John and Burt Greenwood
John and Burt don't often speak much about their family history before the Corvettes, but it might be a good starting point to know that their father was a fighter pilot in WW II and that he subsequently worked at the GM Tech Center. Both of these backgrounds helped form their attitudes to performance and their interest in things aerodynamic. You'll probably see how it comes out as we go through the story. Heres John speaking about his own life.
I guess that as a teenager, I almost always messed with engines. I built my first tube frame car with a 2 1/2 HP Briggs & Stratton engine with money from my paper route, but maybe that one shouldn't count. I started street racing around 1960 with a '55 Pontiac. Then I switched to a Chevy Impala and then to Corvettes, around 1964. I just kept building them and racing them. I would tune my cars up every single night and go out and race about 150 miles. I started putting bored and stroked 409s and NASCAR big blocks in my car. I kept building engines and changing them. I would sell the last one to build a new one. I was kind of driving my parents crazy; I built the engines in the basement or the den and then carried them up through the house. And there were always tow trucks in the driveway bringing my cars home. You know that if I hurt them or heard a noise I would shut them down right away and tow it. It was cold in Michigan so when you had to work on them by laying on the ground, it was better to save on too much damage.
I switched over to Corvettes fairly early, when I bought a silver 1964. I was about 18 or 20 at that time. I was one of the first to fit one of the early 427s. It took some modifications to the frame rail but the cars were lighter and the suspension was better. It was obvious that the car was a better platform.
I was married after that. I bought a 1968 Corvette (435 HP) and the first night I put an L-88 into it. My wife saw an ad for a parking lot autocross at the grocery store one day and dared me to enter. I did and won everything. I went back the next week and did the same. There were some pretty fancy cars because a whole bunch of road racers showed up with trailered cars, but I won again. So, I figured that since I could win, this wasn't a bad deal.
I went to the local road racing track (Waterford Hills) to take the driver's school. I think it was Frank Cipelli who first took me around the track and gave me instruction on rood racing; I ran across him later in my career and he helped me a lot. But at that time of my instruction, I didn't do so well. The guys instructing me did things differently than I was used to and I seemed to go backwards. There were women in Fiats beating me. I went through two sets of tires one weekend just trying to keep up.
I went away thinking that maybe this wasn't for me. I thought about it that winter and, because I am a car setup person, I kind of figured out what I had to do. I guess this was also the same time that I formed my engine building company, Auto Research Engineering (ARE). Anyway, with some good engine work and my ideas on suspension tuning, I came back the next year (1969) and started setting records.
I did a lot of racing that year. I got my regional license and national license in the same year. I also had a couple of Camaros running that year. One of my drivers (Ron Petrie) won enough races that we took him to the Nationals that year (1969).
In the next two years, I won the SCCA A-Production National Championships back-to-back. You know that a lot of the equation was the big engines. I had learned on Woodward Avenue that you don't want to get left behind on the straight parts. We always used the basic big block engines and almost always the all-aluminum ones to save weight. It also goes without saying that through all of this I had full support from my brother Burt and I also had a good back-up driver in Jim Greendyke. We had a lot of breakage in 1970 but we pulled out enough wins to beat out the Owens Corning team at the Atlanta National Championship event. In 1971 I also had Dick Smothers as a co-driver at the longer events. That was a lot of fun.
After a few years of building and ocassionally racing Chevys, I bought my first Corvette at age twenty-one. I found a red 1961 270hp Corvette at a small town Chevrolet dealership, and took it home to show my new bride Judy. I was hooked for life - on her and Corvettes! In the sixties and seventies I would constantly search for old Corvettes to "fix up", before the term "restoration" was commonly used. The local Chevy dealership would give me their old Corvette parts books and shop manuals when they were replaced by new ones.
Through the years our collection of Corvettes grew into "The Parkway Collection", with emphasis on high performance, low production models including solid lifter small blocks, big blocks, Guldstrands, Callaways and Greenwoods. As I became more focused on the high performance options and Corvette's racing heritage, I developed a lasting interest in the engineering required to build such great cars, and an appreciation for the builders and racers who added their own brilliance to the basic Corvette design.
I have followed the John Greenwood legend since the beginning, and after years of observing John's racing design innovations, I am proud to be the keeper of some of the cars he designed and built (including Turbo GT #3, and a 1984 Convertible conversion). My goal is simply to preserve these great Corvettes so that they may be appreciated in the future.
Zora worked with Allard and with his brother Yuri for several years before finding his way to General Motors in 1953. Throughout his career, Zora strove to turn the Corvette into a world-class race car. He was soon given the title of Corvettes first Chief Engineer and was acknowledged as the Corvettes official godfather.
Duntov was the driving force behind many developmental cars such as the CERV I, CERV II and the Grand Sport, as well as innovative drivetrains for virtually every production car between 1955 and his retirement in 1975.
Zoras work with the Greenwoods was a significant part of his efforts to have privateers drive Corvettes to victory in the SCCA and IMSA series. While only a few select teams were thought to have received direct factory support, Duntov and his #2, Gib Hufstader, would carefully provide new HD parts to a much wider range of racers. These parts were being tested and when they failed, they were returned to GM for analysis. There was always a sharing of ideas. Engines, transmsission, differentials, brakes and suspensions were improved through these racing efforts. Even the first widebody cars required GM homologation to be eligible for IMSA racing.
In 1994 one of Zoras biggest dreams was realized, the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY. In 1995 the NCM opened a three month retrospective display on the work of Zora Arkus-Duntov. The City of Bowling Green also joined in the tribute, naming a nearby street Duntov Way. Zora died on April 21, 1996 and, in June of that year, a commemorative ceremony was held.
