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No. 1 Briggs Cunningham 1960 Le Mans Corvette Racer Found

by Keith Cornett on August 1, 2012

No. 1 Briggs Cunningham 1960 Le Mans Corvette Racer Found

If you’ve had the opportunity to watch The Quest, the documentary about the 3-car team of 1960 Corvettes fielded by Briggs Cunningham in the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans and the search for those three cars years later by collectors, you would know that the No. 1 Corvette had been lost and its current whereabouts were unknown.

Until now.

Lance Miller, co-owner of Carlisle Events and owner of the Briggs Cunningham No.3 1960 Corvette, made the shocking announcement on Facebook yesterday stating that the #1 Le Mans Corvette Racer had finally been discovered and would be displayed in its current “Barn-Find” condition at Corvettes at Carlisle later this month.

CorvetteBlogger spoke exclusively with the new owner of the No. 1 Corvette yesterday who likened the discovery to that of a parent finding a long-lost child. The new owner, who currently wishes to remain anonymous, had planned to make the announcement at Corvettes at Carlisle, but news of the “barn find” hit the internets yesterday which prompted Miller’s facebook announcement.

Larry Berman of the Briggs Cunningham website told Autoweek that the Corvette was found in a warehouse on the west-central coast of Florida where it had been sitting there since the mid-70s. The previous owner had rescued the Corvette from a scrap yard in Brooksville, Florida before putting the car into storage. He passed away a few years later and ownership of the warehouse and its contents went to his son.

At this time, we do not know if the father or son knew of the Corvette’s racing history and its significance as one of the first Corvettes to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Four 1960 Corvettes were entered in the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans. Three of the cars were part of the Briggs Cunningham team (sporting the numbers 1, 2, 3) and the No. 4 Corvette was entered by Camoradi USA. This was the first Le Mans race for Corvettes and the outcome would become part of the lore of Corvettes that is still celebrated today.

The No. 1 Corvette was driven in the 24 hour race by Briggs Cunningham and Bill Kimberley. During just the second hour of racing, Kimberley skidded off-course during a light rain shower and rolled the Corvette. The accident sparked a fire in the engine compartment and the car was retired from the race. The No.2 Corvette with Dr. Dick Thompson and Freddie Windridge also failed to finish the race and was retired with just 4 hours remaining. The No. 3 Corvette with John Fitch and Bob Grossman finished the 24 Hour race first in its class and eighth overall.

Following the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Corvettes were shipped back to the United States where they were converted back to their original street configurations and sold.

We’ll have more on this historic barn-find later when we attend Corvettes at Carlisle later this month.


Sources:
Autoweek
Sports Car Digest
BriggsCunningham.com

Related:
The Quest Documentary is Now Available on DVD
[VIDEO] 1960 #3 Le Mans Corvette Historic Return Documentary Trailer
[VIDEO] Rare 1960 GM Film Documents Corvette’s First Visit to Le Mans

 

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