From its introduction in late 1953 and its first documented racing entry at Mexico's deadly Carrera Panamericana in 1954, the Chevrolet Corvette matured into a high-performance sports car, and a competitive and fierce racing contender by the late 1950s. It dominating SCCA B-Production road racing competition and captured the GT 5.0 class victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1960. The three-car team was entered by American sportsman and racer Briggs Cunningham. Two examples retired early, but the car driven by John Fitch and Bob Grossman finished first in class and 8th overall.
Much of the Corvette's success was rooted in the growing pipeline of race-bred options developed by Zora Arkus-Duntov and his engineers, despite the controversial 1957 AMA racing ban, which allowed buyers to buy a virtual track-ready Corvette from the dealer showroom. The Corvette continued to grow an arsenal of high-performance parts and racing technologies, and the small-block V-8 engine made quantum leaps in sophistication, reliability, and power output.
The Corvette's popularity received a further boost by its starring role in the popular Route 66 TV series, which debuted in September 1960 on CBS. The total Corvette sales for 1960 hit 10,261, marking the first time they exceeded five figures.
The Corvette was completely re-engineered and restyled in 1956 with nearly all the technology and parts being completely different from 1954. The 1956 Corvette was based upon electric motors, 12-volt electronics, and overhead valve V-8 engines instead of the previous vacuum technology, six-volt electrical system, and six-cylinder engine.
The 1960 Chevy Corvette retained the basic body design introduced for 1958 but simplified with reduced chrome and ornamentation. No fewer than five available small-block V8 engines were available, racing from 230 to 315 BHP, with transmission choices including T-10 four-speed manual and two-speed Powerglide automatic units. The handling prowess was sharpened with new anti-roll bars, and lightweight aluminum was now used for the radiator and clutch.
1960 was the last year of the nine-tooth chrome grille and the integrated tail lights. The 2-passenger Convertible had a factory base price of $3,870 and standard equipment included sun visors, dual exhaust, tachometer, electric clock, and outside rearview mirror. The overhead valve 283 cubic-inch V8 engine delivered 230 horsepower at 4800 RPM and came with a three-speed manual floor shift transmission as standard equipment. A four-speed manual was a $188 option and many (51.9 percent) were so equipped.
Exterior colors included silver, green, black, turquoise, blue, white, maroon, and red. The cove was either silver or white. The convertible tops could be ordered as black, blue, or white. by Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2020It was Briggs Cunningham, a wealthy sportsman racer, aspiring car manufacturer and defender of America's Cup, who fulfilled Zora Arkus-Duntov's dream of a Corvette competing at Le Mans. Cunningham fielded a trio of Corvettes at the French classic in 1960. Wearing the blue and white colors that traditionally identified American entries in international racing, the Team Cunningham Corvettes were driven by three pairs of racers: Cunningham and Bill Kimberly, Dick Thompson and Fred Windridge, and John Fitch and Bob Grossman. Duntov was listed as a reserve driver (he had previously posted a class victory at Le Mans in a Porsche), but Zora did not drive a Corvette in his beloved race.
When the 55 entries were lined up for the traditional Le Mans according to engine size, the three Cunningham Corvettes occupied the first three spots with their 283-cubic-inch fuel-injected small-block V-8s. A fourth Corvette entered by airline pilot Lucky Casner under the Camoradi USA banner and driven by Lou Lilley and Fred Gamble rounded out the Corvette quartet. Team Camoradi's sponsors were chiefly race fans who yearned to see an American entry in the French classic.
The Cunningham Corvettes were in near-stock trim, with larger gas tanks, quick-fill gas caps, Halibrand magnesium wheels, oil coolers, driving lights, racing seats and heavy-duty suspension components among their limited modifications - an expression of Duntov's philosophy of using racing to develop high-performance components for future production vehicles.
Kimberley crashed Corvette No. 1 during a heavy rainstorm at the three-hour mark; the car was destroyed, but the driver escaped injury. Corvette No. 2 lost time when Thompson had to dig it out of one of the numerous sandpits that lined the circuit, and then the overtaxed engine expired spectacularly in the 20th hour with Windridge at the wheel. Meanwhile, Fitch and Grossman continued to circle the immense course, running as high as seventh during a cold and rainy night of racing. In the waning hours of the race, the engine overheated and lost coolant but regulations prohibited the team from refilling the radiator. Yankee ingenuity triumphed when team manager Alfred Momo ordered the crew to pack the engine with ice from the team's catering tent. Driving at reduced speed, the ice-cooled Chevy small-block powered the Cunningham team to an eighth-place finish overall and first in the big-bore GT class - the best finish by a Corvette until the arrival of Corvette Racing's C5-Rs. The Fitch/Grossman Corvette averaged 97.92 mph and completed 280 laps. The Camoradi Corvette was running 10th at the finish with a 96.3-mph average, but did not complete sufficient distance to be classified as an official finisher.Source - GM
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1960 Chevrolet Corvette C1 Production Figures
1,653,168 total vehicles produced by Chevrolet in 1960 The 1960 Chevrolet Corvette C1 accounted for 0.6% of Chevrolet's 1,653,168 production.