Dick Moroso purchased a 1961 Corvette for $1,500 in 1963. This Maroon sports car ended up being the glue that bonded the father then son race team over the span of 35 years. All photos are from Moroso Performance Products facebook fan page
We happened to spy some photos of the late Dick Moroso’s famous 1961 Corvette drag car that he began campaigning in 1964. Moroso’s racing career started before he purchased the Corvette and he was already a class winner at the 1962 U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, Indiana. As a competitive driver his career was highlighted by racing the Red Moroso Corvette as the runner-up in the Street Eliminator event at the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis in 1966, finishing only behind Joe Lunati in a talent-packed field.
Dick’s Corvette and tow rig in 1966 with Rick Moroso in the forground.
Moroso’s Corvette had become the terror of the east coast in the C Modified Production and D Modified Sports classes but when his aftermarket automotive parts business began to take off, Dick retired from racing just two years after his career defining U.S. Nationals finish in Indianapolis. Moroso’s parts business had been started in the basement of his parent’s Connecticut home rapidly became Moroso Performance Products, Inc., a multi-million dollar company.
As Moroso continued to grow his business, he also groomed his two sons, Rick and Robbie, into the high performance world of automobile racing. While son Rick was being groomed to take over the company, younger son Robbie was being molded into a NASCAR stock car racer.
Rick Moroso began working the welding department of Moroso Performance and managed to work his way through every department in the company in short order. Rob began competing in NASCAR’s Busch Series, becoming the youngest driver to win a race in that series. In 1989, Rob won the Championship in the Busch Series which allowed his move to the Winston Cup series. Wasting no time, the younger Moroso showed promise and was a shoe-in for Rookie of the Year honors when tragedy struck and he was killed in a highway accident.
A picture is worth a thousand words. According to the caption on this photo, “This, is when we came out with wheel studs!”
Years later, Rick Moroso took his father’s old drag car out to win the 2002 NMCA/NSCA Hot Street Championship.
Rick Moroso had warmed up to drag racing through the elder Moroso’s vintage Corvette that sat in the corner of the Moroso shop. After Dick had retired the car, it sat in the shop except for a few outings when Dick loaned the car to friends. Rick brought the vintage racer back to life and took the machine back to action on a full-time basis again.
Moroso eventually guided the car to the for his first title. The car remains with the company and Rick continues to drive his cars on competition tracks, like the company’s own test track.
Looking through Moroso’s photo album on the Moroso facebook fan page, it’s fun to see the company’s venerable ’61 Corvette, and the many face changes over the years. Despite the dates on the pictures, and the passage of time, Dick Moroso’s $1,500 Corvette proved to be the glue that bonded Moroso Performance Products to racing.