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1975 Chevy Corvette "Greenwood Spirit of Sebring" HMSA SOLD

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Serial Number: 002
Condition: Excellent
Price:  US $695,000  Currency_Convert
Location: Los Angelse, CA, USA
 

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Description

This magnificent, show-stopping, jaw-dropping, ground-shaking, John Greenwood Corvette is one of the most iconic cars of IMSA road racing history, a car which waved the all-American flag high and defiant against the rapidly rising tide of more fuel-efficient though hardly ever as fast European rivals from Porsche and BMW. This big-block V8-engined projectile is surely one of the most famous charismatic Chevrolet competition road racers of all time. This imposing car began life as the product of no fewer than three years’ racing development of the Chevrolet Corvette theme by specialist preparer/racing driver John Greenwood of Troy, Michigan. During that period almost every single significant component of the car had been developed, reworked, modified, redesigned and remade to produce a purebred competition road-racing car which was not only almost unbelievably fast in a straight line but which was also capable of remarkable feats of braking, handling and cornering power. The result has been described with good reason as being “a race car which has had the Porsche and BMW factory engineers muttering to themselves…”. Famously, it was reported by C.J. Baker in ‘Hot Rod’ magazine that “Of course it’s true that John is on a first-name basis with many of the engineers at Chevrolet Division and that he has spent well over $125,000 developing his car, but still all of that is virtually insignificant when compared to the factory effort and expenditure the foreign companies have invested in their super-lightweight racers. And yet, when the checkered flag falls, there’s John Greenwood in the 2,800lb Corvette streaking across the finish line ahead of the 2,000lb wondercars from across the pond. For example John dominated (and won) the first three races (Pocono, Portland and Nelson Ledges) in the ‘’75 Trans-Am season…in partnership with Rudy Braun…” It was early in January 1974 that this true landmark car appeared at the Detroit International Auto Show. It was wide, and swoopy, with huge fender extensions and ‘ground effects’, an aerodynamic undertray and diffusers. It was John Greenwood’s new wide-body race car, quickly dubbed ‘The Batmobile’. Encapsulated within this new car was the accumulation of all Chevrolet racing exponent John Greenwood’s long years of racing experience with these great cars. He later recalled: “I started out street racing big block Chevrolets in Detroit…first with a Chevrolet Impala that I enlarged to 452 cubic inches. I built 18 engines living at home with my parents…a 440 cubic inch job turned the aquarter in 10.8 seconds.I won the SCCA regional Championship, I won the 1969 Championship with a Camaro. Then won the SCCA National Title in A-Production Corvettes in 1970 and 1971. I did Daytona and Sebring in 1970-71, 1972-73 I participated in a B.F. Goodrich program. 1974 was the start of our ‘wide-body’ Corvettes. In TransAm I did just three races, won two and finished third in the Championship. Then came IMSA races… Our Corvettes were designed to four-wheel drift. The tires lasted longer that way. They looked hairy to drive but were very safe…and incredibly fast!” Introduced to competition at the IMSA Road Atlanta round in 1974, ‘The Batmobile’ co-driven by John Greenwood/Mike Brockman qualified second and immediately led the opening laps. Milt Mither drove it to victory at Talladegaal, 50 laps, 200 miles. By December that year the car was not only fast enough, but also reliable enough, to win the 66-lap, 250 mile IMSA Finale race at Daytona, averaging 115.659mph, having qualified on pole and beating all rivals by a clear lap! In 1975, Greenwood’s thunderous Corvette finished 4th in the first Road Atlanta IMSA round, and again won the Daytona Finale race, again starting from pole at record speed, setting fastest race lap and this time beating Brian Redman’s BMW CSL by almost 40seconds to win at a record 116.775mph for the 65 laps. But perhaps more significantly this car was John Greenwood’s first, his ‘mule’ for ongoing development of the coil-over series of two team cars and one partial chassis built by the organization through the `76 season. In 1975 this car ran as the ‘Spirit of Sebring ’75’ and Sebring West ‘Riverside `75’entry, and twice as ‘Old Blue’. Subsequently, it seemed that this iconic IMSA Chevrolet had been simply lost to posterity. It was reputedly sold at auction, painted pink, reputedly driven to “Las Vegas and lost along the way”. But then in 1997 this important all-American road race car reappeared in the hands of Lance Smith, enthusiast for, collector of, and authority on ‘the Greenwood cars’

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