Richard Baldick is currently the Marketing Director for Corvette. Early in his career, Rick worked with John Greenwood.
Ricks association with Corvette began over 30 years ago when he was employed in Bob Shaeffers engine building shop in Warren, MI. John Greenwood was a regular customer and, when he leased new facilities, he offered Shaeffer some of the extra space. By virtue of the close working proximity, Rick migrated to working for Greenwood as the lead person on the engine program. Gib Hufstader and Zora Arkus-Duntov were frequent visitors.
Another famous name associated with Greenwood at this time was Bob Opitz, a NASCAR engine bulder. The exchange of information between this NASCAR man and Ricks own history of building drag car engines produced some interesting results. One of Ricks favorite memories from these days is the 1971 Six Hour Race at Watkins Glen. Heavy rain made driving difficult. Greenwood was caught up in an incident that caused one of the front wheels to severely toe out. But because the tire was sliding on the wet track, it didnt slow him that much. In fact, John was still lapping cars. They won the race.
In 1972 Rick moved away from racing and began working at General Motors. Now his career at General Motors has finally brought him back to the Corvette program.
I was originally from Florida. I had been working for a number of years in Orlando painting funny cars, drag cars and customs. It was in this time period that I met Sharon Vaden, John Greenwood's girlfriend of the time. She convinced me that I should contact John and I guess she mentioned me to him too. Anyway, we talked and he flew me up to Troy, MI to see his operation. That was it. I started to work for him sometime in 1974, just after the wide body car had been debuted at Detroit. When I went to work for John, he still had quite a small shop. I was the whole body and paint department.
was always 10 years ahead of his time; very inventive.
always paid his staff well; looked after them
always seemed to be able to come up with sponsorship for his projects;
could convince anyone that his projects were going to be successful
Jack emigrated to Canada with his parents when he was 14 and then studied industrial arts in Toronto, at the Ontario College of Art. He then worked as a designer at the company Design Craft doing exhibits for about 12-15 years. As an exhibit designer in Toronto, Jack worked on a lot of big projects but really the paycheck was just going to support his racing with a Morris Minor. Many other cars followed, including a Lotus Mark 9, a Can Am car, some Formula cars, and some IMSA GTO cars.
Jacks collection of cars (bought and sold) is impressive. He owned a Sadler (Corvette-powered) single-seater (circa 1960); Bill Saddler built the Sadler Mk5/Corvette, which is in effect the first Can Am car. Jack also owned the first Jim Hall Chapparal (chassis #001) that was built by Troutman and Barnes. It is the only front engine Chapparal not built by Jim Hall himself. At one point, Jack also owned four Aston Martins including a twin-turbo Le Mans car, and a 1960 DB-4. He has also owned several Ferraris and Porsches, a Greenwood coil-over widebody and, of course, the #48 and #50 BFG cars and the #4 Red Le Mans car.
Fred took his formal art education at The American Academy of Arts in Chicago. After graduation, he went on to the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts to finish in their design program. This is the same school that graduated Walt Disney in the 1920s. Walts brother, Roy Disney, also graduated the Chicago School of Business before they moved to California to become famous. Fred moved on from school to a career in advertising design. It was here that he perfected many of the technical skills that permitted him to eventually move into the production of decals.
Fred was never far from the racing community either. You had to be twenty-one years of age to work at Elkhart Lake, but Fred got involved as a pit steward just as soon as he was legal in 1966. He has been active for over 30 years with the Chicago region of the SCCA and has worked as pit steward, Chief Pit Steward and many other duties.
Fred has vivid memories of John Greenwood and Peter Gregg in their widebodied cars, when they first appeared in 1974. These cars made an immense impression on Fred, as you can see from the number of Greenwood cars he produces as stock offerings. Pushed a little bit more Fred will also tell you how he remembers Zora sitting in the pits, giving tips to the Greenwood mechanics on how to set up the cross-ram injection. These were definitely exciting times.
Paul got into racing as a teenager. He bought his first new Corvette in 1958 when he graduated from high school. Paul attended his drivers school a the State Fair Park in Milwaukee, WI, in the fall of 1963. This was followed by a 61 which he raced in SCCA Central Region regional races, starting in 1964. At the end of the season he was in second place after the regional finals.
The rest of the 60s and 70s saw Paul racing on-and-off. In 1979 he bought a Corvette roadster from John Huber, who had been racing in Trans-Am. This was the Big Apple Corvette which was painted white and ran with a big red apple painted on the side. Paul ran five Trans-Am races with this car (#11) and garnered two 2nd place finishes, one 4th place, one 3rd place and one 12th. He finished 6th in points again that year.
For 1980 Paul and his team remodeled the car to IMSA format with the wide body panels and painted it yellow. The car ran as #02 (roadster) for one year; in 1981 Paul put a roadster hardtop on the car and changed to #20. Then, in 1984, Paul put a real coupe-style top on it. The car ran IMSA GTO (big block category) throughout this period.
Somewhere along the line (and after twenty-five years of racing), a guys perspective starts to change. Paul still recognized good cars and still tried to move up in terms of his holdings, but the focus was changing from racing to collecting.
The lifelong attraction to Corvettes started when a buddy let Phil drive his 62 Corvette while they were spending the summer in Fort Lauderdale. A friend, Rick Osen, convinced him that if he could just make the step up, the 1963 had all the good stuff that he would need. Phil found the Corvette he was looking for on a Pontiac dealer lot; it was a fuel injection model but wasnt running right. No one seemed to be able to get the fuel injection to work so Phil bought the fuel injection manual, figured out the problem and got himself a real screamer. He still has it and races it at historic events.
