Editor’s Note: This is the second of a two part interview with Lance Miller, owner of Carlisle Events.  Part one is HERE. 

CMDo you know who owns the other Corvettes from 1960 and where they are located?

LMThere were four Corvettes that raced at the 24H of Le Mans in 1960.  Privateer Briggs Cunningham fielded 3.  The cars were numbered 1, 2 & 3 all wearing the same paint scheme excluding trail light & headlight covers that wore red, white & blue to help tell the cars apart while at speed.  The final Corvette was owned by another private party.   

The number one (1) 1960 Cunningham Corvette hasn’t been found yet – anybody out there that might know of its whereabouts – email me: lancem@carlisleevents.com

The number two (2) 1960 Cunningham Corvette is owned by a friend of mine, Bruce Meyers, from California.  He’s got a wonderful collection of cars and is very passionate about the hobby as well.

The number three (3) 1960 Cunningham Corvette is owned by the Miller Family Collection from Carlisle, PA – yours truly.

The number four (4) 1960 Camaraderie Corvette is currently owned by another friend of mine, Loren Lundberg, from Arizona.   Loren is very well-respected throughout the Corvette hobby.  As a matter of fact, whenever I need to check my facts for the older race cars he’s one of the people I contact.  He’s a great guy and very knowledgeable about any and all older Corvette race cars.

 

CMHow nervous have you been with the car being so far away from home?

LMTo be honest I really haven’t been nervous regarding this trip.  As the video Michael Brown Productions produced (Link is HEREsays very well… we’re on the mission.  I’ve set out to ensure my father’s dream comes alive and it’s coming alive right before my very eyes.  Fortunately things are coming together even better than expected due to a strong effort by everyone involved.  I’ve been very much dedicated to fulfilling my father’s dream of having the first Corvette to ever win first in class at the 24 hours of Le Mans – taking the car and the original driver (John Fitch) back to the same circuit 50 years later.  One of the most amazing parts, John Fitch will be driving a parade lap along with 50 other Corvettes prior to the start of this year’s Le Mans race!  I’ll be in the passenger seat pinching myself and I know the car will be filled up with plenty of other spirits such as Zora Duntov, Bob Grossman (2nd driver in the car), Briggs Cunningham and of course my father.  Again, I haven’t been nervous at all, if anything, I’m anxious!

To boot… tell me of another time a car that won 1st in class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the original driver came back to drive around the same circuit 50 years later?!  This is going to be history in the making and I’m thrilled I’m able to be a part of it!

 

CMWhat precautions and preparations were needed to transport the car to France?

LMWhen you send a car to France, or anywhere overseas, be sure to do your homework.  I lucked out, my good friend and restorer of the Cunningham Corvette #3, Kevin Mackay of Corvette Repair Inc., gave me a call and said he knew a person that shipped his car over to Le Mans in the past.  I already had a bundle of quotes at this time so needless to say I went with Kevin’s recommendation.  ACL (American Consultative Logistics) from Long Beach, NY is the outfit we used.  Most importantly, Liz Gibson was absolutely wonderful to work with.  She held my hand throughout the entire process. 

Kevin Mackay and Jan Hyde were kind enough to take the car to the port and make sure it was secured completely.  There were plenty of minor things to consider, just like when you store a car for a couple of weeks you’d want to make sure the battery was disconnected, spray WD40 on areas that might be prone to getting rusty and having less than 5 gallons of fuel in the tank & etc.  The other things to think about are the insurance, while it’s on the water or air and of course when it gets back to land and overseas.  France also wants the original title of the car along with all proofs of insurance.  There are plenty of fees involved but overall it’s been a wonderful experience thus far – yet the trip isn’t over while I type this – heck, I’m not even in France yet myself (tomorrow!).

 

CMWhat prompted you to start the Chip Miller foundation?

LMWow, this is a loaded question!  If you’re still reading this… then you’ve probably realized I hold the utmost respect for my father.  He was not only an incredible father figure, but he was a best friend to me my entire life.  I loved him more than any words could ever express.  With this said, his life ended way too early from the deadly and little known disease called amyloidosis.  My family and I didn’t hesitate to set up the Chip Miller Charitable Foundation promptly after his passing.  He may have been fulfilling his dream himself if he was diagnosed earlier.  However, the disease was easily misdiagnosed, and took some time for doctors to finally figure out what it was.  Hence we feel it’s important to raise awareness and funds for this terrible disease.  There’s plenty of more information about our mission and the disease and ways you can help at: http://chipmiller.org.  Please consider making a donation – every little bit helps!

 

CMHave you gotten feedback as far as what type of progress the researchers are making in finding a cure for the disease?

LMThere currently is no cure.  However, there are treatment options to extend one’s life, if you are diagnosed early.  There are people who have been diagnosed and are living a happy life 10 years later. Fortunately with the help of the Chip Miller Charitable Foundation and other organizations, such as Amyloidosis.org, we are making a difference, at least with awareness.  We’re learning it’s very important that doctors are aware of this disease because it truly is easily misdiagnosed.  I’m proud to be able to help such a great cause that’s near and dear to my heart.  It also makes me happy to know my father is still making a positive impact like he continually did when he was alive and well.

 

CMNow that you have accomplished this major commendable goal, what do you have your sights set on next?

LMEnjoying life to the fullest with my lovely wife, beautiful daughter and my friends.  I’ve got plenty of dreams of my own and look forward to fulfilling them as time goes on. 

There’s one other accomplishment my father asked of me prior to his passing.  He wanted me to drive the C5-R Earnhardt Corvette in one of the vintage series races to “let people know the car is still out there”.  When he asked me to do this favor for him, I told him to twist my arm.  I also asked him when, he immediately said “you’ll know when the time is right”.  I recently sent the C5-R to Pratt and Miller for them to go over the car; I’ll be testing it at Gingerman Raceway (Michigan) in the near future.  Needless to say, I’ll be sure to vintage race the car, however I do have concerns with this effort – I love racing but I’ve only had the opportunity to run a car of this nature once and I was a tad intimidated and it certainly carries over to the C5-R.  You’re always asking yourself – what ifs.  You just have to keep in mind anything can be fixed. As my father would continuously say; LIFE IS GOOD!

In closing, we’re here on this earth once… just step back and treasure the life you have – enjoy each and every second because you don’t know where that curve in the road will bring you.  –Thank you very much

All of us here at Corvette Mafia want to thank Lance Miller for taking his time to speak with us in spite of his hectic schedule. 

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