JIM JEFFORDS started racing a Jaguar 120 in 1954 at Akron Ohio. Jim had success in that car and in 1955 moved up to a JAG 140 model and raced it thru the season
At the November 5-6, 1955 Road America SCCA Regional, JIM finally met Ed Cole, Chevrolet GM and asked “How can I get on the new CORVETTE team, Mr. Cole? Ed said, '' Go see Dick Doane, the Chevrolet dealer from Dundee, Ill and he then said if you can prove yourself I will do my best and get you into a production Corvette. to race at Memorial Weekend Road America race the folllowing May. However, a Corvette was never ready. Doane raced his new yet to be entered 56 Sebring Corvette at local hill climbs in the late fall 55 months, and Jim thought the nut behind the wheel should be changed, but how was he to prove to the world that his driving talent earned him the right to drive the Corvette.
In an article in Vintage Motorsport in the late 1990s, Jeffords told how he acquired his first Corvette. He got if from Chevrolet, but not until the spring of 1956, when he picked it up after the car had been raced at a Marlboro, Maryland event by another driver that he can not remember. He paid $2500 for the car after the race, then drove the car back to Milwaukee, straight pipes and all. That is the Corvette that Jeffords drove at the Milwaukee Regional May 20, 1956, finishing fourth overall, second in CM. He then drove the car in the 1956 RA June Sprints feature for modified sports cars, but was a DNF.
So Jim hopped back in his old Jag 140 and went out against Dr. Dick Thompson, Fred Windridge, Bark Henry and Ed Davis. These were the Corvette drivers of the day.
Jeffords drove the wheels off that little Jag and was leading the race with one lap to go, when on a downshift, the engine popped a freeze plug and the car limped to a DNF.
The fans and Ed Cole mobbed and praised Jim when he returned to the pits for his great driving ability. Jim raced his new modified Corvette in the feature on Sunday, and was a DNF.
That beginning led to Jim racing a Corvette for many years.
Doane Chevrolet helped Jim with his original 1956 Corvette C/P racer he competed in the following races with the car. There has been many questions about his first car. It may have been the # 3 Blue 1956 Sebring entry Dick Doane car, but at times Jim has been confused and says it was in 57. We discovered however, he racedd NASSAU on Dec 1-8, 1956 in a ''new'' 1957 fuel injection 4 speed car.
NOTE: Thank you RA Historian for the correction here.
May 1956 SCCA Regional Milwaukee, 4th
June 1956 SCCA National, Road America ''JUNE SPRINTS''
August 1956 Harewood Acres in Canada
October 1956 Smart Field
Finally, he got to drive a new FACTORY 1957 Fuel Injection, 4 speed car for the Chevrolet team at the FIA NASSAU SPEED WEEK, all sponsored by Ed Cole
Jim raced # 36, Dr. Dick Thompson raced # 15, Fred Windridge raced # 72, all painted in traditional white with blue coves, and blue racing stripes USA colors. Warren Flickinger drove the Artic Blue car for sponsor Doane Chevrolet. Nassau, Bahamas Governor’s Race, Class B,C, D on 12/7/56
108 Maroon Kurtis Cadillac L. Brero
117 Corvette Red, SR-2 ''Bill Mitchell'' R. Crawford
98 Ferrari- Carroll Shelby
15 white corvette- Dr. Dick Thompson
36 white corvette- Jim Jeffords
43 Blue corvette- W. Flickinger
72 white corvette- Fred Windridge
25 White Jag- John Fitch
13 Ferrari 800 Monza-Blue A. Portage
Marshall motors trailer in background
This NASSAU RACE CREATED THE '' REAL McCOY'' add that excited Corvette buyers world wide. Had Ed Cole and people like ZORA DUNTOV, JOHN FITCH and JIM JEFFORDS never entered the cars into competition, the CORVETTE would have never been made.
December 7, 1956 NASSAU, Governor’s Trophy 9th. The 5 lap Preliminary Nassau was raced and Jim qualified. The final Nassau Trophy race on Dec 9, 1956 Jim finished 24th OA.
SEBRING, MARCH 23-24, 1957
On March 23-24, 1957 Jim raced SEBRING Corvette # 3 Production car with Kilborn and Duncan. Lindsey Hopkins , Coke-Cola GM was listed as the entrant as by now Chevrolet was adhearing to the AMA factory ban on auto racing. The factory # 4 Production car was driven by Dr. Dick Thompson and GASTON ANDREY. The P3 car was a ''practice'' car for all Corvette drivers and would be used in the race, if the # 3 or #4 failed prior to the race start.
Jim and team finished 16th OA, 2nd in class. Two days after the SEBRING RACE, Jim bought the car for $2500......and ‘‘DROVE IT HOME TO MILWAUKEE !! On May 4, 1957 Jim entered the car in little SCCA club race, still in the familiar white / blue colors. He blew the engine, which prevented him in racing the May 19 SCCA REGIONAL at Cumberland, Maryland against Dr. Dick Thompson, CARROLL SHELBY and Steve Howe, all driving Corvettes.
Edited by Vettefinderjim, 18 January 2013 - 23:08.