In the next few years Phil went to every autocross he could. And two road-race driving schools. This was followed by a tour in Vietnam and then a return to racing. This time it was 12 SCCA regional events in 1970 and, in 1971, participation in the inaugural year of IMSA racing. In 1972 he won the IMSA series GTO championship and in the subsequent years, three class titles and top-five finishes 11 times.
Phil, together with partner Bruce Morton, bought a white Greenwood car, which has been identified as the #49 BFG Lifesaver Radial t-top car. Bruce and Phil ran this car at the IMSA Daytona Finale that year and then the partnership dissolved. Later in 1974, he sold the 1963 to another friend and bought the Mike Murray car, also a Greenwood car, now identified as one of Johns 1970/71 race cars. Phil raced this car through 1979; the car became known as the Swiss Cheese car .
Late in 1979 Phils search for a new car took him back to his former partner Bruce Morton. The white car was still for sale and Phil snapped it up. Two weeks later he ran it in the IMSA GTO class at Lime Rock. In 1981 Phil rebodied the car with a rounded rear style and in 1982 he again changed to the slab-sided style produced by Competition Fiberglass. The car was raced in this form pretty much through to 1989.
For now, Phil is doing some instructing, some racing, going to swap meets to help clean out his lifetime collection of parts, and just generally going fast.
Ralph Eckler started his first fiberglass repair shop in Rock Island, IL in 1961. Initially, it wasnt even a shop. Ralph had bought a wrecked 1960 to repair. He added a few subtle custom touches. Apparently, work went well and local club members started sending business his way. Business grew, aided by the near absence of replacement and/or custom parts. Business was facilitated when he moved to Titusville, FL in June of 1973. The wide range of experienced personnel available from the boating industry was a major factor.
Over the years, the Eckler product line of replacement fiberglass parts has grown -- from 10 employees in 1973 to nearly 150 employees in 1980. Full one-piece front ends were a landmark development. And the development of the hatchback conversion kit was considered to be unique. The line of products being offered grew during Ralphs association with John Greenwood. New products arising out of this relationship included the Turbo, Sportwagon and the Daytona. A full range of fiberglass, bolt-on and dress-up products were reflected in his growing color catalog. Ultimately, Ralph even added a GM Chevrolet dealership to the corporate masthead.
The late 1980s were a tough time in the business. So, in the early 1990s, Ralph sold the business to a group of investors. It subsequently changed hands to a second corporate group. And, now, the Eckler name has made a comeback. Reflecting Ralphs early standards and pride of product, the Titusville facility commands a large share of the Corvette aftermarket.
Wayne Ellwood is a lifelong Corvette fan. Although he studied urban transportation at university, he didnt catch the fascination with buses, trolleys and subways. Cars, and especially Corvettes, were his passion.
Wayne has participated actively in his local Corvette club since he bought his first car in 1976. During the nearly thirty years since, he has also filled several offices in his own club and served as the President of the Canadian Council of Corvette Clubs (Eastern Region) for six years. Of course, it wasnt all administration. There were some fun times, too. Like the time he crashed his 1976 Corvette at Mosport
or a friends race car at St. Jovite. Yes, those were the good old days.
While President of the Canadian Council, Wayne was invited to be a member of the National Corvette Museum Board of Directors, a position which he held from 1989 to 1996. During this time he also played a strong role in the executive committee and filled the office of Secretary for four years.
Wayne also started a Corvette magazine, SHARK Quarterly, for the 1968-82 enthusiasts. The magazine ran for five and a half years. Wayne also published a commemorative book for the National Corvette Museum, which is still on sale today. Wayne plans to continue his efforts to help the National Corvette Museum and to be active in the field of journalism, writing several freelance articles each year.
I worked with Rick Mancuso in 1977 when he took over control of the #76 from the Greenwoods right after the Sebring Race. At the time I also worked for Motor Sport Research an engine builder & speed shop in Des Plaines, IL. (Later became Pro Motor Engineering which moved to Moorsville, NC and builds NASCAR engines).
We built the engines for the same car for the 1977 season including the 24 Hours of Daytona, Sebring, Elkhart June Sprints, Twin Trans-Am at Elkhart & Watkins Glen IMSA 6 Hr. I drove the car at the June Sprints for the first time, then at the Elkhart Lake Road America SCCA Twin Trans Am Races where I finished 6th OA in the first Race on Saturday and then DNF'd with a broken pinion gear in the second T/A race on Sunday. I also drove the car at Watkins Glen with Paul Depirro.
In the Spring of 1977 I completely disassembled the car right down to the last nut & bolt after we took control and then rebuilt it prior to the 1977 Elkhart Lake Road America June Sprints. At the June Sprints I started third behind the 917-10 of Randolph Townsend and Jerry Hansen's Can-Am Lola(?). I passed them both right at the start but eventually lost the lead and then several laps later blew the MSR motor at 170 MPH on the front straight. A big event!
Steve Goldin and his brother, Keith, started going to the track when they were fairly young, probably around 1975. They served as a support crew to Tom Sheehy, who had bought Gene Feltons Camel GT (IMSA) sedan racer. It was at these races that they first saw the Corvettes run. Greenwood was really impressive in these years. Nothing sounded like the Corvettes. Both John and his cars made something of an impression on Steve.
Steve went to college after that and then worked for Datsun marketing. He got to take the (look-alike) Paul Newman ZX car around to events while the real car was running in the races. Still, Steve stayed away from the actual racing for quite a while. It was about 11 or 12 years ago that he bought his first open wheel car and his brother picked up his RX-3. And then, about 7 years ago Steve ran the 12 hours of Sebring in a Camaro. In 1996, he ran the 24 hours of Daytona with Hoyt Overbaugh, out of Virginia, and broke with only two hours to go. The team finished at the 12 hours of Sebring.
The Spirit of Le Mans car (formerly Mancusos #76 customer car) was purchased from Jack Boxstrom in about 1993. It took about 6-8 months for restoration. The Spirit of Sebring 76 car was picked up just as the Le Mans car was being finished. Steve did some paint, body, graphics work, as well as overhauling the drivetrain.
In 2002, Steve acquired the Greenwood #2 tubeframe car from Paul Canary and brought it out to this years (2003) Sebring event in its restored condition.
Dick Guldstrands real reputation was made at the track. For many years he was a major feature on the west coast racing scene. The knowledge he developed through these years was turned to performance matters, especially for Corvettes. By the early 70s Dick had finished doing most of his own racing and had turned his attention to his engineering business. During the late 60s and early 70s, Dick supplied parts for just about everyones cars, including Greenwood, John Paul, and so on.
Up to the 80s few things changed. But, increasing costs combined with the recession of the early 80s really hit the Corvette racers hard. Now, its interesting, that about the same time the 1984 Corvette came out and everyone wanted to move up to that body style. This wasnt great for Dicks business but, on the positive side it was about this time that slaloms and autocross events started to take off. It was at this time that Dick founded the Guldstrand Racing Association, which was a group of guys who wanted to do the slalom/autocross stuff more seriously. In the last ten to fifteen years, they have won the West Coast Championship nine times.
Since that time Dick has evolved to full custom shop status building such cars as the GS-80 and the GS-90. One of Dicks current projects is a fiftieth anniversary C5 Corvette.
Call it fate or just plain coincidence, but I was born and raised on Greenwood Avenue, Keene, NH...
In my quest for the right car, I came across a few articles regarding a stationwagon Corvette and this guy named Greenwood. After talking with John, I ended up buying his ex-girlfriends Sportwagon, which started me on a knowledge quest for info regarding his other street car endeavors.
After extensive research, I traded my '78 Pace Car for the Turbo GT #2 - obtaining it from the original dealer. In the years since, Ive talked with many owners of Greenwood street cars, as well as owners of replicas (usually unbeknownst to themselves). Ive compiled a database of those cars which are authentic (which is by no means complete) and am always eager to add to it.
Over the last fourteen years, Ive had countless conversations with John and Burt regarding their hectic days as drivers, engineers, fabricators and promoters. Both have always been extremely cooperative, informative and humorous regarding their past exploits. If it wasnt for their love of Corvettes and quest for the ultimate entertainment center, this website would not be.
Charles Hance is the owner of Coast Corvette in Anaheim, CA and he has his own personal collection of over 23 Corvettes and a few other eclectic vehicles. But he wasnt always a Corvette guy. In fact, he started life as a Ford engineer. Charles studied design at the Arts Center is Los Angeles and then went to work for Ford in Michigan around 1964. During this time he worked in their advance design studio and on the GT-40 project at Car Craft Fabrication.
Charles started racing around 1972 or 73 when he picked up a 1965 B-Production roadster, $1200 from a guy up in Bakersfield The car was sitting in the proverbial barn and no one knew its heritage. Once he tracked down a bit of the history, he discovered the car had belonged to Herb Caplan and had been used to win the national championship
Later Charles went through a lot of newer body styles and a Formula Atlantic car. When he went back to the Corvettes, he ran a 1981 car in the SCCA B-Production series. During this time he bought both the Wally Dallenbach and Greg Pickett Polyvoltech cars, which had also been previously sponsored by Mobil. These were some of GMs original race cars for the C-4 body style. They were built on Protofab chassis.
Charles bought the third Greenwood team coil-over chassis quite a while ago, probably about 1981, from a Porsche dealer/dismantler. After he bought it, he found out that SCCA wouldnt allow the coil-overs so he parked it. Charles plans to restore the car to the Greenwood Spirit car style.
Rick had begun working with John Greenwood, quite early in Johns career, in Detroit. Rick was the chief fabricator, doing the fiberglass and paint work. At the same time, he was campaigning his own car in the IMSA Camel GT series. This first car, which ran as #50, was originally a 1968 chassis. It had more miles on it than A.J. Foyt
according to car collector Paul Canary. Still, Rick kept his eyes open in the Greenwood shops and, at night, he would transfer lessons learned during the day, to his own car.
Rick began building his second car, #68, at the same time Greenwood was building the customer cars. So it was no surprise that Ricks widebody was nearly identical to the Greenwood cars. Using sponsorship from Dennis Tracy, Rick first painted this car black/orange/yellow. This is probably its most recognized format. But by Mid-Ohio, 1976, the car appeared as yellow with blue fenders.
The competition in IMSA was fierce and the new turbo Porsches were all-conquering. It was getting expensive to race and Rick could only manage periodic events during 1977. But, despite the odds, he quit Greenwoods shop to start his own paint and body shop in Livonia, MI. This earned enough money to continue his racing efforts.
Rick became involved with Dick Valentine, in 1978, in the development of a new two-car team, featuring a tubeframe design. Rick put aside his own racing season to work on these cars, which were to debut at Daytona in February 1979. Del Markle was also involved and when Rick became ill with a leukemia flare-up, Dick finished one of the tubeframe cars for Valentine.
Rick Hay died of leukemia at age 32, on September 19, 1979. He had always wanted to be a racer and his short career reflected that fact. He was buried in his driving suit, with his helmet beside him.
