1960 Chevrolet Corvette (C1)
Pilots: B. Kimberly, B. Cunningham
Team: B. S. Cunningham
Race: DNF (GT 5.0 class) at Le Mans in 1960
Spark - S1537 (resin)
The Corvette C1 (at the time just Corvette) is the first generation of the Vette, produced from 1953 to 1962. With the success of the Nash-Healey Sports Coupé of 1951, General Motors’ designer Harley Earl convinced upper management that GM should have a moderately priced two-seat sports car, and the work on the new project began in late 1951. To keep costs down, off-the-shelf mechanical components, chassis and suspension design came from Chevrolet’s current passenger vehicles, and also one of the C1’s distinctions, it had a solid rear axle. The engine was (what else?) a big 4640 cm³ V8 that produced over 310 hp.
The B. S. Cunningham team had a fleet of four cars in the 1960 24 Heures du Mans. They had three C1 as well as a Jaguar (an E2A, to be more precise). Though it wasn’t a factory team, they had full GM support for the Vettes. In addition, General Motors also supported the Camoradi USA RT team’s sole C1 #4. C1 #1 here (chassis #00867S103535) was doing well until late in Saturday afternoon, when a deluge started. On lap 38, around White House, Bill Kimberly lost control of the car and it flipped, catching on fire right after. In spite of the nasty accident, fortunately the pilot survived with minor injuries.
That year was the first year Corvettes were fielded at La Sarthe, and though three of them abandoned the race, the B. S. Cunningham’s #3 managed to come first in class. So even though not the class winner, the C1 #1 fantastic model by Spark nonetheless. If I were to be pedantic I would complain by the slightly thick window trim, but I am not, and any normal collector would say it’s ok. I, however, say the model is awesome!