Posted Aug 7th 2012 3:30PM
You would think that by 2012 – some four decades after the car collecting hobby hit maturity – there would be no important and unaccounted-for cars left to be found. But you would be wrong.
Carlisle Events has announced that the No. 1 Briggs Cunningham Le Mans Corvette from 1960 was recently found in a warehouse in Florida, where it had been sitting neglected since the mid-1970s. The car will be on display at this month's Corvettes at Carlisle, with the full backstory on the car, including the identity of its new owner, to be revealed on August 24.
The Corvette was one of three such cars racing legend Cunningham entered at Le Mans in 1960 as privateer efforts during General Motors' self-imposed ban on racing. While the other two Chevrolet racers have been discovered and restored, the No. 1 Corvette has been missing since shortly after the race when it was sold off as a street car. When the two-door appears at Carlisle it will be shown in unrestored, "as found" condition.
The No. 1 Corvette might not have been discovered if it were not for the car's owner researching the VIN on the BriggsCunningham.com website. That led the website owner to contact Carlisle co-founder Chip Miller, owner of the No. 3 car, who apparently brokered the deal with the Vette's new owner. Plans do call for restoration of the car and a possible reunion with its teammates.
Click here to read the full press release.
Iconic Race Car to be Unveiled at Corvettes at Carlisle
Whereabouts Unknown for more than 50 Years - See Automotive History on Display
When Chip Miller co-founded Carlisle Events in 1974 and launched Corvettes at Carlisle in 1982, his heart and mind overflowed with his love of family, love of work and love of the Corvette. In a 2011 film by Michael Brown called "The Quest," Miller's pursuit of an historic racing Corvette from the 1960 Le Mans 24 Hour Endurance Race was well chronicled. Also told within Miller's story was that of a trio of cars commissioned to race by American entrepreneur and sportsman Briggs Cunningham. Miller found his historic racer, the #3 Cunningham car, and it now resides in Carlisle, Pennsylvania as part of the Miller family's private collection. The #2 car, after multiple owners and a drop off the radar for nearly 20 years, is part of a collection owned by Bruce Meyer in California. The #1 car, which also raced at Le Mans at 1960, was, within two years of the race, lost...until now!
Lance Miller, Corvettes at Carlisle, Kevin Mackay, Corvette Repair Inc. and Larry Berman of BriggsCunningham.com are excited to announce that the #1 Cunningham Corvette has been found and will be available to be seen for the first time in over 50 years as part of the 2012 Corvettes at Carlisle event. The car will first be unveiled to a limited audience Thursday night, August 23 at 7 p.m. just off grounds and will then be on stage all weekend long where enthusiasts and event attendees can revel in this piece of automotive history.
Discovered in the St. Petersburg area of Florida, the #1 Cunningham Corvette was the last of the three Cunningham cars to be located. How the car was found, however, is a unique story. Though the search was on for many years, the trail always turned cold. Finally, in June of 2012 the heat was on as the car owner actually researched its VIN number online, which led him to the BriggsCunningham.com website. At that point, site representative Larry Berman called and then emailed Miller, a friend of his and owner of the 1960 #3 Cunningham Corvette, to inform him of the lead. From there, conversations took place with the owner of the #1 car and many of the details from that call fit aspects that had been researched prior. Through multiple phone calls, many questions and even a site visit by the car's current owner, buyer and seller became friendly and within a month, the sale was complete.
Since Sunday July 22, 2012 when the initial payment request was made until now, the car has traveled from Florida to the northeast where it will reside for the foreseeable future. Not only will it be on display at Carlisle in "as found" condition later this month, it will also go through a vigorous restoration process, which may take upwards of two years. Throughout restoration, it's expected that the car will annually return to Carlisle so that enthusiasts can track its progress. Further, Miller hopes that he can work with Loren Lundberg, owner of #4 Camoradi Corvette and Bruce Meyer, owner of the #2 Corvette as well as the new owner of the #1 racer for a reunion of the three Cunningham cars. If that feat were to be accomplished, it would be the first time since approximately 1960 that all four racing Corvettes were together in the same place at the same time.
Finally, as part of the grand unveiling, Miller and Mackay will share the full story of how the car was found, who owns it and what all went into the acquisition of it. These details and more will be told in grand fashion Friday, August 24, 2012 on stage during Corvettes at Carlisle.