In 1967 Kerry Hitt entered his 1961 corvette in the Hershey Hill climb. It was a street car with street tires. Safety equipment included a roll over bar. A helmet, seat belts an orange Army surplus flight suit soaked in a fire proofing solution, and a pair of gloves. That was the beginning of a quest that has lasted over 30 years and has taken Kerry throughout the United States, into Canada and has had an effect on Corvette racing that has reached half way around the world.
Today Kerry is the President and CEO of Advanced Composite Products Inc., which is the company that has proudly developed and is manufacturing the C5 Corvette body that is used in the SCCA Trans-Am road racing series. ACP also designed and built the ground effects kit that is being widely used in the World Challenge and Motorola Cup Road Racing Series.
Gib entered the General Motors Institute in Flint, on the dealership program in the early 50s. On his return to GM, after a military stint that ended in 1957, he worked on shock absorber valving and some of the Corvair Greenbriar packaging problems. He also worked on the engine, gas tank and engine cover latching mechanisms. Interestingly, the CERV I was being developed in the same area. Later, Gib was assigned to work on a variety of projects, including some Corvette projects. While working in the Corvette group, he helped to bring the new Belleville clutch to market. Within a year or so he had also developed an HD service release part for NASCAR applications. It was first used on the Chevy mystery engines.
Gib stayed with the Corvette group for many years doing both the parts release work which constituted his day job and the racing efforts which everyone volunteered to support. During this period, the Corvette group developed some really good stuff with Owens Corning, Greenwood and some of the other racers in 1969 and 70. In 1973, Gib homologated the FIA big flared fenders, which were designed by Randy Wittine and Jerry Palmer, for Greenwoods 1973 Le Mans package.
By 1975 or 76 the racing work died off. Also, between 1983 and 84, GM reorganized and the Corvette group was disbanded. Corvette was picked-up under the general auspices of the CPC group. One special project was the 1983 to 85 C4 twin turbo program. Callaway eventually delivered a turbo car. But during the developmental stages, Gibs group also did some work on this concept. Gib also worked on the LT-5 engine packaging, in cooperation with Lotus, as the ZR-1 was being developed.
Shortly after he retired, GM asked him to come back to fit the LS-1 into a Holden. Then, in April 1999 Gib joined GM Racing on a part-time basis. He was contacted to provide help with the new Speedvision racing series. Gib is still working on a part-time basis with GM Racing to assure the knowledge captured from racing translates back to the core Corvette program.
Marietta Bob Johnson
I was 37 years old when I started. In fact, up to that point I really didnt have any interest in sports cars or the people who seemed so excited about them. Driving around with your butt three inches off the ground and getting your teeth jarred out just didnt seem like a lot of fun. But everything changes sooner or later.
I had friend, Doug Bergen, in Marietta, OH who had a 1966 Vette coupe. He asked me if I would be interested in driving it if he prepared it for racing. We started about the last half of the season but still placed third in central division. That took us to the finals in Daytona where we qualified fourth, worked our way up to second, blew a head gasket and then ended up fifth. The next year (1969), he bought a 68 Vette and I co-drove with another Bob Johnson from Columbus, OH. I only knew Bob casually. He had driven with Carol Shelby and Jim Hall with the Chaparrals. I asked him if he would be interested in co-driving the Watkins Glen 6 Hour Endurance race that year. We won our class (GT) in that race and set a course record. We drove a couple of other races that year and did quite well.
Then in 1970, Doug bought an L-88 with all the goodies; we placed second in GT class and eleventh overall at Daytona (as car #8) and second at Sebring (as car # 3) with that car. I drove with a couple of other teams after that. I drove with John Greenwood in 1971 at Michigan International Speedway at the 3 Hour Endurance race that marked BFG's entry into the Corvette scene with their new Radial T/As. John also took me to the Brainerd race where I drove his second team car and we got a 1-2 finish. I drove various cars from there, including Don Yenkos racing Vega at Daytona.
I was driving the IMSA endurance races for Toye English and two categories of SCCA regional races that year. Probably the biggest events were the IMSA endurance races. It was 1972 when the Toye English R.E.D... team was sponsored to go to Le Mans. Thats when Toye built the second car (#4) that Mike Yager now owns.
When we returned from Le Mans, we took that car to Watkins Glen to run in the 6 Hour race. I think we won there and then we went to Mid-Ohio where I think we finished fifth. In SCCA, I also drove a B-Production car in the SCCA Central Division for Fred Semon in Marietta. I won the Central Division and placed third at the run-offs in Atlanta. The next year (1973) I drove for John Greenwood for the whole season.
Jim was transferred to the R&D group (GM 1967) under Leonard Kutkas. Leonard was the project leader and driving force behind the development of a new fuel injection system for Jim Halls Chaparral Can Am cars. One of the people who stayed in close touch with the CanAm program was Zora Arkus-Duntov. Jim had enough meetings with Zora to become good friends and, as a result of this friendship, he also has a very special memory.
The R&D groups first efforts at improving fuel injection involved a variation on the Rochester-style constant-flow system. The group started working on a constant-flow system like the earlier Hilborn system, which had been developed by Jim Travers. This system was OK, but the really incredible development of the day was the Lucas mechanical timed-injection system.
Jim departed from the R&D Group in mid 1970. After starting his own business, Jim had many interesting projects, in addition to the Greenwood cross-ram project.
Kevin Mackay runs his Corvette Repair restoration shop in Valley Stream (Long Island). Its one of Kevins main principles that perfect is just barely good enough. It doesnt hurt that Kevin is also one of the few NCRS and Bloomington certified judges in the metro region and is one of only six benchmark judges. He also gives seminars for both Bloomington Gold and Corvettes at Carlisle.
