Video: Smokey Yunick Rails On The First Corvettes

We saw this little number over on YouTube and had to share it. It’s a series of quotes made by the late-great Smokey Yunick to GM execs in the early 1950’s. Ed Cole had brought Smokey in as a consultant to help turn the new Corvette into a complete racing machine, and with Smokey’s background in NASCAR and Indy cars they felt he’d be the right guy for the job. What Ed didn’t know is that Smokey called ’em like he ‘same em.

His first response to Ed Cole about the Corvette was, “How the hell can a Corvette win a road race with a heavy frame, a 3-speed Grandpa Jones transmission bolted to an inline-six with a rubber crank, and 20-year-old brake technology, all attached with a suspension system just a little bit better than a manure spreader? What about some disc brakes, a 5-speed, 4-wheel independent suspension, another 100 horsepower, and getting rid of that weight?”

He went on to tell Zora Duntov, the father of the Corvette, that his driving abilities on the race track in the Corvette were, on a scale of 1 to 10, “about a 6.” That did not help things with Chevy, and eventually they gave Smokey the ax. After being fired by Ed Cole, Smokey said “I can tell you not to call their next year’s models junk if you want to get paid by them. I know first hand that’ll tick ’em off!”

About the author

Robert Kibbe

Robert Kibbe is the owner of and host of the weekly Muscle Car Place podcast show. He's based in Ames, IA, is married with 3 kids, and still thinks the General Lee is cool.
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