The 12 Hours of Sebring opened its track to automakers worldwide in 1950, but it wasn’t until seven years later that an American brand, Chevrolet, took its place among its European counterparts. Brands such as Porsche, Jaguar, Ferrari, Maserati, Austin-Healey, Alfa Romeo, and Lotus, among others, all had their prized racers at the line, but this new vehicle would catch everyone off guard.

The Chevrolet Corvette SS (Super Sport) was powered by a fuel-injected small block V8 that could push out 307hp at 6,400rpm. This power was used to propel the 1,850 pound vehicle consisting of a lightweight magnesium body and a tubular steel space frame. Altogether three models of the car were brought to the 12 Hours of Sebring; a production model, the prototype C1 SS (Super Sport), and a test mule. The mule ended up in the hands of Juan Fangio - a race car driver from Argentina -, who took it for a few laps and successfully broke the previous year’s record for the fastest lap, a remarkable feat considering this was his first time in the vehicle. Not wanting to let the opportunity pass him by, Stirling Moss also jumped in the Corvette’s driving seat to test the car for himself. It seemed as if the Corvette’s grand appearance was indeed successful.

But, sadly, the Corvette’s debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring was short-lived as its driver, John Fitch, experienced some damage in the rear suspension that forced him to pull out after the 23rd lap. Juan Fangio and his teammate, Jean Behra, ended up taking the win that year in a Maserati 450S, with Stirling Moss and Harry Schell following close behind in the Maserati 300S. After all was said and done, only 38 out of the 65 racers were able to finish the race, illustrating just how difficult this event was at the time.

Follow the source link (Terra) to check out some exclusive historical videos.

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Source: Terra Autos

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14 comments:

  (553) posted on 02.13.2011

- Why don’t you try to go in car show and see old design from the Chevy!

  (273) posted on 02.13.2011

It’s nice to know this kind of History. I guess, everyone likes the Chevy. Those old picture of the Chevy is so awesome. Hope to see old pic of their old model..hehe

  (592) posted on 12.28.2010

Yeah right, one , there is no such thing as a Corvette disaster , slightly less hideous? It doesn’t look any worse than the first Mustang "Shelby Cobra" editions and would blow the doors off of them because it isn’t built like a damn tank!

  (613) posted on 12.28.2010

You have this major obsession with GM bringing back Pontiac while obsessing over making comments that include you not wanting a certain car over the "’11 GT."

  (512) posted on 12.22.2010

Knowing GM and their respect for their own heritage could that super-vette be showing it’s face at NY as a Corvette SS?

  (406) posted on 12.22.2010

A true masterpiece, I had no idea the hood and the trunk opened in that way.

  (216) posted on 12.21.2010

for sure they still have all the photos taken on that day...

  (765) posted on 12.21.2010

haha even the picture is kinda old. you can see the history of car racing here. how they slowly innovates the race cars and track. safety and harnesses.

  (702) posted on 12.20.2010

sadly, the Corvette’s debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring was short-lived as its driver, John Fitch, experienced some damage in the rear suspension that forced him to pull out after the 23rd lap.

  (613) posted on 12.19.2010

wow... you can see how dangerous the previous racing... the safety is not that good before... but now no matter how hard the impact is the driver can only receive a minor injury and not death.

  (780) posted on 12.19.2010

Zora Arkus-Duntov died quietly on April 21, 1996 in a hospital in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. His engineering achievements were great and his passing was mourned by many in the enthusiast community. With the development of a new generation of powerful Corvettes such as the 2009 ZR1, Chevrolet has found a way to appropriately honor Zora’s legacy.

  (69) posted on 12.17.2010

Yeah, those images bring nice memories. Always good to remember where you started, no matter the success and failures (Corvette SSs case).

  (46) posted on 12.17.2010

The history presentation idea is a good one. Looking forward to future "episodes"!

  (340) posted on 12.16.2010

Obviously a lot of the specialized skills of the General Motors Styling Department were utilized in building the superbly-detailed Sting Ray, but all the subsequent racing and maintenance expenses have been entirely Mitchell’s.

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