Chevrolet Corvette Riley & Scott Racing Car
There were two Kings of Cool in Hollywood in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. Paul Newman and Steve McQueen were friends and rivals for 30 years, and both were rebellious icons in the movie industry. The two might have even headlined Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in 1969.
Newman and McQueen were also single-minded racers, whose exploits won the admiration of their competitors as well as their fans. In 1970, McQueen and Peter Revson placed second in the 12 Hours of Sebring, driving a Porsche 908/02, only 23 seconds behind the winner, and in 1979, Newman, Rolf Stommelen and Dick Barbour placed second in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in Barbour’s Porsche 935. They were only seven laps behind the winner after 2,590 miles, and 1st in the IMSA class.
Paul Newman didn’t become interested in driving until he was 43 and made Winning in 1969, a film about an Indy 500 racer. Then he got to know Bobby Unser, Dan Gurney, Tony Hulman and Mario Andretti, who became a lifelong friend. “It was the first thing I found I ever had any grace in,” Newman would say later.
In 1970 Paul Newman introduced the Annual Ontario Motor Speedway’s Celebrity ProAm Race for Charity, which paired drivers like Mario Andretti, Mark Donohue, Bobby Unser, Parnelli Jones, Dan Gurney and Roger Ward with actors and sportsmen. He was getting his taste of racing, though he wouldn’t drive for a couple more years. In 1971 Newman agreed to star in and host his first television special, Once Upon a Wheel, on the history of motor racing, which won awards as the Best International Sports Documentary.
Paul Newman actually started racing in 1972, when he drove a Lotus Elan in Thompson, Connecticut. Some reports say he won, but in any case he was hooked. Newman would drive Datsuns for the Bob Sharp Racing Team from the mid-1970s to the 1990s, winning four SCCA national titles, starting in 1976 with D-Production. He won C-Production in 1979 and was GT-1 Champion in 1985-86. He also finished fifth in the 1977 24 Hours of Daytona and was second at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1979. His first professional Trans Am win was at Brainerd, Minnesota in 1982, and he won again at Lime Rock in 1986.
This car is Paul’s last race car. Between 2003-2007, he was hard to beat in SCCA Nationals at Atlanta, Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. His business partner and co-racer Michael Brockman recalls, “We bought the car in 2003, ran it five times, with two firsts and three seconds, ran it five times in 2004, two firsts and three seconds. I don’t ever recall Paul coming in lower than that…well maybe there was one third. We only ran it about five times a year, but Paul won, or he was second, every time he went out. The last race he ran at was Lime Rock—a year to the day before he died. He and I were first and second that day, I ran the old Camaro we had.”
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in March of 2012 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida.
700 hp, 346 cu. in. V-8 engine, with electronic fuel injection, six-speed manual transmission, four-wheel independent racing suspension, four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 104.5"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel