1969 Elliott Forbes-Robinson
#8 Corvette Race Car
Herb Caplan, better known as the “Jewish Kamikaze” because of his track exploits, flew to St. Louis in January of 1969 and picked up his Lemans blue 427 CID L-88. He and his wife, Alice, proceeded to drive back to their home in Sacramento, California.
This car, along with three other L-88 convertibles, were the first to be equipped with the open chamber cylinder heads which were part of a factory “Service Package.” The car was also equipped with a “Distance Kit” for racing, which contained fender flares, wheel spacers, headlight boxes and plastic headlight covers. This kit was stored where the convertible top normally was located. These four cars were known as the “lightweights” due to a supposedly fewer number of layers of fiberglass, but were never acknowledged as such by Chevrolet.
Caplan campaigned the car on the West Coast where he went on to win an incredible 46 races out of 49 starts. He was Northern Pacific Division Champion for SCCA A-Production in 1969, 1970 and 1971.
Caplan sold the Corvette in 1971 to Gary Bergman of Santa Clara, California, who did very little racing with the car. Bergman sold the Caplan car to Phyllis Stiles of Los Altos, California in 1972. Phyllis, along with the help of her son, John, and driver, Jim Barber, campaigned the car in 1972, 1973 and 1974, competing in SCCA West Cost A-Production races.
The car had limited success and was parked in 1975. It sat until 1978 when Phyllis managed to secure the services of well-known driver,
Elliott Forbes-Robinson. With Forbes-Robinson at the wheel, the Corvette earned enough divisional points in SCCA A-Productions to qualify for the Champion Spark Plug Classic at Road Atlanta in October of 1978. This was the last A-Production race ever to be held and, with Forbes-Robinson driving the L-88 against an all-Corvette field, the Pacific Racing Team of Phyllis
Stiles won the championship.The L-88 was in Phyllis’ garage from 1978 until the spring of 1990 when it was purchased by Larry Zane. It is still in its as-raced state since its victory at Road Atlanta 1978. The car now resides in our MY Garage Museum.