Local Corvette big hit at Pebble Beach - The Winfield Daily Courier: Top Story

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Local Corvette big hit at Pebble Beach

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Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 12:00 am

Jack and Donna Blatchford hung out Saturday with their red Chevrolet pickup truck at the 38th annual Last Run car show, as they do every year.

The Arkansas City residents parked in their usual spot by the canal in the northeast corner of Paris Park, across from the swimming pool.

Blatchford’s truck blended in among hundreds of other vehicles at the show, seemingly not drawing special attention.

But when Blatchford drove another Chevy vehicle onto the lawn of the 18th fairway at the Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links on Aug. 18 during a prestigious car show, he received a lot more attention.

Jack and Donna Blatchford, along with fellow Ark Citian Cliff Gottlob, were invited to the Concours d-Elegance by the owners of a Corvette race car that, in 1970, Gottlob and Jack Blatchford took to Daytona Beach, Fla.

Gottlob and David Dooley teamed up that year to race the 1967 L88 Corvette to second place during a 24-hour endurance test.

Each year, about 200 of the world’s top-ranking collector cars are shown at the Concours and the Corvette racer was among the entries this August, according to the Ark City participants and the show’s website, www.pebblebeachconcours.net.

The trip to Pebble Beach was planned by the car’s current owners, David Burroughs and Dana Mecum, Blatchford said.

Among vehicles shown at this year’s Pebble Beach event were antiques from 1906, a Simplex from 1909 and American classics from 1928, Blatchford said.

“The one that stood out and surprised a lot of people was the original Cliff Gottlob-owned L88, 427 c.i. (cubic inch) Chevrolet Corvette,” he said.

The car had been restored to its original post-race condition by Mike Ardito, of TriPower Automotive in Libertyville, Ill., Blatchford said.

“Unlike the other entries that were polished to and shined to perfection, this could be considered the ugly duckling,” he said.

Blatchford commended Gottlob’s effort years ago to prepare the car for the January 1970 Daytona race.

“Cliff Gottlob worked many hours to get the car ready,” he said.

“He was tired and the car wouldn’t fit on the trailer that they had, (but Blatchford) said ‘Let’s go,’ (and they) put mufflers on the car and drove the car 1,626 miles to the race.

“It was unsponsored and not expected to last 24 hours and get back to Ark City, but it did.”

The car’s current owners — Burroughs, former CEO of the Bloomington Gold Corvette show, and Mecum, with Mecum (car) Auctions — deserve “a big thank you” for organizing the Pebble Beach trip, Blatchford said.

During that car show, Gottlob and the Blatchfords achieved a sort of celebrity status, along with Burroughs and Mecum.

“We all kept busy signing autographs,” Blatchford said.

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