I just read Christopher Phillip’s article on John Greenwood’s Stars & Stripes Corvette (“Patriot Missile,” Sept. ’12). I noticed on the cover picture that the car bore an insignia for Briggs Chevrolet of South Amboy, New Jersey. What connection or affiliation did Briggs have with this vehicle?
John Greenwood responds:
In the winter of 1971, I was approached by Briggs Chevy owners Danny and Joan Zack, along with Butch McKinnon, head of the dealership’s high-performance department. They expressed an interest in being involved with racing sponsorship, as well as selling performance parts through their facility.
Briggs was aggressively following Don Yenko Chevrolet’s model of carrying special builds and accessories. Together, we assembled a line of parts for a Briggs/Greenwood catalog. In addition, they provided monetary support for our racing efforts, starting with Le Mans in 1972. Danny and Joan became good friends, and continued as sponsors as we raced the stock-bodied Greenwood Corvettes through 1974.
It’s interesting that the initial roll-out of our program involved the No. 49 chassis. Chevrolet had the then-new ’72 cars at Bridgehampton racetrack on Long Island for the press to drive; I believe the stock Corvettes were from Briggs. We were asked to bring one of our race cars to the event, and we brought No. 49. We installed a passenger seat with a five-point harness, and I gave rides while also testing the car.
Attached is a copy of some of the Briggs advertising at the time. I think it’s interesting that they were also producing performance packages for Ferraris, Camaros, and even Vegas and early Hondas. Their support and friendship were greatly appreciated.
Light ’Em Up
In your Nov. ’12 article “Light a Candle, Curse the Glare,” you describe the installation of Cibie lights. Please note that Cibie makes a four-light conversion (5.75-inch diameter each) that can be directly fitted to the existing headlight system. The outer lights are high/low, while the inner lights are high only. I used them on my ’70 Chrysler 300, and they worked great. Hella also makes a similar four-light conversion system.
I found that in most cases it helps to add a separate relay and then connect the new lights.
Keep up the great work; I love your magazine.
John A. Pavlik
I just read in the Oct. ’12 edition of “Front Lines” about the Sounds of Corvette record from the early ’60s. Last year I found one at the Techno Classica in Essen, Germany (the most famous classic- car show in Europe).
If you don’t have the record and want to know how it sounds, just visit YouTube and check it out (www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOyHO4IycmE).
Vette greetings from the Netherlands!
Editor, Stingray ’82 Magazine
Another Serpent’s Tale
I’m a longtime subscriber to VETTE and enjoy it greatly. The article in the Oct. ’12 issue regarding the Cherohala and the Dragon (“At the Gap, There Be Dragons”) was of special interest, as I have driven those byways several times. But you also need to drive “The Snake” in northeastern Tennessee.
This road is a portion of U.S. 421, from Holston Lake East to Mountain City. It’s 33 miles long, has 489 curves, traverses three mountains, and goes through one valley (Shady Valley). Trucks are not allowed on this portion of the road, as they can’t make the sharp turns. Some of the hairpins are so sharp and steep that the roadway overlaps the road beneath it. One really needs to drive The Snake both ways to enjoy all the challenges it has to offer.
My wife and I discovered this road 15 years ago, while traveling between Boone, North Carolina, and Christiansburg, Virginia, to visit our kids in college. Back then the town of Shady Valley was essentially a ghost town. Today it’s like Devil’s Gap on the Dragon.
There is also a beautiful (though not curvy) drive northward from Shady Valley to Damascus. It follows a stream, and at one point the road goes through a natural rock bridge.
I was just reading the newest issue of VETTE— specifically, the article about the UAE Corvette Club (“Gulf Racers,” Nov. ’12). During my 2007 deployment to the Middle East, I was fortunate enough to be tasked with flying one of our helicopters down to the UAE for the Dubai Air Show. At the show, I snapped the attached pictures of the Civil “Defence” Corvette. Unfortunately it was late in the afternoon, so the lighting wasn’t the best. Hopefully they’re of some use to you.
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