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One of the best kept secrets about the 1960 Buick was the
Daytona durability run. This scheme was the brainchild of
Buick’s PR director, Jerry Rideout, and was conducted during
early January 1960.
The idea was to prove Buick’s reliability by driving a stock
1960 Invicta coupe on the Daytona track for 10,000 continuous
miles, at an average speed of 120 mph! To accomplish this, six
professional drivers were used, each in a 2-hour shift. Pit
stops were used for tires (only 1000 miles per set) and driver
Refueling, however, was handled in a very different and
innovative way. Inspired by the military’s mid-air
refueling of planes, Buick engineers developed a method to
do the same with the Invicta. A chase car was built with a
long refueling nozzle and apparatus to deliver 15 gallons of
fuel in 6 seconds. During the course of the Daytona run, 78
such refuelings were conducted at speeds between 115 and 125
The 10,000 mile run was successful, and Buick was awarded
Certificate of Outstanding Performance
from NASCAR president Bill France. The final tally was
10,000 miles in under 5000 minutes; average speed was
120.186 mph. By the way, the six drivers used on this feat
include some names you will recognize:
Fireball Roberts, Marvin Panch, Tiny Lund, Ralph Moody,
Larry Flynn, Bobby Johns, and Larry Frank.
Unfortunately, the entire affair smelled too much like
racing for GM management, and Buick was told to put a lid on
it. Not one to be shut down, Jerry Rideout “leaked” news of
the accomplishment to the press. The Detroit News broke the
(1/19/60). Both Motor Trend (April 1960) and Mechanix
Illustrated (June 1960) had feature articles. An 18-minute
movie of the event made by GM Photographic was eventually
shown at dealer training meetings, but by then it was old
news. (Today, a video of the movie can be purchased from
Dart Video Group, P.O. Box 190778 Mobile Alabama 36619.
This is a reprint of a
certificate presented to Buick Motor Division Management in 1960 certifying
a major 1960 Buick Endurance Test. A standard 1960 Buick Invicta was taken
off the assembly line and taken to the Daytona International Speedway.
Equipped with special tires and exhausts the car drove day and night,
refueling on the go for 10,000 miles without stopping. The car averaged
120.186 MPH. The car set over 10 endurance records for the time. Day and
Night drivers included
Flynn, Larry Frank, Bobby Johns, Tiny Lund, Ralph Moody, Marvin Panch, and
Their names are on the certificate. Buick had hoped to pull off one of the
marketing home runs for the year. Unfortunately, General Motors did not
allow Buick to advertise this incredible feat because it indicated speed
which was a no-no during this time of GM history. This reprint of the
original certificate has been in my personal collection since 1960 and I am
not aware of other certificates. There is some shelf wear to the frame and
some slight discoloration to the certificate itself, however overall this
has to be classified as being in excellent condition. This is a very rare
piece of Buick Nascar history and should be preserved by a serious
collector. It is signed by
France, Sr. who
was then President of NASCAR.
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Copyright © 1999-2005 FireballRoberts.com
by Roland Via. All rights reserved. Revised:
05/07/12 20:55:46 -0400.