The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
bv Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner
The ZL1 Camaros from the Fred Gibb racing era are coming to La Harpe plus a whole lot more.
A special appearance by race car driver Jim Hayter is scheduled this year under the big "autograph tent" along with Fred Gibb's family, and Bill Porterfield, and Herb Fox of La Harpe. Herb was Gibb's top salesman and raced Gibb's 1967 Z/28 "Lil Hoss" to fame breaking records in 1968.
La Harpe not only claims the Fred Gibb legacy of which La Harpe community members such as Mayor Ken Brown and Bob Lionberger, and Jerry Burford are keeping alive, but also lays claim to Herb Fox. who remembers the era quite will.
Now, this will be the first time that Hayter, who won Nationals driving Gibb's 1969 ZL1, has been a feature at the Gibb show, now in its 8th year.
Gibb passed away shortly after Bill Porterfield restored his famous 1969 ZL-1 then brought it by Fred's house in La Harpe for him to see. If Porterfield had not found the car, then kept such good care in details and restoration, the Gibb Memorial car show may not have grown to an annual event. And there are so many others who have taken such care in restoration who come together in La Harpe.
There are so many around who were influenced by the Fred Gibb legacy or were part of it, that this annual event continues to grow.
Joining the Gibb show from the beginning were around forty members of The Maple City Street Machines in Monmouth.
They are excited to be a part of the Gibb show, hosting a Cruise Night Friday before the show (August 4th) which has grown to be the largest in West Central Illinois. They will feature Ken Barnhart's 1969 ZL-1 (Elgin, IL) which he bought originally from Fred Gibb and his matching orange 2002 ZL1 SuperCamaro.
The free cruise night in Monmouth has grown to more than 19 city blocks plus the public square. Many of the Gibb muscle cars will be there. Over 1600 cars were there last year with an estimated 25,000 spectators walking the streets to enjoy the variety of cars, truck, motorcycles, etc..
A special feature car in Monmouth will be Gary Goudie's of Knoxville, who acquired a Shelby SC Cobra CSX1001 which he won in a raffle supporting Carroll Shelby Children's Foundation for acute coronary and kidney care.
The car was owned by Shelby and made in 2002, a reproduction of his first Shelby made in the 60s and is valued over a million dollars.
Shelby, now 83, says he wouldn't be here today if it hadn't been for a heart transplant he had received. The Maple City Street Machines will be conducting a 50/50 raffle at the show to support the Shelby Children's Foundation. Shelby has had a remarkably long career as a driver, owner, team manager, manufacturer, consultant, and visionary. Early in his career, Carroll's accomplishments as a race car driver included winning the 24-hour Le Mans in 1959 alongside teammate Roy Salvadori. As a team manager, Carroll was a part of the FIA World Grand Touring Championship as well as Ford GT victories at Le Mans. The result of this vision was what is considered perhaps the greatest sports car and one of the fastest road cars ever constructed - the Shelby Cobra. The aluminum-bodied 289 and 427 Cobra models and the subsequent Shelby Mustangs he built for Ford, made Carroll Shelby a household name in the 1960s.
The Gibb Story:
Fred Gibb started his Chevrolet dealership in 1948 and sold it in 1984.
Gibb had already had leaders in the racing world looking up this small town dealership after his first 1967 Z/28 called "Lil Hoss," driven by his top salesman, Herb Fox, broke several records and was the A.H.R. A. World Championship Stocker in 1968.
In 1968, Gibb ordered 50 COPO Novas equipped with 396/375 h.p. engines and heavy-duty Turbo Hydra-matic specially prepared by Hydramatic which he entered in the racing circuit.
But, it was his brainchild, the 1969 ZL-1 with its all aluminum 427 in the Camaro that was the "ultimate racing car", that brought Gibb fame.
Gibb ordered fifty 1969 ZL1 Camaros he had designed for racing in August of 1968. When they arrived that evening, New Year's Eve, it was -22 degrees and the cars would not start due to the cold batteries, so Fred pulled them out using a wrecker.
Each cost $7,269, a shock to Fred Gibb who was given an estimate of $4900 each. The #1 car was sent to Dick Harrell's performance center in Kansas City, MO and converted into an AHRA legal super Stocker. It was given a gold base and painted a candy apple red and intricate gold lace panels added.
The first time on the track, employee Herb Fox drove the ZL- 1, defeating the two cars with the fastest qualifying times. From there, it went on to beat AHRA S/S driver of the year, Ronnie Sox.
Herb was eventually eliminated, but the ZL1 served notice that it was a contender.
In 1969, the car continued running for Gibb logging over 30,000 miles racing in 15 major cities and other tracks. The car's best time was 10.05 seconds 139 mph. (AHRA Record 10.22 sec. - 136.98 mph.)
In 1971, Gibb hired Jim Hayter Pro Stocker to campaign the car. At Hayter's direction, a lot of weight was removed, a Rally Sport grill installed so the headlight assemblies could legally be removed and a "Grump lump" style hood scoop was added. It was very successful. At the A.H.R.A. World Points Finals in Fremont, California October 8, 1971, the car set a record of 9.63 seconds at 143 mph and won the Pro Stock World Championship! After the 1971 season, Gibb sold the car and it eventually ended back in the hands of its current owner, Bill Porterfield.