In 1970, Cliff Gottlob and Jack Blatchford drove a 1967 Corvette to Daytona Beach, Fla., where Gottlob and David Dooley teamed up to drive the L88-powered ‘Vette to second place in a 24-hour endurance test.
Now, 43 years later, Blatchford drove the same car onto the lawn of the 18th fairway at the prestigious Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
He and Gottlob were invited to the California event in August where they became instant celebrities with the Corvette racer, along with current owners David Burroughs, former CEO of the Bloomington Gold Corvette show, and Dana Mecum of Mecum Auctions.
“We all kept busy signing autographs,” Blatchford said.
He remembers well how Gottlob “worked many hours” to get the Corvette ready for the January 1970 race at Daytona.
Then after all that work, the car wouldn’t fit on the trailer they had to carry it to Florida, so Gottlob added mufflers to the Sting Ray and drove it 1,626 miles from Arkansas City, Kan., to Daytona.
“It was unsponsored and not expected to last 24 hours and get back to Ark City, but it did,” said Blatchford, talking during the 38th annual Last Run car show in Arkansas City last weekend where he was showing his own red Chevy classic pickup.
Mike Ardito of TriPower Automotive in Libertyville, Ill., restored the Corvette to its original post-race condition, which meant it wasn’t in immaculate condition like the other cars at Pebble Beach.
“Unlike the other entries that were polished to and shined to perfection, this could be considered the ugly duckling,” Blatchford said.
Each year, for more than 60 years, the Concours d’Elegance features a select group of the world’s highest-ranked collector cars, putting this Sting Ray racer in pretty prestigious company.
“The one that stood out and surprised a lot of people was the original Cliff Gottlob-owned L88, 427 c.i. (cubic inch) Chevrolet Corvette,” Blatchford said.
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