This short film marks the high points of the long, respected and multi-faceted career of race driver John Fitch, who died at his Connecticut country home October 31, 2012. He was 95 years old. The famed driver for Mercedes early in his career posted numerous wins both domestically and abroad. He drove for several other marques, as well, and in 1956, became manager for the fledgling Corvette team. In addition to the name he made for himself as a racer, Fitch was also a World War II hero, inventor, car designer, safety expert and much more. He helped put Corvette on the racing map when he co-drove a slightly-modified 1960 Corvette to a class win and 8th overall finish in that year’s 24 Hours at Le Mans Endurance Race in France. His exploits then and 50 years later where profiled in the 2011 documentary ‘The Quest’, produced and directed by filmmaker & Corvette enthusiast Michael Brown.
He was a terrific guy and did so much people never even knew about…
Excellent! Thanks for sharing.
A man with more high points and convolutions than your average mountain range. And sadly, as is so often true in our America, unknown to most “motor sports enthusiasts of the modern era. He, Zora and Briggs are the foundation of all Corvette racing that has happened between 1960 and now. So why has there never been a “Briggs Cunningham” or “John Fitch” tribute Corvette?
I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Mr. Fitch at Carlisle in 2012. He was there mostly to discuss the ’60 Le Mans run, as one of the three cars had been found and restored, but I got in the autograph queue with a 1/18 replica of the Corvette SS he drove in the car’s lone competitive outing.
Fitch absolutely lit up as soon as he saw the model, and to the dismay of his handlers, excitedly spoke at decent length about his time (or so to speak) with the SS. For a car with such a short and beleaguered track record, he had remarkably kind things to say about it.
In any case, his signature spans across the decklid of that model, and it’s still proudly on display in our home.
A true renaissance man. Unfortunate that he was largely unappreciated in his later years.
Several years ago there was a series of interviews posted to Vimeo conducted by documentarian and videographer Chris Szwedo. Happily they are still there to be viewed. All thirty of them. There are several hours in total, and anyone interested in the mind and personality of Mr. Fitch will be well rewarded by watching them.
Here is the first: