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"A Fatherís Corvette Dream Fulfilled"

By the time you read this the Historic 87th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Race on June 12-13, 2010 will have already been completed and another winner will have their name recorded in the Le Mans racing history book!
 

What you may not realize is that this yearís Le Mans race represents 50 years since the first Briggs Cunningham 1960 Corvette #3 ran this coveted course at Le Mans and WON!

You see, in 1960 Briggs Cunningham fielded a trio of Corvettes at Le Mans as purely privateers. Factory involvement was not allowed since 1957, but amazingly enough, Zora Duntov was in town for the Le Mans race! This #3 Cunningham Corvette driven by John Fitch and Bob Grossman won first in their class and 8th overall which was a great tribute to Americaís sports car and also to the American automobile industry. This effort showed the world that the American sports car had arrived and they could now compete with the European sports cars on their own track. Ironically enough this was the first Corvette to ever win first in class at Le Mans and held its title for over 40 years!

Now 50 years later the same #3 Corvette owned by the Miller family of Carlisle, PA, was shipped back to the place of its greatest victory, Le Mans, France, impeccably restored by Corvette Repair, Inc., of Valley Stream, NY, to its full race trim as it looked and ran during the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans.

John Fitch tells Lance Miller about #3ís Glory Day at Le Mans!
Photos Courtesy of Lance Miller

Big doings will have taken place at Le Mans with the arrival of the #3 Corvette. It will first be on display at the legendary Le Mans Museum for all to see. Friday afternoon it will be center stage as a participant of the Grande Parade Des Pilotes where half a million race enthusiasts will be able to catch a glimpse of this historical Corvette as it drives through the streets of Le Mans. On Saturday morning, June 12th, it will once again be driven by John Fitch, the very man who drove it 50 years before, around the famous Le Mans circuit with over 50 Corvettes following. I donít know about you, but for a Corvette guy like me, this incredibly emotional moment will sum up a dream that Chip Miller always had after he located and restored this piece of Corvette Racing history for all of us to enjoy!

All of this happened because of a dream a father had and the dedication of a son to fulfill his fatherís dream. Chip Miller (co-founder of Corvettes at Carlisle) bought and fully restored the famous Cunningham Corvette #3 in October 2000. It was his dream to bring it back to Le Mans in 2010 for the 50th anniversary of its historic victory. Unfortunately, he was not able to see his dream realized as Chip passed away in March 2004 from a little known disease amyloidosis. Chipís son, Lance, picked up the torch of his fatherís dream and brought it to fruition. Chip and Lance had a great bond as father and son, but also as best friends. And itís a tribute to Lanceís father that the Cunningham Corvette #3 is in Le Mans. Because of Lanceís tenacity in fulfilling his fatherís dream, he overcame all the obstacles thrown at him and has now achieved his dream for him and his father Chip. Lance and his family started the Chip Miller Charitable Foundation where all proceeds go to help raise awareness and hopefully a cure for amyloidosis. If you would like to learn more, please visit http://www.chipmiller.org/ .

 

Chip Miller standing by his prized possession!
 
Photos Courtesy of Lance Miller 

I have known Lance a long time and I could have told you without a doubt after his fatherís passing that this is one dream that was going to be fulfilled. Lance is a dedicated young man and his love for his fatherís memory is all the driving force he needed to make this happen!

Members, I know you recognize that Lance is one of the owners of Carlisle Events which puts on premiere shows all summer long, including my personal favorite Corvettes at Carlisle. Lance and his family are keeping the Corvette dream alive for all of us, and more importantly, for all our children. So if you are planning on attending a Corvette show this summer, may I strongly suggest Corvettes at Carlisle, August 27-29, 2010, because Iím sure there will be tons of stories being told about the Briggs Cunningham Corvette #3 return to Le Mans. Trust me, you will want to be there to hear those stories firsthand!

Members, for more detailed information on the return of the 1960 Corvette #3 to Le Mans, please visit our C6 Registry Hot News:
www.c6registry.com/Hot_News/index.htm and read the May 5, 2010 posting.

 

While Iím on the subject of Dream Corvettes, have you heard about the one-of-a-kind (VIN 0001) 50th Anniversary 2011 Special Edition Carbon Z06? This one-of production beauty was built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1960 Corvette #3 making its first appearance at Le Mans. This Special Edition Corvette Z06 includes the Z07 performance brake and wheel package, along with the CFZ Black Carbon Fiber Package similar to the ZR1. You wonít be able to miss this White with Blue Stripe paint scheme that the 1960 Corvette #3 also donned.  Yes, itís true, you, can purchase this piece of history for a mere $85,000 price tagÖ.along with a three hundred thousand dollar donation to the National Corvette Museum! Oh, did I mention it will be shown for the first time with its older brother (1960 Cunningham Corvette #3) during Corvettes at Carlisle?!

Summer has been in full swing since late April here in Florida and I have enjoyed driving my Machine Silver Z51 Coupe everywhere! I hope the weather has warmed up in your area and you too have been out enjoying these endless summer days in your Corvette!

Iíll be at Corvettes at Carlisle in August and I hope to see all of you there!


 

 

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