Friday, January 13, 2017

Penske's Grand Sport Roadster Vette at Sebring, 1966

Only two Corvette Grand Sport Roadsters were built and Roger Penske bought both of them.

Chassis 001 was picked up from the GM factory and prepared for the 1966 Sebring 12 Hour event. Prepared by Traco and upgraded with a 427 ci "Daytona Mystery Motor" topped by a single Holley carb.

To minimize time spent in the pits an air jack/oil/water system was added to the Penske Roadster. A set of three valves on the right fender allows compressed air, oil and water to be delivered quickly and easily. If not driven carefully, the Penske Roadster could actually pick its front tires up off the ground during acceleration, so a large front spoiler was added to combat lift under acceleration and at speed.

Driven by a couple of Dicks, Guldstrand and Thompson, it made its racing debut racing against Ford GT40s, Ferraris, Chaparrals and Porsches. The competition was two years more advanced, but nothing could keep up with the Grand Sport in a straight line. A.J. Foyt, driving a GT40 Mk II at Sebring that year, was heard to say: "What's in that damn dinosaur? It went by me like I was stopped!"


  1. Hey Jesse...I had a '66 Vette with a mystery motor...I was told it was an L-88...I didn't know much back in 1972 when I bought it....Except it was one fast MF...I got it up to 138 mph when my friend's hands were almost breaking the grab bar on his side..His ride was an MG Midget....
    Do you want any old pictures of your reader's rides?
    If so I'll try to find them. I also have some from Seattle Intl. Raceways in 1969...Some poor guy had just bought a '69 Firebird and flipped it on the track...I'm sure his insurance didn't cover drag racing....
    Maybe he said a deer jumped out in front of him?
    Your blog is one of the best I've found...
    Keep-on keeping on..

    1. last things first, thanks! It's wonderful to know another like minded car guy has found my content, and likes it!
      A 66 Vette... ooooh, drool, slobber... 138? Shit. That is getting right up to scary fast if you're not on a really really big safe place to run. Fastest I've ever been is about 125 when my 1969 Super Bee busted the trans tailshaft housing because of crappy old u joints.
      MG Midget owner getting a hell of a ride, HA! Scare the bugger!
      As for readers rides, hey, just like anything else, if it's cool with wheels, I am all for it. Flipped the bird? (smirk) and in a comment on the post where I snuck in a couple of dicks... damn, either I'm reverting to 2nd grade smut jokes, or I'm getting really clever with humor

  2. Upriver David, When I read this I was surprised to see the someone else had driven 138 miles an hour in a Corvette. I did in a 1959 Corvette. Everyone always wondered why it would go so fast and I think it was because I bought it from Don Yenko. I think he might have reworked the lots of fond memories. My name is David also.