In its heyday, the L88 was top secret. GM's brass had banned Chevroletfrom racing, so it was private individuals rather than factory-backedteams who ran the risks. When these top-secret Vettes were built, theyhad no carpets, they came with magnesium wheels, and they were allhardtop convertibles--hardly comfortable by today's standards, but thiswas a strictly-for-racing, hush-hush Corvette.
Questioned about the lightweight aspects of his original L88, ownerKevin Mackay informed us about an esoteric option that included an oilcooler, headers, and a headlight kit in the trunk for ownerinstallation. "Most utilized closed-chamber aluminum heads," says Kevin."The open-chambered version breathed better and produced morehorsepower." These better-breathing heads were finally offered to thepublic in June 1969, whereas this L88, a one-of-four car, (which Mackayloosely refers to as a prototype) was built in January of the same year.
This particular L88 originally went to Orlando Costanzo. Now in hiseighties and living in Tampa, "Or" wasn't your average hot shoe. Heraced at Daytona and Sebring and had connections at Chevrolet. Heordered his then-Daytona Yellow L88 through Ferman Chevrolet in Tampa.As amazing as the Vette's racing history is (including the highestfinish ever--Fourth overall--for a Corvette at Sebring and back-to-backwins at Sebring and Daytona), what's even more unbelievable is thatMackay unearthed this history piece in a junkyard in 1991 and bought itfor $7,000 after tracking down the owners one by one.
When Mackay finally got to view the ex-racer, he noticed the rear glasson the hardtop still had the '72 Le Mans race-team sticker, all theoriginal panels, steering wheel, gauges, shifter, seats, and much more.After a quick restoration, the L88 was back on the road. That paint?Well, as you may know, John Greenwood painted his L88 Vettes with theAmerican flag. Previous owner Toye English decided to use theConfederate flag to draw attention to their rivalry--not to mention theGreenwood Vette was the tire-test car for BFGoodrich, while Rebel wasthe tire-test car for Goodyear.
So, who won--the North or the South? That's up for argument. TheGreenwood Vette is the faster car, but the Rebel was more durable.Sebring and Daytona, of course, were endurance races. So, it depends onthe venue. But if you ask Team VETTE, it doesn't matter. They're bothCorvettes, so everyone's a winner.