Kevins shop has produced some notable pieces. For example, Kevin started the driveable chassis display. The Corvette Repair group then built three of the suspended body/chassis; the last one in that series was a 1967 L-88 coupe which was on display in the National Corvette Museum for many years. More recently, he debuted the driveable cutaway 1968 L-88 DX racer in a special Chips Choice display at Corvettes @ Carlisle 95.
Kevin restored the Bounty Hunter to full show car standards. Because of its history, he left the decals and the Cragar lightweight aluminum GT wheels on it. He showed it at an NCRS event in 1992 at Cypress Gardens. Up to that time no car had been shown at an NCRS event with custom decals and custom wheels.
Since opening his own business, Kevin estimates that he has prepared over 100 different types and levels of restoration. Some projects include the #49 BFG coupe and the #50 BFG and the #4 Le Mans. There are several other 1968 L-88 (coupe and roadster) restorations confirmed as well.
I actually started (racing) in 1971 with a 12-year old car a 1958 B Production Corvette and entered 12 races. I broke in ten races and made a complete fool out of myself. But all in all, I hung in there and moved into a 66 B Production Corvette. From there I went in to a 69 Corvette couple and updated it to a 73 coupe and applied for an IMSA license.
When we arrived at the (Mid Ohio 1973) drivers meeting the first day, the were assigning the pits. So were standing in a cluster of drivers and the steward starts reading off the names. Pit No 1, John Greenwood
BFG Racing Team. He had two cars and hed just returned from Le Mans. This was my hero, okay? And then while Im staring at him, I hear, sharing the pit will be car # 37 with Rick Mancuso. Oh God, I just about died, you know? Here I am trying to keep a low profile and they stick us in his pit.
Well, we went ahead and ran the race and I became acquainted with John and a little bit with Don Yenko, who was driving Greenwoods other car.
The following year (1974) I laid off racing, but nonetheless ended up buying a semi-prepared GT car with the Greenwood body. It was not a car that John had built but was put together by a guy in Ft. Lauderdale, FL who had bought the parts from John.
It was that time that I began to know John better, since I had to purchase the parts from him for my own car. Then, after racing the car, I realized that there is just no substitute for a car that was designed by John. Not satisfied with a pretender, I went out and bought a car from John in the beginning of 1976. I actually bought the car in November but didnt take delivery of it until Sebring. At Sebring, John had the Spirit of Sebring 76 Corvette. We were right next to it with our Greenwood Vette. They were wicked, killer cars.
Bill and Chip Miller, unrelated cofounders of Carlisle Productions, received the Petersens Collector Car Person of the Year Award in 1996. While the Millers both excel in all the criteria valued by the Meguiars Award Committee, the vast majority of visitors to the Carlisle fairgrounds probably arent aware of the corporate involvement with local PTAs, service organizations, band boosters, school vocational programs, the Boy Scouts, as well as departmental board leadership at Shippensburg University. Carlisle Productions is also involved with D.A.R.E. program, McGruff Crime Vehicle, Crime Watch van and the United Way Campaign. Also well-known to visitors at Carlisle are the kids at Carlisle sections for children ages three to eight; the team Cobra 94 vocational project; and the PP&L Electric go-cart competition.
Also, by keeping vendors and show visitors informed about the hobby, along with the challenges it faces from clunker bills and other restrictive legislation, the Millers enable all those who share their passion for old cars and trucks to effectively battle the forces that threaten our hobby.
Chip Miller is also known as a very enthusiastic Corvette collector. Some of the cars is his current collection include a Callaway speedster, a highly valued 1953, and the #49 BFG Corvette racer.
Sadly, Chip passed away on March 25, 2004 at the Mayo Clinic at the age of 61 from complications related to Amyloidosis.
Ed Mueller is a business man from Hawthorne, NJ. He purchased his printing business very early in his career and its profitability has allowed him to collect a variety of cars. Eds collection is most famous for his ownership of Grand Sport #002 and for the fact that he collected and restored all three BFG Greenwood race cars.
Ed speaks easily on the passion of collecting, however. For example, Ed will quickly tell you that, in following the ownership line for the #48 and #50 cars, he learned many lessons. First, and not unexpectedly, the question of accurate histories is most important. Many collectors are all too painfully aware that some cars do get misrepresented. Research is critical. On the plus side, Ed will also tell you that he views the research as one of the most enjoyable parts of collecting older cars. Tracking down a cars history and the stories that go with it let him get to know the people and expand his knowledge base at the same time.
John Paul, Sr.
John Paul was originally from Europe, so he was exposed to a great deal more road racing than the average American. John migrated to autocrossing and subsequently to SCCA regional racing.
In 1976 John Paul returned to racing after a short break. He tried the Porsche RSR and then moved to a V8 Monza (Dykstra-design) in 1977. About this time, John Paul began talking with John Greenwood about his new ideas for the tubeframe cars. The IMSA All-American category had been purposely designed to help US built cars showcase themselves. Plus, there was the opportunity to run the big block engines instead of the small blocks. It all seemed to make sense. So in the off-season between 1977 and 1978, John Paul bought the second tubeframe car from Protofab Engineering.
The Corvette made its debut at the third race of the season, at Road Atlanta. John Paul drove it in all the sprint races and it was blindingly fast but not very durable. The team was well placed in qualifying most of the time but the best they ever placed was second at Hallett Motor Speedway. For the most part they had a string of DNFs. The next year John Paul sold the Corvette to Tico and René (T&R Racing). They ran it, with John Greenwood doing some of the driving.
