This inherent disadvantage made it difficult for the Greenwood Corvettes to put the power down effectively.
It’s a true joy to watch from beginning to end. Between 1975 and 1981, forty-three custom made street cars based on five distinct body styles were produced by Greenwood International. We'll send you the most interesting Street Muscle articles, news, car features, and videos every week.
Image: Hemmings, When Greenwood returned for the 1969 season after spending some time dialing in his suspension setup and engine tune, the results that year proved to be quite different. They’re liable to get their heads bitten off by this rare and dangerous creature. I had learned on Woodward Avenue that you don’t want to get left behind on the straight parts. With other domestic efforts bowing out of the IMSA series at the same time, the Greenwood team was left as the sole American entry to take on the Europeans, making the car’s star-spangled livery all the more fitting. While the production-based Corvette had been choked to within an inch of its life by 1976, the rules that constrained street car design did not apply to IMSA racers. After stints in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring, the team would take on Le Mans in 1972 and again in 1973. It was obvious that the car was a better platform.”, Though Greenwood had proven himself to be very competitive out on street and at local autocross events, his transition into officially-sanctioned road racing didn’t go as smoothly as one might have expected.
He would be among the first to shoehorn one of GM’s most potent power plants into it. They named it the widebody.
After a disappointing 1968 season, Greenwood went back into the garage and focused on setting up the car around his driving style. SEMA 2020: Tuning Your Late-Model Muscle With SCT, SEMA 2020: Turn One Introduces Type II Steering Pump, 2020 Product Showcase: Strange Engineering’s Stainless Steel, PRI 2019: FIC’s New 1440cc With USCAR Plug/Injector Size, PRI 2019: CP-Carrillo Debuts Two New Connecting Rod, Josh Stahl’s Reviva Renews A Resurgence Of LS Swap, HUNTERS: A New Film On Driver David Pintaric And The Trans Am, World War “V”: A History Of Cadillac’s V-Series, At Speed With The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray And The New, Vengeance Racing And Huron Speed Team Up For An Epic ZL1, Powerful Pontiacs: Chuck and Daniella Stefanski’s Boosted Trans, High-Performance Racing Fasteners: How ARP Fasteners Are, Schwartz Performance Talks G-Machine Chassis, Engine Pulleys — Old-School Tradition Meets New-School, The Answers: Isky’s Nolan Jamora Sounds Off On Cam & Valvetrain, Needle Bearings Versus Trunnion Bushings with the Chevy, Corvette Chronicles: The Corvette’s Introduction In, C8 Corvettes: Who Are They Building These Cars For, figures approaching half a million dollars in recent auctions, SEMA 2020: SCAT Offers LS S-Series Crankshafts, SEMA 2020: Tuning Your Late-Model Muscle With SCT Performance, SEMA 2020: Turn One Introduces Type II Steering Pump Upgrade, SEMA 2020: Chevrolet Performance Adds More LS Crate Engines, Video: Drifty C7 Grand Sport Passes Ferrari 488 Challenge At 140 MPH, FuelTech Tunes Twin-Turbo C8 Corvette With 750 Horsepower, Redline Motorsports Puts Corvette C8 ARH Headers To The Test. “I thought about it that winter and, because I am a car setup person, I kind of figured out what I had to do.
However, Greenwood’s introduction to wheel to wheel racing didn’t go as swimmingly as one might have expected. He went to Duntov with his idea for a wild new body design that could accommodate the massive rubber the Corvette would need in order to effectively put the power to the ground, and with the help of Randy Wittine from the GM design studio they put together some sketches and eventually a mockup of the new car. “Then I went back the next week and did the same. From there, it’s a masterclass in playing catch-up.
