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VIN 194678S405120






   
Car Year: 1968
Car's confirmed production date:
(as confirmed by the
NCRS Shipping Report Service)
,
 
Owner: Dave Herlinger
Country: United States
 
Purchase date: 07/01/1985
Status: Current Owner
 
State: Race Car
 
Exterior: 976 LeMans Blue (16.53%)
Interior: Other Color
Softtop: Other Color
Wheels: Other Color
 
Delivery Dealer Zone: Unknown
Delivery Dealer Code: Unknown
 
Options: RPO Option Percentage
Sold [%]
Sales Price
[$]
  19467 Base Corvette Convertible (BB 430hp) 65.22% 4,320.00
  L88 427ci, 430hp Engine 0.28% 947.90
  Total   0.0302%
(9 Cars)
5,267.90
 
Factory job nr.: Unknown
Export Car: Non Export Car
 
Car history:
Race Numbers: # 45 (AIR)
Ownership: James Garner (AIR); Gary Neuer; Lynn Butler; Steve Anderson; Bob Ryan; Dwight Bowden; Dave Herlinger.
Sponsors: Goodyear, American International Racing (AIR)
Drivers: Herb Caplan; Scooter Patrick; Dave Jordan; Gary Neuer; Lynn Butler; Steve Anderson; Bob Ryan; Dwight Bowden.
Status: unrestored
Original Color: LeMans Blue (AIR)
Tires/Wheels:
Engine: Three factory-built L-88 cars left the St. Louis plant for delivery to James Garner's American International Racing (AIR) team in November of 1967. These three LeMans Blue Sting Ray convertibles were pre-production, or COPO, models featuring the new L-88 engine (with first generation open-chamber heads) which would not be available to the public until April 22 of 1968. These three cars were part of GM's field test program, whereby specially prepared cars were provided to very special customers for real-world testing.
Condition: un-restored
URL: See Bob Radke's web site at: www.airl88.com
Unique Characteristics: These three L-88's (# 45 VIN 194678S405120, # 44 VIN 194678S405175, and promotional car VIN #194678S405186) were ordered with Bob Wingate's help through Gledhill Chevrolet in Harbor City (CA) in Herb Caplan's name. Caplan, a well-known west coast SCCA National Champion, had been approached to provide interim financing until the sponsorship deal with Goodyear was formalized. The original members of the AIR team invited James Garner, the movie star, to join the team and thereby obtained the prestige required to close a sponsorship deal with Goodyear. The cars were all prepared at GULDSTRAND ENGINEERING for Daytona; five engines were prepped by TRACO. One of the three cars was intended to be used as a promotional car and was eventually taken to Daytona as a parts car (but never cannibalized). In fact, this car was titled in the state of California. The other two cars were race-prepped for endurance racing. The # 45 car was first road tested by Bondurant at Riverside (Corvette News, Vol 11, No 4). The two L-88 powered Corvettes (#44 and #45) raced only a single race under AIR, the 24 Hours of Daytona in February of 1968. The two cars were driven by Dick Guldstrand, Ed Leslie and Herb Caplan (#44) and Scooter Patrick and Dave Jordan (#45). Jordan had been picked at the eleventh hour as a result of Bondurant's injury at Watkin's Glen where he was sevearly injured. The two cars out-qualified all other FIA competition in their class, and as a result both team cars occupied the front row positions at the start of the race. Car # 45 did not finish the race (blown head gasket) but #44 did finish in 29th position, after considerable trouble with the rear differential. The cars returned to Culver City, and were rebuilt in anticipation of Sebring. However, the cars were never to see another race under AIR. Sebring was run with the Lola T70 Mk II coupes.
Notes/Race History: Of the three L-88 powered Corvettes, only #44 and #45 raced at Daytona in 1968. And this was the only race these cars would run under the AIR banner. After the Daytona race, the cars returned to AIR Headquarters, in Culver City, and were rebuilt in anticipation of Sebring. However, the team had already decided to switch to Lolas for the balance of the season. The Corvettes never made it to Sebring(Corvette News, Vol 11 No 5). Sebring was run with Lola T70 Mk II coupes. Gary Neuer from So. Cal had purchased #45 and set out to run SCCA Regional Cal Club racing. Neuer ran in the A/P category, also still in the LeMans Blue. Gary only ran the car for one year before selling it to Lynn Butler, from Salt Lake City. Lynn Butler painted the car black, but left the AIR emblem on the hood. Butler only ran the car in 1972 but did win the Southern Pacific Division National A/P category. In 1977 Steve Andersen bought the car and ran six events. This was enough to get him to the SCCA National Run-Offs at Road Atlanta, where he also ran against Bob Ryan in what had been the promotional car. Anderson raced the car through 1978. At the Portland event he blew the Traco motor and, ironically, Bob Ryan wrecked the "promotional" car in the same race. After Portland, Ryan parked the promotional car and purchased the #45 from Anderson. At the next race, in Riverside, the car had an oil fire from a burst dry sump line. It spun and the fuel cell ruptured. He actually won the race since the event was red flagged and he had been leading at the time. The car was rebuilt and painted blue and black (#32) for the 1978 runoffs at Road Atlanta. He finished third behind Elliot Forbes-Robinson, who was driving the 1969 ex-Herb Caplan L-88 for Phyllis Stiles. The #45 car was sold to Dwight Bowden, an Alaska resident, after the 1978 season. It had been the last year of big blocks for SCCA so the car would have otherwise had to have been converted to a new formula. Bowden, however, wanted the car to run in an annual race in the streets of Anchorage, the FUR RENDEZVOUS GRAND PRIX. In preparation for this (somewhat) famous ice race, Bowden ran three Trans-Am events, as a novice, in 1979. The car ran the Fur Rendezvous for five years between 1981 and 85, placing first every year except 1983 when he crashed. From here the car ultimately came back to Dave Herlinger, Jim Herlinger's brother who is restoring the car back to AIR 1968 livery and plans to vintage race it. February 27, 2009.
 
For Sale: No

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