The SHELBY AMERICAN
Spring 2016 43
Jim Hall’s innovative Chaparral 2C was the hot ticket in 1965.
The United States Road Racing Championship, a professional
series for unlimited Group 7 two-seat sports racers, was about
to morph into the Can-Am in 1966. Hall, a Cal Tech-educated
engineer funded by his family’s Texas oil money, was secretly as-
sisted by Chevrolet because the company was officially “out of
racing.” Hall’s Midland, Texas facility was a de facto GM skunk
works, experimenting with aerodynamics – especially spoilers
and wings. Powered by a small block Chevy, the car also ran a
unique two-speed automatic transmission which was shrouded
in mystery. In the paddock the Chaparral Team covered the rear
of the cars with a tarp, which only fueled speculation. Hall and
team driver Hap Sharp were unbelievably successful in the 2C,
winning 16 out of 21 races.