During the Mecum Indy 2023 Auction, the 1960 Camoradi Corvette Le Mans Racer crossed the auction blog and Bid to $1,100,000 but did not sell. Read on to learn its Rich Racing History!
We are looking at a very important historical Corvette, the 1960 Camoradi Corvette Le Mans Racer. We have looked at this Corvette race car before, but it is well worth looking at again because it recently crossed the auction block at the Mecum Spring Classic at the Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center, 1202 E 38th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana, that ran May 12 through the 20, 2023.
We have two articles that feature the 1960 Camoradi Corvette Le Mans Racer that appeared in Vette Vues Magazine. The first article that it was featured in was in part 2 of the Bloomington Gold Special Collection in 2022. The second article was an exclusive feature by Kevin Mackay, owner of Corvette Repair, Inc., where he goes into its history and restoration. That article appeared in the May 2022 issue of Vette Vues Magazine. We have both articles for you to enjoy. Read on to learn more.
Below is the article in the November 2022 issue of Vette Vues Magazine:
1960 Corvette Camoradi Le Mans Racer
One of the first Corvettes to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans
Owned by: Dominic Testa, Miller Place, NY & Salvatore Caliguri, Jamesport NY
- This 1960 Camoradi Le Mans Corvette #4 is the only straight-axle Corvette to have finished both the Sebring 12-Hour and the Le Mans 24-Hour races.
- The Corvette also competed in the Nürburgring 1000 KM, with Jim Jeffords driving, and won the GT Class at the Havana Grand Prix.
- The Camoradi Corvette finished second in Class in the 1960 12 Hours of Sebring, with Fred Gamble driving the entire race.
- After completing the Le Mans 24 Hour race, Fred Gamble and Bob Wallace drove the Corvette to Sweden and, with Lucky Casner driving the Camoradi #4 car, won its Class at the Swedish Grand Prix.
- Fred Gamble went on to set a Swedish GT speed record.
- Sadly, after a lunch stop in southern Sweden, Bob Wallace apparently dozed off, flipped, and seriously damaged the Corvette while en route to the Goodwood Trophy Race in England.
- After many years of searching, American Corvette collector Loren Lundberg was able to locate the car, still in Sweden, and bring it back to the United States for restoration.
Featured in the May 2022 issue of Vette Vues Magazine
The 1960 Camoradi Corvette. The Other 1960 Le Mans 24-Hour Gruesome Course Finisher
Entering Corvettes in the 24 Hours at Le Mans in 1960 was a major historical mark for the Corvette brand. The Camoradi name stood for Casner Motor Racing Division, started by the late Lloyd “Lucky” Casner. Upon starting, Casner needed cars. Being an “American team,” in mid-1959, Casner approached Zora Arkus-Duntov. He knew his Corvettes had competitive power and innate reliability and believed they could succeed in international racing. Already planning to back Briggs Cunningham with a 3-car Corvette team at Le Mans, Duntov listened to the persuasive Casner promise a full season of international racing for the “Camoradi USA Racing Team Corvettes” and arranged for Camoradi to get two GM-developed 1960 Corvettes. One of them would be the car shown here. Of the four Corvettes entered, only two finished, with the #3 Cunningham Corvette winning its class and placing 8th overall and the other #4 Camoradi finishing a questionable 10th. For the Le Mans 24 hour race, the 1960 Camoradi Corvette was delivered through Miami’s Don Allen Chevrolet in white with blue trim, hard top only, equipped with the fuel injected 283CI/290HP motor and heavy-duty metallic brakes with rear brake scoops, heavy-duty front and rear springs, quick steering, four-speed transmission, 15 x 5 1/2” wheels, tem-perature-controlled fan, 37-gallon fuel tank (one of only ten 1960 Corvettes with this racing option), front air scoops, Marchal lights installed for Le Mans, Koni shocks and positraction.
The history begins with Fred Gamble. He was the Camoradi publicist and one of the Corvette race car drivers. Gamble teamed up with racing promoter and car dealer Lloyd “Lucky” Casner to form Camoradi USA. Camoradi’s goal was to be a national, industry-supported American racing organization capable of challenging Europe’s top road racing teams. Goodyear Tire also came on board and partnered with Camoradi.
