When one spends $1.25 million on a vintage Corvette that has won Top Flight, Bloomington Gold and most recently the Triple Diamond award, the last thing any sane person would do is turn it into a race car and take it to the race track. But that’s exactly what Pro Team Corvette president Terry Michaelis and collector Chuck Ungurean have planned to do with the Corvette they purchased last August at Mecum’s Monterey auction. And who better to drive the race-prepped Hanley Dawson Chevrolet Corvette in vintage ’67 livery than the original driver and Corvette Hall of Famer Tony DeLorenzo.
Pro Team Corvette and CMP Fabrication are returning the L88 Corvette to its race livery look when DeLorenzo raced the car at the SCCA’s National Championships at Daytona in November 1967. Plans are to enter the Corvette in several vintage racing events and shows around the Midwest.
The L88 Corvette Convertible was delivered new to Hanley Dawson Chevrolet in early 1967. Black with Black interior and a red stinger hood, it was the first of just 20 RPO L88 Corvettes built. The Corvette was prepped throughout the spring of ’67 and in May, Tony wins A-Production Class in an SCCA National race at the car’s first outing at Wilmot Hills, WI.
That summer, DeLorenzo runs the L88 Corvette in races at Road America, Watkins Glen, Nelson Ledges, Grattan and Blackhawk Farms. At Waterford Hills, Tony wins the Detroit News Trophy in an SCCA National Race. To close out the year, Tony races in the SCCA ARRC (American Road Race of Champions) at Daytona International Speedway and finished 2nd in A-Production.
When Michaelis called DeLorenzo and told him he had purchased the Hanley Dawson Corvette, all Tony could say was “wow!”. But a plan was hatched to reunite car with driver and the tentative schedule is to have DeLorenzo and the L88 racing in vintage events at Waterford Hills July 29-31, Elkhart Lake for the Corvette World Tribute on August 19-21 and back again to Road America on September 9-11.
“Corvettes that were race cars should be restored to that condition, adding to the Corvette legend and brand identification.” said Pro Team’s Michaelis. “I just knew that the value of this car was ‘as raced’ and not as-delivered by GM to Hanley Dawson Chevrolet as ‘a production car.’ Besides that, the collector community is tiring of static show-only cars and loves the excitement and dynamics of the Group 6 large bore vintage racers, especially when at speed on the back stretch. The car just had to come home to the Midwest which is Tony D.’s backyard and convenient to the future scheme of things.”
Pro Team will be rolling out the race car once the restoration project is completed in early May. Detailed plans are expected to come around that time.
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