At first, the whole thing seemed suspicious. Someone starts a thread on the Corvette forums, simply titled “Help with a unusual barn find.” The original poster, bereft of Chevy knowledge, says he’s unpacking an old friend’s garage, and has discovered a C3-chassis Corvette buried under boxes. He uploads a few close-up photos. They don’t add up. The car looks like a 1971, but has a hodgepodge of different model year parts; the odometer reads 00024, but the car’s been repainted red from the original yellow. Other forum members sense a rouse. “Rebuild parked in a barn with the speedo reset????” one of them posts, “Sounds like someone is doing a little 'fishing'.”
Then, the original poster replies:
“I have know of the car for 20+ years as the owner was a friend. I couldn't see the car as it was surrounded by stuff. My friend worked with GM (no for) developing racing engines.... He told me many stories over the years and seeing the car and the motor everything has checked out so far. Sadly my friend passed a year or so ago. The car was a race car from day one. I have a lot of digging to do, there are a lot of extra parts.... Research [...] I've attempted to add a pic of one set of the extra heads. As for the yellow, I don't know but it's now red white and blue.”
With that, he uploads two photos—the car’s roof, blue with white stars, and a set of 427ci cylinder heads. And then the whole thing starts making sense. The car hasn’t been resprayed, it’s wearing livery. The car has only logged 24 miles because the odometer rolls slowly in 1/8-mile increments. What the original poster has uncovered is an NHRA drag racer, called The General, with a rare original ZL1 crate engine. Considering the car’s racing moniker, and its owner's relationship with GM, this is probably a backdoor factory-encouraged racecar, something in the vein of Yenko or Greenwood.
There’s a lot more to this saga, including the discovery of the The General’s promotional tow car, another C3 Corvette, and a revelatory photo on the Kentucky Motorsport Hall of Fame website. It’s a great story, and the folks over at CorvetteForum.com are still piecing it all together. Bookmark the thread, then check back periodically. We’ll be doing the same.