAR 1953 Corvette recently took home two awards at the 37th Annual Ault Park Concours d’Elegance held in Cincinnati on June 8th. The historic car took home 1st in class in the Racing division as well as the coveted Bill Rudd “Best Vette” Honorary Trophy.

The Ault Park Concours d’Elegance is a well-heeled annual affair that has quietly become one of the more impressive car events in the country. The show features eighteen classes of classic, vintage, and exotic cars. This year’s Concours celebrated the “Art of the Automobile-Great American Design”. Special displays featured fifty years of the Mustang and the 100th Anniversary of Maserati and Micro cars.

ProTeam had three Corvettes accepted into the field of competition. The 1953 Daytona Beach NASCAR Corvette, the 1954 low-mile Corvette with only 1,455 actual miles and captivating backstory, and the 1962 GM Styling Show Car.

All three cars stood picturesque on the show field but only the 1953 Daytona Beach NASCAR Corvette captured the imagination of the judges. The historic Corvette took 1st place in the Racing Division and won the Bill Rudd Honorary Trophy named for one of the founding members of the Ault Park Concours who’s family keeps his spirit alive by honoring his favorite marque; the Corvette.

Terry Michaelis, ProTeam president, talked about the weekend, “Ault Park has become an annual event for ProTeam. It allows us to flex our muscle by showcasing the work our shop does and more importantly, the strength and significance of the world famous Corvette collection.” He added, “The Daytona Beach NASCAR ’53 fit this year’s celebration perfectly. It is very much rolling art and a true testament to great American design. Its accolades were well deserved.”

The Daytona Beach NASCAR 1953 Corvette Convertible, VIN #E53F001211, Chevrolet Engineering #3950, Race #27 is one of two, a 1953 and a 1955, that were reclaimed from the depths of Chevrolet Engineering. Work was done by Chevrolet Experimental Shop and Garage, subject title: “Rebuilding of NASCAR Corvettes for Stock Car Racing.” Delivered to NASCAR/Daytona Beach in time for the 7th Annual NASCAR Sanctioned Performance Trials and The Flying Mile competition in 1956. After Daytona Speed Week, the car raced at NASCAR’s Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem. This Dual Branding NASCAR/Chevrolet Engineering effort involved Briggs Cunningham, John Fitch, Z.A. Duntov, Ed Cole, and over 125 engineers and several 1953 to 1955 Corvettes that culminated with a win at Sebring in 1956 with John Fitch driving a 1955 Chevrolet Engineering Corvette VIN #1194 of which spared the Corvette from extinction. This is the earliest known Corvette to run NASCAR’s sanctioned events… and maybe the earliest Corvette (VIN) to ever race thus “A Pioneer of Speed”.

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.proteamcorvette.com

The Ault Park 38th Annual Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for the first weekend in June 2015 with proceeds of the event going to the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation, Ohio River Valley Chapter. Email: [email protected] or on the web: www.ohioconcours.com

ProTeam 1953 Corvette at Ault Park Concours d'Elegance 2014

ProTeam 1953 Corvette at Ault Park Concours d'Elegance 2014

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!

 

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

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

 

The Great Hall Class of 2013

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Ingenuity is the mother of invention…

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

as seen at Amelia Island 2013. A small leak did not sideline the 1963 RHD Z06 Export Corvette. Every old Mechanic is going to love this one.

1963 Z06 RHD Corvette | A Perfect Cigar Holder

A leak and a good bottle of wine…

Corvette Engine Sealed-up tight

Corvette Engine Needs a plug

A bottle of wine and cork

Did we mention it was a fine bottle? The cork a perfect fit

a trip to O'Reilly's for some ties and glue

Dick Langs 1963 Z06 was perfect for the errand

1963 RHD Z06 was ready for the Amelia Road Tour

1963 RHD Z06 was ready for the Amelia Road Tour

1963 RHD Z06 was ready for the Amelia Road Tour

1963 RHD Z06 was ready for the Amelia Road Tour

tMichaelis School of Ingenuity

 

Amelia Island Road Tour 2013…

Monday, March 11th, 2013

featured 2 Corvettes from the ProTeam World Famous Collection:

1963 Corvette Split Window Coupe “Dick Lang’s Z06/Tanker Race Car, VIN #6553. 1 of the early “batched built” 1963 Z06 Corvettes that went to battle against Shelby’s Cobras.

