Last month, one of the lingering automotive mysteries surrounding Corvette’s first campaign at the 24 Hours of Le Mans was solved. Of course we’re talking about the finding of the Briggs Cunningham 1960 #1 Le Mans Corvette racer which has been lost for 50 years. On Thursday evening with a crowd of Corvette illuminaries and enthusiasts, the former race car was revealed.
The unveiling took place at Lance Miller’s boyhood home, which borders the Carlisle fairgrounds. Lance was joined with Corvette restorer Kevin Mackay, Briggs Cunningham historian Lawrence Berman and Rick Carr, whose family owned the #1 Le Mans race car.
Lance took to the microphone and after introducing those with him, preceeded to tell the story how he received a phone call while at Bloomington Gold saying the #1 Briggs Cunningham may have been found. Lance talked about he and the car’s owner Rick Carr got to know each other which culminated in the Lance’s purchase of the car.
Kevin Mackay, the restoration specialist who returned the #3 Briggs Cunningham Corvette to its former Le Mans racing glory, flew down to St. Petersburg, FL to inspect the car and immediately found several characterists that led him to confirm the Corvette’s authenticity.
The major factor that allowed the Corvette to be found was the VIN. Lance’s father Chip Miller had discovered the VIN’s of all three Briggs Cunningham Corvettes on an official Le Mans document and was using them in his Quest to find the #3 Corvette. Lawrence Berman, who runs the Briggs Cunningham website told the story of how he honored Chip’s wish to keep the VIN a secret until he passed away from Amyloidosis in 2004. It was then that Berman published the VIN on his website, where it went unnoticed for eight years.
Rick Carr talked about his father, whom he called the original “American Picker” and how the Corvette was found in a salvage yard in Brooskville, Florida in the 1970s. Following his father’s death last year, Rick’s brother was going through the St. Petersburg warehouse and pulled the VIN from the former drag racer. When a google search result showed that it was one of the 3 Briggs Cunnigham cars, they sent a message to Lawrence Berman who then called Lance Miller with the news that the #1 Corvette had been found.
But this story isn’t yet complete. Lance surprised the crowd by saying that he owned the former racer for approximately two days before selling the Corvette to an unnamed party who wished to remain anonymous. Kevin Mackay’s Corvette Repair shop in New York will be doing the restoration and hopefully we’ll see another unveiling of the Corvette in the near future.
Here’s our gallery of photos from the reveal of the #1 Briggs Cunnigham Le Mans Corvette Racer: