Greenwood Customer Car, Chassis #011
by Lance Smith
The story of my Greenwood collection started in 1987 when I took my father to Road Atlanta for the Walter Mitty Challenge vintage race. It was the biggest race of its type at that time. Dad and I were still big into McLarens at that time and we met Paul Canary, who told us about a car he had just restored.
He went on to tell me that the Greenwood cars were one of his loves and he owned two of them - the two Spirit cars. These cars were too expensive for me at that time, so I could only look and let the excitement build. Later that year we went to Carlisle, and as we were wandering around, I saw an old beat-up 82 Corvette on its back. I nosed around a little and figured that it was a Greenwood car. I talked a bit with the guy who was selling it, and I sort of figured out that this car had been driven by Michael Olyear. I got the car for about $6,500; that was a fair price considering that there was a lot of work to do (and considering that it included about $7,000 worth of Minilite wheels).
With a little more research, I found the original owner, Gene Miller. Talking to him, I found that he had originally purchased chassis #011 Greenwood Customer Car in 1978 and that the car had been driven by John Orr through 1979 with Mike Olyear as co-driver at the longer events like the Glen. Mike later used the car for his own racing. I restored the car by 1988 and took my driving school at Watkins Glen. The SVRA didnt recognize these years of Corvettes as being legitimate entries, but I suggested to them that they might let us run as an exhibition class; that was in September. In 1989, they got slack and didnt require a history to go with the car, I guess, and they let me in on the grounds that it was an interesting car and they kind of liked the idea of having a Greenwood car.
This car is now "grandfathered-in" even though it didnt literally meet their requirements of having an early FIA or road racing history prior to 1972. Since that time, the SVRA has created an IMSA class and will accept cars with a racing history through 1975. I have the car bodied in 1969 form right now just to help keep things a little more compatible with their interests.