His parents wanted him to become a lawyer, but Dick Guldstrand listened to his heart instead and became one of the most successful Corvette racers of all time.
Now in a Youtube video posted recently, Car Museum 2010 interviews Guldstrand at the Legends of Riverside in March 2010 about another side of the racing legend.
Guldstrand won three consecutive SCCA Pacific Coast Championships from 1963 to 1965, including the Southern Pacific A/P Championship in 1964, the same year he was named the California Sports Car Club Driver of the Year. In 1967 he raced at Le Mans and set a track record in the GT class while leading the race for 13 hours.
His legend in the Corvette world has continued to grow since, thanks to accomplishments through the ensuing years, but he recently commented on an aspect of his life not everyone might know about: Hollywood.
“Obviously here in Southern California, you’re either a hot-rodder, or a candy-ass,” Guldstrand said of his high school days. “I was enthralled with what was going on in the community at the time, so what you have to do is start working on cars if you’re not a jock.”
Indeed, it was that interest in cars through which Guldstrand made his first contact with the movie business in 1947 in “The Big Wheel” with Mickey Rooney. He and a few of his friends drove their cars as extras during filming at the Culver City Speedway.
He also helped with the staging and technical angles of 1967’s “Grand Prix.” During that movie, he became friends with Jim Garner, and the two of them went on to start American International Racing – campaigning three new Corvettes in a racing series.
Guldstrand even worked with the King – Elvis Presley – on three flicks, “Viva Las Vegas,” “Speedway,” and “Spinout.”
Elvis was “a prince,” Guldstrand says. “He was like a kid that was out of place…He was just a guy having a real good time.”
With his multi-faceted success in racing, business, and the movies, you might say the same thing about Guldstrand.
As he points out, “If you were a part of the Southern California community, and you were into racing, there’s no way you could keep out of the movies.”