In 1979, John Paul switched back to the Porsches and concentrated on the Trans-Am series. In 1980 he went back to IMSA and finished second in the series to Fitzpatrick. He also picked up the World Endurance Championship for the second time that year. In 1981, the major team effort was on getting John Paul, Jr. into the car and trying to get him to win the championship. In 1983 John Paul, Sr. retired.
I entered my first IMSA pro race in 1974 or 75 at Laguna Seca Raceway. In 1976 I ordered my first new race car to run the next years (1976) Trans Am series... a Decon Monza build by Horst Kroll and Lee Dykstra. I ran the Trans Am season in 1976. What was important about that year was that, late in the season, we had gone to Elkhart Lake and Jerry Hansen showed up with one of the latest Greenwood Corvettes designed by Bob Riley and built by Protofab Engineering... that was Charlie Selix and Gary Pratt. I remember that big block Corvette. He would go by me on the straightaway by easily 30-40 MPH. Eventually we traded cars and a little bit of money and I got the Riley/Greenwood Corvette. So in 1978 I ran the first real tubeframe Corvette in the Trans-Am. I believe that 1978 was also the year that John Paul, Sr won his class in the IMSA series in another Bob Riley-designed, Protofab-built Greenwood Corvette.
We won the championship that year. And I figured I had done just about everything I could want to do so I retired again. But late in the 1979 season, I began to get a little bit itchy. From this point, I raced under Chevrolet sponsorship and we also built cars for Jerry Brassfield (Darrins dad) and his brother Tony Brassfield. That was the start of Pickett Racing. But it was tough to compete against the bigger teams. A little guy just couldnt keep up with the factory-backed efforts. And I had a growing family with 4 children. So I just sold everything and got out, again. It was also at this time that I sold the 1978 #6 tubeframe car to Jerry Brassfield.
I was thinking that I was out of racing pretty much for good when, in 1984 I ended-up driving for Ford. In 1987 Tommy Morrison brought substantial sponsorship from Mobil 1, enough to run two Corvettes in the Trans-Am series. By 1989, the sponsorship from Chevrolet came to an end. So Im back to retirement, for the third time.
In 1990 I got the idea for team management. For the future, I am looking at the possibility of having Pickett Racing maybe get into some open wheel cars. We have been talking to some sponsors and I think that Indianapolis will be in our future, as a business not as a driver.
After graduating from LSU in 1958 with degrees in mechanical and aeronautical engineering, Bob Riley found a place at Chryslers Space Division and helped build the Saturn booster rocket that took Neil Armstrong to the moon. It was during this time that he also built his first road-racing car, vaguely Scarab-like with a Chevy 283.
In 1962 Bob Riley took a job with Fords Advanced Concept Group. In 1965 he went to work for Kar Kraft on the GT40 project. He worked on suspensions and fuel cells for the Mark 4. Through his contacts at Kar Kraft he became acquainted with A.J. Foyt and in 1971 he went to Texas to work for Foyt. Rileys Coyote design won its first race and evolved over six years, carrying Foyt to his 1975 USAC victory and a later win at Indianapolis.
The development of the tubeframe cars for John Greenwood was almost a sidebar in a young, but already chock-full career. The year 1976 marked the end of the full chassis race cars in the main North American series sanctioned by the SCCA and IMSA. New rules introduced for 1977 permitted complete tubeframe chassis and significant modifications to traditional suspension layouts. It was the beginning of a new era of racing.
Bobs work for John Greenwood took advantage of Johns strong commitment to new approaches and his own ideas on suspension and aerodynamics. Greenwood also had the services of many of his traditional team partners available to him.
The first new Bob Riley-designed, Protofab-constructed tubeframe car rolled out at Brainerd, MN mid-season 1977. This was the two-tone silver #77 car. Later that year, he sold the car to Jerry Hansen. Hansen subsequently sold the car to Greg Pickett, who ran it in the white #6 configuration. Bob assisted Picket in his car set-up and its ongoing evolution.
Bob Rileys prolific career continued unabated and has included a novel IMSA Mustang, a series of Trans-Am tubeframe cars, his own carbon-fiber Intrepid, the Merkur XR4Ti, a pair of Camaros for Chevrolet, continuing through to the current Riley and Scott IMSA Mk3 cars.
Bob Riley now works with his father at the R&S Indianapolis shops.
Bob Schuller started his Corvette repair business, originally called American Custom Shop, when he had an accident with his 1962 Corvette and couldnt find a satisfactory shop to repair it.
During the mid-70s, Schuller joined forces with John Greenwood and the pair developed a series of high performance street machines, including a custom-built turbocharged Corvette. A split followed, but American Custom Industries continued to manufacture and elaborate upon the Greenwood designs.
It was also through the Greenwood connection that Schuller developed a relationship with Zora Arkus-Duntov. Late in the 70s Schuller introduced the idea of the Duntov Turbo series. This series evolved over three distinct phases and sold approximately 32 Duntov Turbos - considerably short of the anticipated run of 200.
Additional notable products to come out of the ACI shop included the Spina Bifida Turbo Vette II hatchback and the lightweight Greg Pickett kevlar-bodied SCCA Trans-Am body.
Bob Schuller died in 1988. Now under management by long-time employee Bart Lea, American Custom Industries maintains its position in the Corvette aftermarket and its reputation for quality fiberglass products.
Mike's interest for Corvettes was fueled after working two summers and at times after school for a Corvette service and restoration business Upshaw Corvette in La Mirada, Ca. It was here that Mike learned to repair, disassemble and assemble Corvettes in addition to being involved with building several race cars from the ground up. Always interested in road racing especially involving Corvettes, Mike visited race tracks such as Riverside Raceway in the 70s and watched the Corvettes navigate the road course and Thunder down the long Riverside straightaway.
