What’s this all about? Read an earlier post on Dean’s Garage describing the car and stories from the ’70s. The thrill of victory—the agony of defeat.
Mike Parks bought this old C3 Corvette race car. What he bought was the original chassis, two small block racing engines, some spares, and a coupe body that was so bad there was no fiberglass that could be reused.
Race cars have logbooks. And in that logbook was the history of the car, it’s builder, it’s first driver, and all of the owners that came afterward. So Mike Parks, the current owner, was able to track down the driver, Ron Weaver, the builder, Pete Klain, and through Pete, myself, who crewed on the car in the ’70s, but more importantly, created the graphics. Mike, who lives near San Francisco, wanted me to recreate the paint scheme. What a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
Brighton Ranch Paint and Body in Scottsdale, Arizona was recommended by a friend who is the curator of a car collection. In March of 2011 Mike came to Phoenix and met with myself and Jay Lewton, manager of the shop, to discuss the project. In September Mike trailered the car down and left it in my care at Brighton. Jay, by the way, was great to work with and very professional.
Recreating the graphics transported me back 36 years. It had me scratching my head more than once trying to figure out how I did it the first time. Man, this is complicated! But it was a great experience. These kinds of paint schemes aren’t in vogue any longer. I suppose the design is a throwback to graphic styles from the ’70s. The idea behind it is to create shapes on the car that complement and exaggerate the car’s form, lines, and surfaces, suggesting motion and speed.
The Klain Corvette is a very memorable car to many race fans from the period because of the paint scheme. The treatment was unique. One of the reasons it stood out was because no other competitor was foolhardy enough to spend so much effort on body decoration for a car likely as not to be damaged on the race course. But I was a designer at General Motors and thought I knew a thing or two about race car graphics. Pete gave me free reign, so his garage became my studio. This final paint scheme was the fourth version and most together version of the car’s graphics.
There are a lot of photos in the gallery showing the process of recreating the paint scheme, many with captions describing the action. The car came out great. It was never this shiny in 1977!