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1969 CORVETTE  L88 COPO • #194679S721688 • Stock #PRC.32
History of L88:
The following is a brief history of the car as told to me by the original owner, the person I purchased the car from, and people involved with the car that I was able to track down and interview.

This 1969 L-88 Corvette was a COPO car as evidenced by the tank sticker. It was the only L-88 to come out of the factory without the J-56 dual pin brake calipers. Records show that 115 of the 116 L-88’s produced had the J-56 option. I have the written statement from the original owner, Rick Thompkins, that this car did not have the dual pin brakes. I was told that the car was auctioned off by the factory to Courtesy Chevrolet of San Jose, California. Rick, who at the time was driving a 1968 427/435 Corvette, saw the car in the showroom window and immediately traded in the ’68 for the’69 L-88. It was equipped with a 4:56 rear gear, so Rick did some drag racing while in California. Shortly thereafter, Rick moved to Fort Meyers, Florida and proceeded to race in SCCA events. The car gradually became more and more a pure race car culminating in an all out IMSA racer with flares, cut down windshield, full roll cage, stripped interior, etc. I have the SCCA logbook which documents those races, but do not have complete documentation of all the IMSA events participated in. The car seems to have done very well for itself from what I can document.

In late 1975 the car was sold to another Florida gentleman and was subsequently wrecked after only a few races. The frame was sent to Greenwood to become a Greenwood racer, but was so badly damaged that Greenwood suggested starting with another, better frame. The wrecked former Rick Thompkins car was purchased by yet another Florida gentleman and remained un-restored for many years. The man I purchased the car from happened to be in a Fort Meyers race shop and saw an old Corvette fuel tank sitting on top of a barrel in a dark, dusty corner. Checking out the tank, he saw the tank sticker was still attached, and it indicated the L-88 engine option! That started his search, and he was able to track down the original owner and follow the trail to the car itself. What’s more, the original owner was able to provide history, pictures, log books, photos and trophies! This gentleman started the restoration with the intent of putting it back to original showroom condition. I purchased the car and finished the restoration as a race car, because I felt that that’s where its history truly lay. The next step was to get the car certified by the SVRA and start racing in vintage events. I have a correct numbers matching block for the car that blew up when the crankshaft broke. Pistons and rods came out the sides and bottom of the block, and although I don’t think it can ever be rebuilt, I am saving it for its nostalgia value. Currently, the engine installed is a 1969 ZL-1 block, correct vintage for 1969 that reportedly came from Jim Hall of Chaparal fame. The engine was raced in the Can Am series, then was used in drag racing, and finally came to me. Although not the original engine for the car, it is period correct and represents what would have been used in that time frame. Plus, it’s a ball to race and drive!

Since 1990, I have been campaigning the car with both SVRA and the Historic Sportscar Association and it has been awarded the Historic Racecar Medallion by SVRA. I have raced the car at Homestead, West Palm Beach, Sebring, and Daytona Florida, Roebling Road, Atlanta Motor Speedway, and Road Atlanta, Georgia, Danville, Virginia and Summit Point, West Virginia. In fact, some years ago, this car was parked directly opposite Chip’s two Challenge Corvettes at Summit Point when we were both racing there!

I continue to exercise the car on track days and limited vintage races as well as an occasional car show of exhibition. The car always draws an admiring crowd, regardless of whether at a show or at the track. Unlike some other restored race cars, this car still goes out and competes and provides the public with a live demonstration of what these cars did and were capable of over 30 years ago.

The car was on display at the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green from April 2007 until this last June 2008, and was featured in the race car setting. The car was invited to participate in the inaugural “Concours at Churchill Downs” in Louisville, KY in October 2008 and was featured in the race car division of the Concours d’Elegance at Historic Churchill Downs.

SCCA Vehicle Log Book #03-098 Event Entries:
Drivers School…Savannah, GA…7/22/72
Drivers School…Palm Beach Int’l Raceway (PBIR)…11/11 & 12/72
Central Florida Regional…Lakeland, FL…12/2 & 3/72
Florida Regional…PBIR…2/17 & 18/73
Central Florida Regional…Lakeland, FL…3/31 & 4/1, 1973
Florida Regional…PBIR…4/14 & 15/73
Florida Regional…PBIR…6/2 & 3/73
Florida Regional…PBIR…6/30 & 7/1, 1973<
National (CFR)…7/28 & 29/73
National…PBIR…9/2 & 3/73
Regional…Road Atlanta GA…9/22 & 23/73
American Road Race of Champions…Road Atlanta GA...10/28 to 11/4, 1973
National…PBIR…2/16 & 17/74
Central Florida Regional…PBIR…4/6 & 7/74
Florida Regional…5/4 & 5/74
National…Road Atlanta GA…6/8 & 9/74
Central Carolinas Region Drivers School…10/17/75
Regional…PBIR...4/3 & 4/76

