A piece of history left me today, something that I have owned and cherished for 47 years, a vehicle that changed my life when I was 22 years old. A silver 1966 Corvette Coupe that had 19,000 miles on the odometer when I purchased it in 1971. The mechanical knowledge I gained from building this car made me a champion at Autocross and SCCA Solo 1 road racing. Nelson Ledges Road Course, a 2.3-mile circuit, was my home track and in 1973 I set the track record which held until 1979. I was told NOT to build this Corvette for the Race Prepared Class. They said I was too young, too poor, and certainly did not have the driving experience. I will admit that I was young and didn’t have much money, however, I was working a day job in Traffic and Transportation, and in the evenings I was rebuilding wrecked Corvettes. As for driving, what my critics didn’t know was that I loved speed; the faster I could get a Corvette to go, the happier I was. Those of you who know the terrain in Western Pennsylvania realize that most of our roads are two-lane country, hilly, with plenty of curves. Back then I was mastering the art of 4-wheel drifting. My first time racing the 66 Corvette at Nelson’s Ledges I finished 2nd out of 144 Corvettes. I only had 1 person to beat, and that happened in 1973 when I set the track record.
Life is amazing, many of us go through life being told “You can’t do that,” “You can’t build high performance diesel engines for truckers,” “You can’t take a Big Cam 400 Cummins and produce 800 horsepower and expect it to live.” The list goes on and on. The most recent one, “You can’t pilot a boat to the Bahamas, you have never been out of sight of land on a boat. You have never had a class on reading a chart and navigating a larger boat, and it’s only you and Debbie. You can’t do that!” Well, Debbie and I did it last summer. Maybe someday people will quit telling me “I can’t do that.” In the meantime, I’ll continue to do what others say can’t be done.
Many of the articles compiled here where written by Bruce Mallinson. Attribution to other contributors is given in the specific articles.