“I won everything,” he quipped. This old IMSA GT class racer was entrusted to modern day Cadillac prototype racer Jordan Taylor during the Monterey Motorsports Reunion last weekend at Laguna Seca. With the BF Goodrich contract near its end after the 1973 season, Greenwood and his team began to devise a strategy that would allow them to truly utilize the power the Corvette’s engine had on offer, and it involved a substantially wider tire in the rear. Additionally, a small batch of Greenwood-modified C3 street cars were also produced. Now with adequate grip on tap, the Corvette could effectively use all 750 horsepower that the modified L88 had to offer, and the integrated aerodynamics of the wide body package kept the car planted to the ground and stable at high speeds. While the sponsorship support helped elevate his racing career substantially, the contract stipulated that he had to use the company’s new high performance street radials rather than the race slicks utilized by the rest of the field. Zora Arkus-Duntov and engineer Gib Hufstader had been providing technical assistance to Corvette racing efforts on the sly for years at this point, and when Greenwood’s team shut down the heavily favored Owens Corning team (who had gone undefeated in the previous 22 races, a record at the time) at 1970 A-Production championship race at Road Atlanta, Zora and his crew took notice. “Then I went back the next week and did the same. I went through two sets of tires one weekend just trying to keep up.”, “I went away thinking that maybe this wasn’t for me,” Greenwood continued. Just as the musclecar era of the ’60s seemed to be reaching its pinnacle at the turn of the decade, a confluence of government emissions mandates, insurance premiums, and skyrocketing fuel prices quickly changed the performance landscape in dramatic fashion. The Greenwood Corvette brought the heat to the motorsport world at large, capturing the IMSA title that year, the Trans Am championship the following season, and securing numerous pole position qualifying runs and track records along the way. Image: RM Sotheby’s. I went through two sets of tires one weekend just trying to keep up.”, “I went away thinking that maybe this wasn’t for me,” Greenwood continued. “I just kept building them and racing them. History doesn’t often fondly recall the 1970s when it comes to automotive performance. Do not get too close to the raucous beast that is this 1976 IMSA-spec Greenwood-built C3 Corvette race car.
It’s all crossed up and inches from serious harm at all times. Greenwood had a new strategy for the 1974 season. They named it the widebody. His return to the track for 1969 would prove to be a very different story than that of the previous year, and he would take home the SCCA A-Production National championships back-to-back for the next two seasons. “I did a lot of racing that year and I started setting records,” Greenwood explained. So, I figured that since I could win, this wasn’t a bad deal.”, Greenwood decided that this whole motorsport thing was worth a closer look, so he headed to Waterford Hills race track and enrolled in a road racing driver’s school. By the mid-1970s the Corvette, like the rest of the automotive world, found itself hamstrung by emissions regulations, fuel economy concerns and other factors that led to a steep decline in performance over just a few short years. But for those with the means, pivoting from street performance to officially-sanctioned racing offered an alternative where serious capability still ruled the day. He went to Duntov with his idea for a wild new body design that could accommodate the massive rubber the Corvette would need in order to effectively put the power to the ground, and with the help of Randy Wittine from the GM design studio they put together some sketches and eventually a mockup of the new car. Images: Russo and Steele. History of John Greenwood racing and custom street Corvettes. With the help of Corvette engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov and Randy Wittine from the GM design studio they devised a new body design that could accommodate the massive race slicks Greenwood wanted to use while integrating functional aero into the expanded bodywork.
You know that a lot of the equation was the big engines. “I bought a 1968 Corvette and the first night I put an L88 into it,” Greenwood said.
“In the next two years, I won the SCCA A-Production National Championships back-to-back. There were women in Fiats beating me. Dubbed the widebody, it was a dramatic departure from Corvette race cars of the past, and with its dramatically flared fenders and deeply sculpted bodywork, it both looked and performed unlike any Corvettes before it.
It took some modifications to the frame rail but the cars were lighter and the suspension was better. He obliged.
While it would have a profound change on vehicles designed and sold to the general public, within the realm of motorsport it was a different story, as none of those aforementioned issues applied to racing efforts. “I was kind of driving my parents crazy; I built the engines in the basement or the den and then carried them up through the house,” he recalled. I guess this was also the same time that I formed my engine building company, Auto Research Engineering (ARE).”, Greenwood’s eventual success in SCCA racing would help him secure a major sponsorship deal with BF Goodrich. “The guys instructing me did things differently than I was used to and I seemed to go backwards.