For nearly four decades, the Chevrolet Corvette was the only sports car designed and built in North America. Capable of taking on and beating the world’s best GT cars on the international circuit, Corvettes roared on the Mulsanne straight at Le Mans, flew on the high banks at Daytona and blazed their lights around the Sebring airport. On amateur SCCA circuits, Corvettes won 14 “A Production” and 15 “B Production” divisional titles in the 1962 to 1976 period.
The classic solid axle Corvette gave way to the beautiful mid-year coupes and convertibles with independent suspension in 1963, and four-wheel disc brakes became standard in 1965. In 1968 it emerged as the dramatic Stingray with a “Coke bottle” shape inspired by the ’67 Mako Shark Show Car. Some magazine road tests panned the new C-3 Corvette, finding rattles and other issues in the first model year, but the general buying public voted with their checkbooks and purchased some 67,327 Corvettes in the 1968-1969 model years!
In 1971 John Greenwood contracted with the BF Goodrich Tire Company to run two “BFG Corvettes” in FIA-sanctioned racing on the company’s new radial tires for the 1972-1973 seasons. Greenwood, an excellent race driver with a creative engineering mind, knew that his Corvettes running on street tires would be at a disadvantage against the competition on racing slicks. So every aspect of his BFG team cars – engines, suspensions, running gear, aero, brakes and even the appearance – had to be cutting edge and maxed-out to the limit of the rules. John’s brother, Bert Greenwood, a superb designer in his own right, sketched the “Stars & Stripes” graphics, and an American Corvette racing icon was born. The race cars were numbered #48 and #50 with a third “Stars & Stripes” car, #49, slated for use by BFG for promotions and shows. When the #50 car was damaged in a 1972 crash, Greenwood quickly converted the immaculate #49 show car, an actual factory L-88 T-top coupe with a ZL-1 engine, to racing specification, since the lucrative BFG contract called for running two Corvettes in the specified races.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August of 2011 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.
Est. 750 hp @ 6,500 rpm, Traco-built 427 CID aluminum block original ZL-1 engine, Muncie four-speed close ratio transmission, Greenwood Racing front and rear suspension, trailing arms, anti-sway bars, Minilite wheels with period NOS BFG radial tires, bodywork modified with Factory L-88 flares and molded plexi-head lamp covers. Wheelbase: 98"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Ron Kimball