Chevrolet was very enthusiastic about sponsoring an American team on an international European circuit and offered their support with two competition-optioned Corvettes plus parts, technical support, and a generous financial contribution. Casner even met Chevrolet CEO Ed Cole, as well as Zora Duntov, the master architect behind Chevy’s Corvette program.
For the 1960 season, Camoradi would field Chevy Corvettes, Tipo 61 “Birdcage” Maserati’s, and Porsche’s in international events. Gamble was Piloting one of the Corvettes with co-driver Lee Lilley. The Camoradi USA Racing Team Corvette was driven from Camoradi’s base in Modena to Le Mans where Gamble and Lilley steadily climbed through the field in the number 4 Corvette to finish in tenth place overall.
Due to a rule in the Index of Performance of the Le Man’s rule book, the Corvette was not classified as a finisher despite having covered 2,307.7 miles, only 42.4 miles (5 laps) less than the 8th place #3 Cunningham Corvette of Fitch and Grossman, because it failed to complete a minimum calculated distance. Having used only one set of Goodyear Sports Car Specials in the race, the team changed back to street tires and drove the Corvette back to Modena! Following Le Mans, Lucky Casner took the Corvette to Sweden for the Swedish sports car Grand Prix at Karlskoga, finishing fourth in the GT category. This historic Camoradi USA Racing Team 1960 Corvette is accompanied by copies of the 1960 Le Mans entry and technical inspection paperwork documenting its participation, chassis number, and equipment as well as internal Chevrolet memorandum and production orders for some of its more special options such as the limited-availability 37-gallon tank. Period footage of the Camoradi Corvette appears in MGM’s classic racing movie The Green Helmet. It received the NCRS American Heritage Award for “the preservation of a historically significant piece of Corvette History” at the NCRS National Convention in Galveston.
The only straight axle Corvette to have finished the Sebring 12 Hours and 24 Hours of Le Mans races, also the Nurburgring 1000 KM race, and won the GT class at the Havana GP. The Corvette was entered in the Tourist Trophy in Sweden, but after the race, it was damaged in a road accident on the way to England. After the accident, the engine and transmission were taken to Italy. The Corvette itself remained in Sweden, where it was rebuilt for road use, passing through several owners until it was found by American Loren Lundberg, who purchased it from the last Swedish owner. Loren has since passed on.
The sad ending to Gamble’s Camoradi’s Le Mans story was to find out years later, they had been excluded from being officially acknowledged as 10th place due to insufficient miles covered under the index of performance rules. Even though at the race awards event, the #4 Corvette was announced as 10th overall position and awarded their participants medals.
Today, the new owners are Dominic Testa and Sal Caliguri, and the car is residing at Corvette Repair, Inc. for a total restoration back to its 1960 competition specifications.
Kevin Mackay is the owner of Corvette Repair, Inc. He is proud of his gear-driven team and says, “You are only as good as your team.” We now have over 36 years of award-winning work, with over 1600 awards to date, and we are respected worldwide. For more info, please visit their website: CorvetteRepair.com
Here is the listing from the Mecum auction:
Camoradi USA Race Team | 1960 Chevrolet Corvette Race Car LeMans Car #4 | Chassis No. 00867S102272
Havana GT Race 1st Place Winner/ Jim Jeffords driver
Havana Grand Prix 1st GT 8th Overall/ Jim Jeffords, driver
12 Hours of Sebring 2nd Place GT 6th Overall Fred Gamble/ Lee Lilley drivers
Nürburgring Fred Gamble/ Lee Lilley drivers
Modena GT Fred Gamble/ Lee Lilley drivers
LeMans 2nd Place GT 10th Overall Fred Gamble/ Lee Lilley drivers
Sweden Grand Prix GT 1st Place Winner Fred Gamble/ Lloyd Casner drivers
- Factory Prepared Special Race V-8 (Zora Arkus-Duntov spec)
- 283/290 HP
- Rochester Mechanical Fuel Injection
- 4 Speed Manual Transmission
- Koni Special Race Tubular Shock Absorbers
- Vented Hydraulic Drum Brakes
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