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Corvette Racer and Tuner Dick Guldstrand Dies at 87

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 9/4/2015 Alex Nishimoto

Race car driver and well-known Corvette tuner Dick Guldstrand died on September 2 at the age of 87. Among many other accomplishments, he's remembered for his victories at the wheel of a Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, having won three SCCA Pacific Coast Championships and being the first to drive the Stingray at Le Mans in 1967.

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Guldstrand was born in Santa Monica, Calif., in 1927. Growing up in Southern California, he was exposed to car culture at an early age. He built and raced hot rods in the 1950s before being introduced to the car his name would be forever associated with: the Chevrolet Corvette. He got his hands on a 1956 model and immediately began tinkering. His talent for setting up the 'Vette's suspension for racing eventually got Chevy's attention, and by 1962 the chief engineer for the Corvette Stingray, Zora Arkus-Duntov, was personally supplying performance parts to Guldstrand. This allowed him to convert his 'Vette to Z06 spec, and helped him win his first SCCA Pacific Coast Championship in 1963.

He began racing for Roger Penske in 1966, driving a Corvette L-88 at Daytona to a GT class win. It was in 1967 that GM decided to take the Corvette racing again at Le Mans, and Guldstrand was on the automaker's short list of drivers. Together with fellow racing legend Bob Bondurant, Guldstrand showed what the second-generation Corvette could do until mechanical issues reared their head halfway through the race. The duo retired after 167 laps.

Dick Guldstrand© Provided by MotorTrend Dick Guldstrand In the years following, Guldstrand raced everything from Camaros in the Trans-Am series to Formula 2 Hondas. He opened a shop and launched his first tuned Corvette in 1985. Guldstrand became so closely tied to Chevy's sports car, he earned the nickname "Mr. Corvette." He was among the first inductees in the National Corvette Museum's hall of fame.

Our deepest condolences go out to Dick Guldstrand's family. He leaves behind an inspiring legacy and some incredibly capable cars that bear his name.

Photo Source: Motor Trend Archives

Dick Guldstrand© Provided by MotorTrend Dick Guldstrand
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