Mike realized vintage racing was a way to transport back in time and re-live the Corvette road racing days. Mike found a 1966 big block Corvette with significant racing history that he maliciously restored to exact 1966 racing specifications. This Corvette "Leonard" was invited to the Bloomington Gold Special Collection for significant race cars in 1994.
The Corvette fascination continued when several years ago, while searching for a big block road race Corvette, Mike made contact with Lance Smith. While he did not purchase the Corvette from Lance, he quickly realized he shared the same passion for Greenwood wide body, big block Corvettes. While separated by a few thousand miles, they became friends and continued to share the same passion for the history of John Greenwood and his cars.
Mike found and purchased a Greenwood style wide body big block car from the Kauffman family several years ago and is the second owner of this vehicle. The Kauffman car was the first big block "wide body" Camel GT car built on the West coast around 1976. Mike also purchased a 1969 Corvette that has been re-bodied several times and currently has a 1980 wide fender design used for GT1 racing of that period. In 2004, Mike located and purchased the Greenwood Chassis #10 car from Sam Mancuso, son of Jim Mancuso who had the car built by John in 1977 to go Trans Am racing. Chassis no. 10 is a small block car and is for the most part exactly as built and raced by Jim Mancuso in 1977. Mike is looking forward to driving the Greenwood Chassis #10 Car this year along with its other Corvette stable mates.
The story of my Greenwood collection started just around 1987 and cascades quite quickly. I took my father to Road Atlanta for the Walter Mitty Challenge vintage race. We met Paul Canary, who told us about a car he had just restored. He went on to tell me that the Greenwood cars were one of his loves and he owned two of them the two Spirit cars that Steve Goldin now owns.
We went to Carlisle and as we were wandering around I saw an old beat-up 82 Corvette on its back. I nosed around a little and figured that it was a Greenwood car. I talked a bit with the guy who was selling it and I sort of figured out that this was Michael Olyear. I got the car for about $6,500; that was a fair price considering that there was a lot of work to do (and included about $7,000 worth of Minilite wheels).
With a little more research through Gene Miller, I found that it was the chassis #011 Greenwood customer car originally built for EF (Gene) Miller in 1978 and driven by John Orr through 1979 with Mike Oleyar as co-driver at the longer events like the Glen. Mike later used the car for his own racing. In 1980 the car had been sold to him and then I bought it in 1987.
Since acquiring my first Greenwood car, I have found quite a few others. The next car I bought was the ex-Mike Murray, ex-Phil Currin Swiss Cheese car. I bought two cars, the R.V. Shulnburg car (customer car chassis #008) and the Albert DeLeo car. I sold that car to a friend, Dave Force, here in Philadelphia (February 1991). Dave sold it to a man from Texas in 2002.
The real gem in my collection is the Spirit of Sebring 75. This was Greenwoods original 1974 widebody car and was used as his development mule for the customer car series, as well as the inspiration for the tubeframe cars. You can refer to the story on the car for a more colorful history of that one.
Devoted automotive interests led Dennis to Detroit as a co-op student at General Motors Institute, after he completed high school. One thing lead to another and soon Dennis rented a garage; in his spare time, he repaired Corvettes. Then he started to buy, sell and trade all the parts he could get his hands on.
In early 1969, Dennis enlisted in the Army Reserves, took a job at the Chevrolet Engineering Center running engine testing dynamometers, and purchased a home in Warren, MI. About a year and a half later, he was laid-off from Chevrolet Engineering during one of their cutbacks. Thats when he decided to turn his part time parts business into a full time endeavor. It couldnt have been more natural -- selling Corvette parts and speed equipment.
It was also about this time period when Tracy, in cooperation with Joe Liberty, developed and tested the first five-speed drag racing transmission. This was the beginning of numerous changes in the transmission market, as Liberty Transmissions developed the clutchless racing transmission and many other major improvements. Tracy was also involved in road racing and built a B-Production SCCA Corvette from the frame up. It was then converted to an A-Production car with L-88 flares and later ended up in the IMSA racing series.
Dennis began sponsoring several road-racing Corvettes. Phil Currin was a member of the Tracy Performance team and qualified the Rick Hay #68 Corvette in fifth place at the Sebring 12-Hour Endurance Race in 1977. Then they finished 5th at the Paul Revere 250 at Daytona. On the drag racing side, Tracy also sponsored the Motown Shaker Corvette Funny Car owned by Al Bergler and the Mongoose Corvette Funny Car owned by Tom McEwen.
Randy is a multi-talented designer/engineer. He has followed racing avidly throughout his career, working on various teams. His work with the Owens-Corning team in the early 70s contributed to a fourth overall for the Tony DeLorenzo #11 Owens-Corning Corvette at the 1971 Daytona.
Randy Wittine also assisted the Greenwoods in many ways. Burt has explained this involvement in prior exchanges. With respect to the graphics, Burt reports that it was usually a collaborative deal but most of the graphics, numbers and stuff were little changed from what Randy Wittine would think up. John did the original stars and stripes but Randy helped to refine it. He was, and still is, a ridiculously talented designer and illustrator at GM in Warren, MI.
As for the bodywork on the original widebody, John and Zora would describe what they were looking for (John wanted the vented wheel shapes and Zora wanted the leading surface of the shapes to angle upwards for more dynamic pressure) but it was Randy doing the lions share of the hands-on shaping. The accountants kicked the project out of Chevy design before it was finished. Burt finished the rear quarters for the tooling
also, possibly the spoiler end-caps, working to Randys illustration.
Randy is still employed at GM Design Center and is responsible for many design contributions to Corvette.