In the summer of 1960 Corvette Racing won the prestigious 24 hours of Le Mans for the very first time. Racing legend Briggs Cunningham fielded 3 white, fuel injected C1′s numbered 1, 2, and 3 in the annual endurance race. Cars #1 and #2 didn’t finish, but number 3 went on to win its class and finish 8th overall. We got a chance to catch up with that famous #3 at last weekend’s Concours d?Elegance of America in Plymouth. Michigan.
With the recent announcement that the long lost #1 car has been discovered after decades, our look at #3 is pretty timely. You’ll be able to see the newly found #1 car at Corvettes at Carlisle August 24 ? 26th. The 1960 Le Mans #2 Corvette currently resides in California, but #1 hadn’t been seen in years.
The story of the #3 car is pretty well known already so we won’t get into too much detail here. We do highly recommend that you rent or buy The Quest in order to hear the amazing story of #3 and how it spent the 50 years since it rolled into victory lane at Le Mans. Michael Brown’s exceptional film tells the story much, much better than we can.
The short version of the story goes something like this: After racing life the car was eventually converted back to a normal street car. Corvette restoration guru Kevin Mackay and Corvettes at Carlisle founder Chip Miller had been tracking the car for years and eventually discovered it in Missouri. Miller had the long term goal of returning the car to Le Mans in 2010, 50 years after its historic win. He was finally able to acquire the car in a trade for a Lincoln Navigator and then promptly returned it to its 1960 racing livery. Unfortunately Miller passed away from a rare disease called amyloidosis before he could take the car overseas. Enter Chip Miller’s son, Lance, who fulfilled his late father’s dream by taking both the car and one of its drivers, John Fitch, back to France in 2010. There it ran pace laps and participated in various ceremonies and celebrations.
It’s during this portion of The Quest in which you’ll want to have a tissue handy.
The significance of the #3 car goes well beyond its racing prominence. It represents the dedication people have to America’s sports car. Who?d spend countless years tracking down an old Plymouth Acclaim? It also represents the bond between father and son. Lance Miller very easily could have just parked the car and hid it away for years after his dad passed away. Instead he chose to embrace Chip’s goal and complete the 50 year journey himself. The car is now shared regularly at various shows all across the country for all to see. He was more than willing to share it with us last weekend.
It’s not very often that you can get up close and personal with Corvette royalty so enjoy our gallery below. Be sure to keep an eye on both this site and our Facebook page later this month for full coverage of the reveal of the long lost #1 car at Corvettes at Carlisle.
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