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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.