Jim Jeffords

Palm Desert CA

Jim Jeffords kicked off his racing career in 1954 at the age of 27, married with four young boys and living in Milwaukee. By the end of 1960, he was a respected champion truly on the ascendancy when a mysterious allergy hospitalized him for nine months and ended his career. For his first two seasons, he raced a Jaguar XK120, a 140 and a Mercedes 300SL Gullwing. In May ’56, Jeffords approached Ed Cole, then GM of Chevrolet about getting a ride on the Corvette factory team. That Memorial Day Saturday at Road America, Jim made his statement by besting the top Corvette drivers of the day…Dick Thompson, Fred Windridge, Bark Henry and Ed Davis…until his XK140 popped a freeze plug on the last lap. As a reward, Cole gave him John Fitch’s Sebring Corvette to race on Sunday. He was in with Corvette. In ’58 and ’59, he campaigned the Purple People Eater Vettes out of Nickey Chevrolet in Chicago, winning class in 29 of 42 races and a pair of B Production National Championships. He purchased and successfully raced Lance Reventlow’s #002 Scarab in ’59. Lucky Casner put Jeffords in a CAMORADI #687 HD Brake/Suspension optioned Vette for the Cuban Grand Prix in 1960 where he took the GT win in two races. After a fraught LeMans in June, Jeffords bought one of Casner’s LeMans Birdcage Maseratis and won the first ever professional sports car race at Road America, beating Jim Hall to the checkered flag, his last win as a driver. In 1968, he managed the AMC Trans-Am team for Peter Revson and George Follmer. He’s now a Vice President at Road America where he has been a member of the Board of Directors since 1958. Jeffords was inducted into the Corvette Museum Hall of Fame in 2002.

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