Hotrod.com has a great story on its site about a true Corvette pioneer – none of that sissy trailer queen stuff for Eric Rickman.
He worked as a photographer for HOT ROD magazine from 1951 to 1992 and did a great job covering the hot rodding world back in those early days.
HOT ROD shared the story of Rickman’s beloved 1954 Corvette that definitely didn’t live a pampered life – but lived a full one before going out in a blaze of glory – literally. More on that later.
When Rickman bought the C1 Corvette, it was already a fixer-upper. He yanked out the original Blue Flame inline-six and popped an Olds Rocket with an aluminum intake and three two-barrel carburetors, which poked out through the hood after the Calahan Bros. Garage in L.A. made the swap.His photo of the engine even made the cover of the September 1957 Car Craft and the first HOT ROD Magazine Yearbook four years later.
What we like about Rickman’s Corvette was that he truly enjoyed driving it. When his friend, famous artist Von Dutch, painted the car dark metallic blue in 1958, Rickman didn’t hide it in a fancy garage.
o, the car sat out in front of his house, just above Sunset Boulevard, night and day when he wasn’t driving it. His son, Micheal, says he loved to drive the car without the top because he liked the way the wind felt – thus that top was never snapped on – even when it rained.
In fact, Micheal relates a humorous tale about a trip he and his dad took through the desert to Bonneville to watch the first runs of Mickey Thompson’s Challenger, when it started to rain. “Dad told me that the faster you ran, the drier you stayed,” he said. “At one point, we were flying through the desert at over 100 mph.”
Eventually, Rickman caught the karting bug, and the Corvette saw less and less use – eventually being sold to a young woman in 1961.
“One day she came back to the house and was a bit irate,” Micheal says. “The wiring under the dash had caught fire, and the car had burned to the ground. She accused my dad of installing faulty wiring resulting in the meltdown.”
Like we said, this was one Corvette that definitely led a hot life – right down to the end!