IMSA Races By L88 Corvette #194679S721688 (incomplete):
Daytona Speedway…Camel GT…April 21, 1973
Daytona Speedway…Camel GT…November 25, 1973
Daytona Speedway…Camel GT round 6…July 4, 1974
Daytona Speedway…Camel GT Round 8…August 18, 1974

Racing Awards and Trophies L88 Corvette #194679S721688:
Palm City Vettes – 1972 – Auto Rodeo Class Winner
Florida Region SCCA – First Place
PBIR Regional – First Place
Atlanta Region SCCA Regional Championship Races at Road Atlanta
First Place A Production…September 22/23, 1973
Florida Region SCCA – First Place
SCCA FM Sportsmanship Award
Regional Race, Central Florida Region – First Place
American Road Race of Champions, November 4, 1973 – Sixth Place A Production
Florida Region SCCA – First Place
PBIR SCCA – First Place
Regional Race, Central Florida – First Place
ACALAN 1974 South Florida 250 – Third Place
Photos of Trophies and Awards (click to enlarge):

Components Used in Engine Rebuild ZL-1 Can-Am Chevrolet Aluminum Block:
Ferrea - Stainless steel valves: 2.250” intake, 1.88” exhaust
10 titanium valve retainers and locks
Engle dual valve springs with hardened steel shims
Teflon valve seals
Cylinder heads machined to accept longer and oversize rocker studs
Crane 1.7 roller rockers
Crane stud girdle
Wiseco forged aluminum racing pistons, custom sized .040” over (block had already been bored .030” over and next stock size would be .060”, eliminating future rebuilds without replacing liners.)
Speed Pro - Moly rings custom sized to fit above pistons
Floating piston pins with double spiral locks – Wiseco Eagle steel racing rods, 6.135” length
ARP 8740 rod bolts
Cloyes double roller timing chain and gears with roller thrust bearing @ camshaft
Competition Cams solid lifter cam, gross lift = 680 intake, .680 exhaust, duration 306/319 @ .20
Radiused piston domes and valve pockets, competition valve job
Cam installed at 107 centerline
CL 77 main and rod bearings
Trend heavy duty pushrods, .100” short
Barnes dry sump oil pan and oil pump
Calles water to oil oil cooler
3 gallon dry sump oil tank
Aeroquip #12 oil lines and fittings
Moroso oil screen and breather tank
Oversize cam bearings used at all locations
Unlisted engine components are stock/original/ heavy duty L-88 parts
Block bore was honed to .040” over with torque plate, block was align bored/honed, all rotating =432c.i. Parts balanced, crank was polished and oil holes chamfered, rods and pistons were pinfitted, pistons decked and polished, heads surfaced and cc’d
Engine will produce from 600 HP, 500 ft/lb up to 800 HP, 655 ft/lb depending on choice of cylinder heads, intake manifold and camshaft.
Taylor plug wires
12.5 : 1 compression ratio
GM L-88 aluminum intake
GM L-88 aluminum heads closed chamber
Blaster 2 coil, 6 A MSD box, stock GM TI distributor
MSD distributor cap
Carter electric fuel pump, 100 GPH @ 7 psi
GM L-88 stock fuel pump

The Contents in the 3-Ring Binder are as Follows:
1. SCCA event entries 1972-1976
2. List of racing awards and trophies
3. Copies of log book entries 1972-1976
4. Old photos before major race mods were done
5. Photos of young Rick Tomkins
6. Many old track photos
7. Racing photo of Daytona (November 25th, 1973)
8. Several local news articles/clippings of racing events with this car and driver Rick Tomkins
9. IMSA Camel GT and 12 Hour Sebring Races
10. Several pages of race results
11. List of the 24th Annual 12 Hour of Sebring roster (March 20th, 1976)
12. List of 25th Annual 12 Hour of Sebring roster (March 19th, 1977)
13. Several pages documenting the car's race history with 2nd owner
14. Notarized letter from Rick Tomkins as original owner and also explains his adding the J56
15. SVRA Race Car certificate
16. Copy of tank sticker
17. Photos of the restoration
18. The tank sticker
19. Engine spec sheet
20. Dyno sheet
21. Race and alignment settings for competition
22. Copy of Vette Views with this car as the cover car
23. Photos of car at Cypress Gardens
24. Certificate of appreciation from the Corvette Museum
25. Louisville Concourse d'Elegance letters
26. Several other photos and letters pertaining to the car's history
L88 Spare Parts (click to enlarge):

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