Most people would be a bit taken aback when entering George Crass’ garage. That’s because the majority of people wouldn’t expect to see three race cars, one of them in which had a podium finish at Le Mans, stored quietly away in a residential neighborhood. Yes, Mr. Crass owns a modest house, but of course, with a big garage. A garage where he stores his Cadillac LMP1 prototype, Nissan Group C car and Corvette C5.R, the #50 car from Le Mans in 2003.
The people over at LSXTV were fortunate enough to interview Crass about the car, its history and how it came to be in his possession.
According to Crass, he has been a Corvette guy all his life, and sold his old Chevy Nova to buy a 71’ Corvette in what he says is the ugliest color ever – Warbonnet Yellow. He followed that up with a ’66 Corvette in Milano Maroon and then a 1973 Corvette race car in which he wrecked on his first time out. Many years and a few more cars later, including a few prototype race cars a Grand Am Mustang, Crass wanted to buy a C5.R and inquired his friend,car collector Robert Patrella, who owned both chassis No. 8 and No. 9.
” I called one of the guys who worked at Robert’s shop who he had listed as a contact when he was trying to sell it, and when I talked to him and asked him the various questions, I think he was taken because I knew more about the car than he did, and Robert for that matter,” said Crass. “Robert had 40 some cars in his collection, and of course he had two of the same car and he decided he just had to get rid of one.”
Crass says he couldn’t afford any of the Le Mans class winning Corvettes, like the No. 63 car from 2001, as he would’ve had to sell his house, wife, kids and everything else to afford it. So he opted for this car, which finished a respectable second at Le Mans 2003.
“When I looked at the condition of it, it had been restored by Pratt & Miller – what more do I want? I’m not going to be able to find one in better condition. It’s got some of the fewest races on it, it’s got the Le Mans second place finish. Everybody wants #3 the (Daytona 2001 car driven by the Earnhardts) but that’s not going anywhere any time soon.”
As for why he bought the car Crass says he loves to race when he can find the time.
“Any car I buy, I intend to race – do I have the time to? No, I used to have all the time in the world to race.”