20210311 121332
John Greenwood’s No. 76 IMSA Corvette is now on display at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.

All-American 1976 IMSA Corvette Lands At MSHoF

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – John Greenwood’s No. 76 IMSA Corvette, which posted eye-popping speeds during the 1976 24 Hours of Le Mans, has found a new, temporary home at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America museum.

Members of Greenwood’s family, friends and a cluster of top IMSA officials were there Thursday to see the red, white and blue GT car unloaded and carefully rolled into position inside the museum, located in Daytona International Speedway’s Ticket & Tours Building.

“It’s a real beast,” IMSA President John Doonan said. “What Bill France Sr. and John Bishop did with IMSA, in terms of its original mission, was to allow people like John and others, who had a dream to go racing, and provided a platform that allowed them to do that at a cost-effective level.”

France helped Bishop found the International Motor Sports Association sports-car sanctioning body in 1969.

Greenwood, who died in 2015 at the age of 70, was represented by his brother Burt, 71, son Joe, 51, and other family members at the display ceremony.

They were joined by Mark Raffauf, IMSA senior director of race operations, Doonan and former IMSA President Scott Atherton.

Raffauf has been with IMSA, in different capacities, since 1974.

“This car is very familiar to me,” Raffauf said. “IMSA’s top two cars went to Le Mans in 1976 – Greenwood’s Corvette and Mike Keyser with the No. 1 Chevrolet Monza. They were IMSA Camel GT regulars.

“Those cars ran in the top five early in the race. Greenwood was pegged at 215 mph in this thing during the race on the Mulsanne Straight. These cars were fast. They clocked Greenwood at 221 mph at Daytona in 1974.”

Greenwood, who was an independent racer, built the car from a standard Corvette frame. He added handcrafted pieces to the bodywork and ran a 510-cubic-inch (about 8 liters in today’s terms) aluminum V-8 engine.

“John had to move a lot of stuff around to get that engine in there,” Raffauf said. “It was a pretty advanced engine for its day, but those were available in the Chevy power book. You could go to your nearest GM dealer and buy a 510 block and build up one of these engines.”

The car has a distinct American look to it. The red, white and blue livery was Burt Greenwood’s idea.

“The stars and stripes paint scheme were in response to a time in our country when we were struggling with many issues,” he said, adding, “I suggested (to John) we go ‘loud and proud.’”

John, Burt and Frenchman Bernard Darniche shared the colorful, engine-booming Corvette at Le Mans.

“They really loved this car when we went over there with it,” Burt said. “They loved the fact we were independents and we were beating the Porsches in that car.”

The car competed at Daytona and Sebring, too.

Despite posting the fastest speeds at Le Mans, the car never led the race nor saw the checkered flag at Le Mans because of mechanical issues.

Still, Greenwood’s car is part of IMSA Le Mans lore all these years later.

“You take a road car and build it into a fully prepped race car that was an absolute screamer around the track at Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans, and now to have it here at Daytona for a visit ties what we have and the traditions of IMSA,” Doonan said.

“We provide that same service today, from entry-level series all the way to the top with the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. John showed us what is possible when you combine deep-rooted passion and engineering.”

Motorsports Hall of Fame of America President George Levy said his organization was honored to have Greenwood’s car, which is now owned by Steve Goldin, through the summer.

“We are so honored that people want to have their cars on display here at the Hall of Fame,” Levy said. “This is one of those cars I most wanted to get in here. This has been one of the very top cars on our wish list.”