The chance to buy a lucrative Chevrolet dealership was a dream come true for Roger Penske. At age 28 he gave up driving sports cars for a career in business. A Corvette was the obvious choice for his fledgling Roger Penske Chevrolet Racing team.
Waiting at the St Louis assembly plant in late November was a special optioned 1965 L88 Corvette. The big 24 hours of Daytona race was only a few weeks away and there was little time to prepare. A long-term sponsor deal with Sunoco rested on the outcome.
Penske’s team finished first in class. The car was painted blue for the 12 hours of Sebring where it won again.
At Amelia Island, George Haddad of Fabulous Restorations Inc displayed the original car in red as it no longer exists, replicated down to every last detail. Alongside the # 9 Sebring version in consultation with its restorer Kevin Mackay of Corvette Repair. Watch the story https://youtu.be/J3f2yhRThjI
The Amelia Island Concours d’ elegance has literally reached the top of the world, thanks to its brilliant relentless obsessive founder Bill Warner. Now in its 25th year, the 2020 edition will be hard to beat.
Corvette fans and aficionados basked in Corvette heritage everywhere.
On Saturday the mid-engine # 4 C8.R (en route to the now postponed Sebring race) and a red C8 convertible were decked out adjoining the largest enclosure erected on the show field.
The idea for the Corvette took shape from the 1951 LeSabre concept car created by stylist Harley Earl following a visit to road racing at Watkins Glen.
Sunday featured Grand Sport Corvette 004 raced by Penske and Jim Hall courtesy of the Collier Museum in Naples FL.
And mid-engine designs 1964 GSII b, XP 819 and CERVII Corvettes courtesy of the Chaparral Museum, the National Corvette Museum and the GM Heritage Center.
Hall of Famers stylist Randy Wittine, Werner Meier and engineer Gib Hufstader played significant roles in Corvette heritage.