Corvette C3 Racing History
by David Palmeter
The Incredible Henri (Henry) Greder Le Mans Corvette Story
During the late ’60s and early ’70s, Henri Greder was the mainstay of Corvette’s racing programs at the Le Mans 24 hour race. Henri Greder not only ran one car 6 consecutive years at Le Mans, he was involved in two cars that accomplished that unprecedented feat. Overall, he ran 8 consecutive years in Corvettes.
Here is some email correspondence that I had with Henri (Henry) in early 2000:
Subj: Le Mans
Date: 2/14/00 10:27:19 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Sandrine)
Here are some information concerning My Corvettes at Le Mans 24 Hours :
1968 – Corvette Coupe 427 ci L88 Vin # 194378 S 410300
Prepared by Zora-Arkus Duntov of Chevrolet Corvette engendering (sic).
History : This car and a similar one were bought by Scuderia Philipinetti which enter the two cars at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. My car, race # 3 and my co-driver was Umberrto Maglioli. We retired due to engine problem. The other Car, Race # 4 driven by S. Garant and JM Giorgi retired after a crash. (David Palmeter note: I later determined that car #4 was VIN 194378 S 408067.)
1969 – Corvette Coupe 427 ci L88 Vin # 194378 S 410300
Same as the one before. My co-driver was Reine Wissel et the back up driver was Ronnie Peterson. We retired due to Transmission problem.
After the 24 Hours of Le Mans I bought that car from Scuderia Filipinetti. I repainted it as my Greder-Racing Team color : White with the hood in black and on the side the blue and red stripes. I enter the Corvette to the Tour de France Automobile 1969 . I would have won the Tour Auto if I had not had a misfired which we could not find before loosing a lot of time. Any way I won 7 races out of 9 and finished 2nd overall and 1st in GT class.
Soon after the Tour Auto 1969, I sold the car to Jean-Claude Aubriet who enter the car to the 24 Hours of Le Mans under the name of “Ecurie Leopard” in 1970 (race #1), 1971 (race #1), 1972 (race #71), 1973 (race # 18).
25 years latter, I bought the car from Jean Claude Aubriet Wife (Jean Claude had passed away earlier). The car came to US, where I was living now, I restored the car, repainted in red like the Scuderia Philipinetti and sold it to Bob Rubin in CT. who resold the car in Paris to M. Pescara. Then Pescara sold the car to an English man who still has “my” Corvette. This guy enter the car to the Tour de France Historic in 1999.
Back to 1969. For the 24 Hours of Le Mans 1970, Zora Duntov send me one of his pool Corvette convertible with hardtop and all parts to built a better race car.
VIN # 194679 -S – 706401
I prepared my new Corvette which was Yellow, I enter the new Corvette in the 24 Hours of Le Mans 1970 (race #2) and finish 10th overall. I raced th Tour de France Auto 1970 with a ZL1 engine that Zora had sent to me. Unfortunately this engine blow up due to a mechanic mistake. Then I entered it to the 1000 Kilometers of Paris held in Montlhéry track with my girlfriend Marie-Claude Beaumont as co-driver. We finished pretty well, I guess 2nd in GT class.
I raced Le Mans with this Corvette in 1971 (race # 2) – Oil pipe problem. Craven A livery white and red
In 1972 (race #29) Marie-Claude Beaumont collided with François Cevert Matra. Femme d’aujourd’hui livery white and blue
In 1973 (race # 12) I finished 12th overall – no sponsor- just white and red hood
In 1974 (race # 51) I finish 18th overall – First National City Bank livery blue with a traveler check painted on the hood.
In 1975 (race # 42) retired due to engine problem. First National City Bank livery
At the end of 1975, or beginning of 1976, I sold the Corvette to a private guy who kept the car up to 1989. Then the car has been sold to A.T.S. Evolution owned by my friend Robert Sarrailh. The car has been restored with the First National City Bank livery. I raced the Tour de France Historic with “my” Corvette in 1998. Robert Sarrailh still have the car.
The other team who raced Le Mans with a Corvette after 1968 was John Greenwood team –
In 1972 (race # 4) finished 15 overall
the # 72 retired
1973 (race #29) retired.
Of course I have a lot of pictures. Do not hesitate to call me.
I made a poster of the last “Le Mans” start and I have few models 1/43th if you are interested.
Above – By using my “Greder” collection of Vitesse 1:43 scale diecast models, I have attempted to give a feel for the magnitude of Henry’s accomplishment.
Above – The 6 liveries in the front row represent 1968 Corvette Chassis 194378-S-410300 as it ran at Le Mans from 1968 to 1973. Henry Greder drove it in 1968 and 1969 then sold it to J-C. Aubriet who drove it from 1970 to 1973.
Also Above – The 6 liveries in the back row represent 1969 Corvette Chassis Number 194679-S-706401 as driven by Henry Greder at Le Mans from 1970 to 1975.
Above – The #3 (Chassis 194378-S-410300) and #4 (Chassis 194378-S-408067) Filipinetti cars at Le Mans 1968 and the 1969 entry by Henry Greder (#3 renumbered to #1).
Above – Greder at Le Mans 1968 in 1968 Corvette Chassis 194378-S-410300
Above – Greder at Le Mans 1969 in 1968 Corvette Chassis 194378-S-410300
Above – Greder at Le Mans 1969 in 1968 Corvette Chassis 194378-S-410300 – Le Mans start departure
Above – Greder at Le Mans 1970 in the first appearance of 1969 Corvette Chassis Number 194679-S-706401
Above – Greder at Le Mans 1975 – The 6th consecutive Le Mans appearance of 1969 Corvette Chassis Number 194679-S-706401