"How to reconfigure the car became somewhat of a question for me, given its 10-year tenure on the track, and the many changes it went through—both cosmetically and mechanically—over that time period," Hampton says. "When I looked through the racing prism of the car, with its many successes in four classes [E/F/G and H Modified Production], its World Championship Points wins, and its eight national records, I had to determine what snapshot in history would rule the restoration."
Eventually he decided that the car's win at the NHRA Indy Summer Nationals in 1967 represented the zenith of its success, so that became the starting point for the project. "At Indy, the Pizza Man Corvette employed three 45mm DCOE Weber side-draft carburetors; those were easy to find. Not so the manifold, which was a harder hunt," he says. "I sourced a flat '54 hood from California, but the big issue was the hard top. With the exception of two dozen bubble tops made by Model Builders for GM, the primary sources for '53-'55 Corvette hardtops were manufacturers Glasspar, Scott Top, and Plasticon. Finding any one of these three limited-production tops 50 years after they were produced was difficult. Moreover, the rear-window dimensions of these aftermarket tops never looked the same as what I saw in the vintage photos of the car. I have no idea of the origin of the top pictured in those photos.
"During the search, I came across a template for a '53-'55 Corvette hardtop, which had what appeared to be the correct rear- window dimensions. Since it was just a thin piece of fiberglass with the correct side- and rear-window contours, I enlisted Pebble Beach concours restorer Bob Lorkowski of L'Cars of Cameron, Wisconsin, to construct the top.
"Working from that fiberglass template and a vintage photo of the Pizza Man Corvette, the shop's fabricator, Blaine Downer, built a perfect recreation within two weeks. L'Cars also painted the correct hood to blend with the car's patina. Danny Dean of Rice Lake, Wisconsin, reapplied the race car's hand-painted decals and lettering. A set of American Salt Flat wheels on the front and chrome reverse wheels in the rear completed the restoration."
Hampton says he's enjoyed the Pizza Man Vette for more than a decade, but now it's time for the car to be enjoyed by a new owner. If your taste buds are crying out for a slice of Corvette Racing History, contact Mecum Auctions at www.mecum.com.
|1954 Chevy Corvette|
|Owner||Dan Hampton; Galesville, WI|
|Block||GMC inline-six iron|
|Camshaft||Moon Racing Cams, specs unknown|
|Carburetion||Weber 45mm DCOEs|
|Transmission||B&M Turbo-Hydramatic three-speed|
|RearEnd||Stock with 4.56 gears|
|Front Brakes||Stock drums|
|Rear Brakes||Stock drums|
|Wheels||American Salt Flat (front)/Chrome Reverse (rear)|
|Front Tires||Firestone Drag 500 8.45-15|
|Rear Tires||Goodyear Drag Slicks 9.00-15|
|Weight||3,400 lbs. with driver|
|Miles Driven Weekly||0|
|The Pizza Man Corvette's NHRA National Class Wins|
|9-25-1965||E/MP||M & N Raceway||NA/99.85|
|5-23-1970||H/MP||Thunder Road Dragway||NA/112.82|
|6-27-1970||H/MP||Thunder Valley Dragway||12.17/NA|