“Spring would bring increasing attention to plant operations as the Camaro was picked to pace the Indianapolis 500 mile race and accordingly Norwood would be scheduled to build the first of the 43 unit “500 festival” commitment cars. Always the showman-500 mile race president Anton “Tony” Holman invited members of the Chevrolet Norwood Management team to come to the speedway to drive the new Camaro pace car around the track to see “how the car would respond at speed”. In reality what the Speedway officials really wanted was to inspect was the build quality of the cars-in advance of the commitment car delivery.
In reply to the Speedway request Norwood senior Manager Herb Leitz and Comptroller Mel Zimmerman and several others took a couple of the commitment cars and drove them directly from Cincinnati to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where they were met by speedway officials who inspected the cars. With the convertible tops down-Norwood comptroller Zimmerman at the wheel, a speedway official in the passenger seat and Manager Herb Leitz in the back seat-the pace cars were then taken out to the track for the requested speed and handling testing session. The test session was completed without incident. The two Pace car replicas were then turned over to the Chevrolet Indianapolis Zone Office.”
NICB records obtained later on the entire 1967 Camaro commitment fleet-verifies the Leitz recollection as accurate-showing exactly one 050-A (the start of the commitment production batch) and one 050-B (the end) both trim tag code stamped pace car replicas-being identified by Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) both invoiced a full 7 full days earlier than the remaining cars-still stored in plant at Norwood.
Excerpt: Book “Echoes of Norwood General Motors Automobile Assembly in the Twentieth Century” by Philip Borris © 2013 Chev-Star LLC All Rights Reserved www.norwoodassenblyplant.com
Above: Plant Manager Herb Leitz accepts an award at Chevrolet Motor Division Norwood Plant
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