1963 Corvette Split Window Coupe Export RH Drive Z06 Fuelie GM Show Car with 22,723 actual miles. Original. Unmolested. Big hit on the show field. Born on: 5/11/63. Delivered new for export to Australia. EXCELLENCE!

Great Weekend | Consummate Hosts | Old Friends | Great Atmosphere | Amelia Island Concours

Dick Lang's 1963 Corvette Z06/Tanker Race CarExport RH Drive Z06 Fuelie GM Show Car

1963 Corvette Split Window Coupe "Dick Lang's Z06/Tanker Race Car", VIN #6553. 1 of the early "batched built" 1963 Z06 Corvettes that went to battle against Shelby's Cobras. http://www.proteam-corvette.com/Corvette-1963-1066D/1066D.html

1963 Corvette Split Window Coupe Dick Lang's Z06/Tanker Race Car

1963 Corvette Split Window Coupe Export RH Drive Z06

1963 Corvette Split Window Coupe Dick Lang's Z06/Tanker Race Car

1963 Corvette Split Window Export RH Drive Z06 Fuelie

From ProTeam to primetime…

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

These bad boys go on the block in Kissimmee in two days (1/26/13).
- 1971 ZR2 Orange Corvette Convertible, Stk. #NSN-WOW
- 1968 L88 Red/Red Corvette Convertible, Stk #1129C

Classic Corvettes for Sale

'71 ZR2 Orange Corvette Cvt. | '68 L88 Red Corvette Cvt.

Rare Corvettes Reunited at NCRS Event

Friday, November 16th, 2012

ProTeam Hosts daylong NCRS Seminar featuring historic Corvettes

Napoleon, Ohio – - ProTeam Corvette hosted nearly 200 Corvette faithful at a NCRS Corvette seminar featuring some of today’s foremost Corvette researchers and a panel including the GM engineers who crafted the Corvette’s image and its sports car tradition. Still, the participants were over-shadowed by the real stars of the day-long event by three 1953-55 Corvettes fashioned by Chevrolet Engineering (Experimental Shop and Garage) for NASCAR stock car activity (racing) and a 1963 “Cinderella story”.

The three 1953-55 Corvettes on display were highly decorated and have left an indelible mark of the Corvette’s legacy on NASCAR and Sebring.  Among the three was #1194 that went onto wins in 1956 at Sebring with John Fitch and Walt Hansgen co-driving in this 12-hour race. Campbell-Ewald, Chevrolet’s advertising agency, celebrated the Corvette’s first international class victory with “The Real McCoy” advertisement which millions have seen.

Dick Lang’s storied 1963 Z06 Tanker Race Car was unveiled publically for the first time since its yearlong restoration. This is one of the early “batched built” 1963 Z06 Corvettes that battled Shelby’s Cobras back in 1963 and 1964. This car’s driver, Dick Lang, was one of the best Corvette drivers in the late 50′s and early 60′s. In 1963 Lang raced at Daytona International in two events; that weekend kicked off a winning streak including many notable podium appearances. In 1964, Lang’s Corvette stood alone alongside 4 Cobras in the top 5. It was this race when the fastest and most desirable cars in the world surrounded the Corvette and its story as America’s muscle car was written. Dick Lang’s Z06 Tanker is as testament to the driver and the celebrated legacy of Chevrolet Racing. The restoration was performed by the world famous Naber Brothers of Houston, Texas.

Terry Michaelis, ProTeam’s president, reflected on the daylong event, “This seminar really served two purposes. First was to spend the day with fellow enthusiasts and pick the brains of the people who were there when these classics first came off the GM line.  Secondly, we wanted to reestablish ProTeam Corvette as the leader in the classic Corvette community with access to our world famous collection. I believe we were a success in both categories.”

Images from this event for publication are available at: www.tmichaelis.com/NCRS/

ProTeam’s world famous collection has no peers. The quality of ProTeam’s cars is simply out of this world. We now bring you the finest selection/collection of Corvettes anywhere in the world! including many one of a kind and collector quality Corvettes.  The Holy Grail of Corvette Collections is open to the public Monday through Friday or visit ProTeam online at ProTeamCorvette.com, email: [email protected], or call toll free at 888-592-5086.

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