This is pretty damned incredible. Last year, just prior to Le Mans, I posted a historical documentary that covered the Corvette’s inaugural entry into the 24 hour event. It was a great little film that was put together in 1961 as a promotional piece for Chevrolet. The real-to-life plot was essentially set with a trio of highly powered but serious overweight Corvettes raging battle against the sophistication of Italian and other European sports cars. The team was lead by the minds of Briggs Cunningham and Zora Duntov and hands and feet of a number of heroic drivers – John Fitch, Bob Grossman, Dick Thompson, Fred Windridge, and William Kimberly.
A few months after I posted the documentary, I got a package in the mail with no return address and no explanation. In that package was a roll of old motion picture film. Helpless with the ancient technology, I sent it off to be converted to digital format. What I got back has absolutely blown my mind. I believe this to be footage that was originally taken by the producers of the 1961 documentary, but edited out for time’s sake. Included are great shots of the Le Mans garage the team used to prep the cars and even better shots of Cunningham and Duntov cruising the French streets in their race prepped Corvettes.
This isn’t promotional video. This isn’t shot with a bias or a motive. It’s real footage of a few Americans in a foreign land trying to do something nobody thinks they can do. You can almost feel their apprehension and hear the French giggling at them as you watch – can you not? To me, it’s just downright breathtaking.
Some of the footage was badly damaged and the color couldn’t be saved. However, we were able to restore a portion of it in color. I hope ya’ll enjoy this as much I as I have.
Tags: Motion Pictures