Grady Davis’s Gulf Oil Racing Team purchased this Corvette in 1962 from Yenko Chevrolet, and the car was campaigned by the “Flying Dentist,” Dr. Dick Thompson, in the 1962 SCCA A-Production Class.
The Corvette was sold at the end of the 1962 season to Tony Denman, who successfully raced the car through 1963, finishing second in class at Daytona while battling newer Corvettes, Ferrari GTOs, and Porsches. At the end of the 1963 season, Denman removed most of the high-performance racing parts in order to sell the car as a typical street Corvette.
Almost 20 years later, the Corvette was discovered by the Rev. Mike Ernst, who found the Corvette, now painted red, being driven by a college student who was using it as a daily driver. In researching the Corvette, Ernst found the car came with the rare and highly sought-after RPO 687 package, which includes the heavy duty brakes, suspension, and steering.
Ernst began restoration of the car in the early 1980s. The disassembly and paint-stripping process revealed the car to be none other than Dick Thompson’s 1962 Gulf Oil Corvette. Ernst was able to track down Tony Denman, who had stored most of the high-performance racing parts in his parents’ garage before selling them in 1982. With Denman’s assistance, Ernst tracked down the buyer of the parts and bought them back, reuniting them with the Corvette in May 1985. Among the list of parts were Stewart Warner gauges, a roll bar, some of the Yenko extra-heavy-duty suspension pieces, aluminum bell housing, separate scatter shield, engine block, cylinder heads, exhaust manifolds, Positraction units, ring and pinions, and various hardware. After these racing parts were reassembled, the Corvette was painted its original Ermine White and blue livery and became the first recipient of the NCRS American Heritage Award.
The 1962 Gulf Oil Corvette returned to the track and raced at Laguna Seca and Palm Springs. It was shown at the Corvettes at Carlisle Race Car Reunion and in 2002 underwent a complete restoration by Doug Prince and Jerry Roman.
In 2005, the car was inducted into the Bloomington Gold Hall of Fame, was displayed at the Petersen Automotive Museum, and was shown at Corvette’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. Last year, the Gulf Oil Corvette underwent another restoration by Kevin Mackay of Corvette Repair in New York. The car is comprehensivley documented in a collection of publications that featured articles about its racing career, plus an extensive collection of photos from its racing days. In addition to its NCRS and Bloomington Gold certificates, a bill of sale from Yenko Chevrolet to Grady Davis is also included.