Corvette Survivors  (2)

More immortals from the "Glory days" of California Corvette racing.

Paul Reinhart in his 1963 Corvette chases Tom Armstrong driving Grand Sport #003.   Although Paul wasn't able to pass the Grand Sport, he drove this particular race like a man on a mission.  Tom Armstrong was never able to put any more distance between the two cars than what you see here.  Photo taken at Sears Point (Turn 11).
Jerry Austin raced this 1957 Corvette in 1957.

He sold it to Bob Bondurant who scored overall wins in 18 of 20 races with the car in 1959. (This is the only Corvette Bob Bondurant ever owned outright.)

After Bondurant, the car was owned by a Dr. Eddinger, Bart Martin,  Mick Swezey, and one other owner whose name is unknown.  This photo is of Mick Swezey rounding turn 11 at Sears Point.

Ron Cummings remembers Jerry Austin and the '57 Corvette.

"In 1957 my friend, and now racecar collector, Charles 'Barry' Williams, lived next to Bill Thomas in Arcadia, Ca.. Thomas was a service manager at C. S. Mead Chevrolet in Pasadena, Ca.. Bill briefly road raced his white 1956 Corvette. Mr. Thomas became friendly with us kids, when he learned about our interest in Sport Car racing.

Sometime in June of 1957 Barry called telling me to come over and look at the strange red Corvette sitting in the Thomas driveway. He said " I have never seen a Corvette like it!". I took a snapshot of the car, which I still have. It was the first full RPO Corvette delivered to the west coast. It had special springs, shocks, and brakes that did not come on previous Corvettes, that we had seen. This, along with the brand new four-speed transmission and fuel injection motor, stunned us.

While we were looking at the car, Jerry Austin drove up in his Ford F150 towing his beautiful 'D' Type Jaguar. Jerry had been practicing at the yet to open Riverside Raceway. Austin went into the Thomas home. When he came out he was the new Mead race driver. Jerry asked to have the steering column shortened before the first race, to be held a week later at Pomona. Austin won the big production race on Saturday but lost control of the car late in the Sunday feature giving the win to Ron Ellico and his 300SL Benz.

Thomas then blueprinted the motor and installed a new camshaft, ground by Kenny Harmon, to supply more low-end torque than the Duntov unit. The car became almost unbeatable with Austin driving. Bob Bondurant later purchased the red Corvette and really made history with it." 

Next:  Corvette Reunion

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