Owner Lance Miller and Renowned Corvette Restorer Kevin Mackay Will Tell the Tale of the #3 Corvette During Night at the Museum on Oct. 9
Hershey, PA - For decades, the famous French endurance race at Le Mans was dominated by European teams. American cars were considered too heavy and too weak to be competitive in a 24-hour road race.
In 1960, the #3 Corvette changed all that. This legendary racer placed first in its class at Le Mans and forever changed foreign perceptions about American racing machines.
From early October through Oct. 27, guests visiting The AACA Museum, Inc., in Hershey, Pa., can see the actual car that roared down the Mulsanne Straight almost 60 years ago and changed international racing history.
Enthusiasts who want to learn more about this incredible machine and its restoration are invited to attend the annual Night at the Museum on Oct. 9 and hear how #3 was carefully restored and returned to France to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its win, a story documented in the 2010 movie “The Quest.”
One of the men who played a critical role in restoring this historic Corvette – the late Chip Miller – and Bill Miller Jr., the founders of Carlisle Events, will be honored that evening with the AACA Museum Automotive Heritage Award. It was Chip’s son Lance who stepped up to lead the project after Chip died suddenly in 2004, and Lance will accept the award on behalf of his dad.
Lance will share some stories of his father’s legacy and the experience of taking the winning Corvette back to Le Mans to fulfill his father’s dream. He will also share information about the Chip Miller Charitable Foundation.
Also sharing his account of the restoration of this prized vehicle will be Kevin Mackay, founder of Corvette Repair Inc., which has many rare Corvettes over the years. Mackay will have copies of the book “The Corvette Hunter,” which chronicles many of the stories of finding and restoring valuable Corvettes.
Advance tickets are required to attend Night at the Museum and can be purchased online at NightAtTheMuseum.org or by calling the AACA Museum directly at 717-566-7100. Tickets are available for purchase through Oct. 1.
About the #3 Corvette
After unsuccessfully fielding racing teams at Le Mans for years, American motoring enthusiast Briggs Cunningham met with the father of the Corvette, Zora Arkus-Duntov. At the time, factory-sanctioned race programs were strongly discouraged at Le Mans, so the pair formed an unofficial partnership. Three Corvettes were purchased from a New York Chevrolet dealership, then heavily modified for the endurance race.
Drivers were hired. The racers were tested on various tracks, including at Le Mans itself. Two of the cars competed in another endurance race in Sebring, Fla. Finally, the trio was shipped across the Atlantic Ocean for the race in June 1960.
Corvette #1 crashed in the rain. The engine of Corvette #2 exploded. Only the #3 car, with John Fitch and Bob Grossman as co-drivers, was left. They completed 281 laps during the 24-hour race, taking first in class and eighth place overall. But after the historic win, #3 faded into obscurity.
Renowned Corvette enthusiast Chip Miller had a dream of acquiring this car, restoring it, and ultimately returning it to France with its original driver to mark the 50th anniversary of its historic victory. After much research and negotiation, in October 2000, Chip finally succeeded and acquired this car.
The legendary racecar went through an extensive restoration by Kevin Mackay of Corvette Repair Inc. and was returned to Chip Miller in early 2002. Sadly, Chip died just two years later at age 61 from a rare blood-plasma disease – amyloidosis. He would never live to see the restored #3 return to Le Mans.
His son, Lance Miller, built on his father’s dream and worked tirelessly to make it a reality – with help from many friends in the Corvette racing world.
At the 50th anniversary ceremony on June 13, 2010, one of the original drivers, John Fitch – by then, 92 years old – drove the #3 Corvette, leading a parade of 50 other Corvettes for a lap around the circuit.
About the AACA Museum, Inc.
The AACA Museum, Inc., a Smithsonian Affiliate, displays beautifully restored automobiles, buses, and motorcycles in unique lifelike scenes representing the 1890s through 1980s on a cross-country journey from New York to San Francisco. As one of the largest automotive museums in the country, AACA Museum, Inc., features special exhibits that change several times a year and focus on a variety of eras and types of vehicles. The AACA Museum, Inc., has been and remains an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, not affiliated with The Antique Automobile Club of America.
The Museum is in South Hanover Township, just off Route 39 and one mile west of Hersheypark Drive in Hershey, Pa. Regular admission is $12.50; seniors age 61 and older, $11.50; juniors age 4 to 12, $9.50; and children age three and under, free. Admission is also free to AACA Museum, Inc., members and Antique Automobile Club of America members with a current membership card.
The Museum is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. For more information, call (717) 566-7100 or visit www.AACAMuseum.org.