#20 Driver: Marvin Panch
Smokey & Marvin
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A racer without a ride, in a car not meant to compete result in an extraordinary turn of events at the 1961 Daytona 500.
Prior to Smokey Yunick's death in 2001, Marvin Panch approached Smokey in regards to the location and possible restoration of the 1960 Pontiac Catalina that Marvin drove to victory in the 1961 Daytona 500. Smokey told Marvin that the original Catalina had been wrecked so severely during an Atlanta race in the early 60’s that the car had been sent to a local salvage yard for destruction. Smokey did, however, still possess all of the original parts from the Catalina from when it won the Daytona race. Once Marvin located another 1960 Catalina chassis, Smokey gave Marvin all of the original race parts to use on the recreated racecar. Sadly, Smokey Yunick passed away soon after, never seeing the completed project.
The reconstructed racecar is based upon a survivor 1960 2-door hardtop Pontiac Catalina originally built at the Pontiac, Michigan home plant. Robert Connell of RC Restorations in Kentucky performed a majority of the body restoration along with assistance from Doug Bendle of the Sixties Owners Society located in Tennessee. To ensure technical accuracy, the restoration used both documentation and photographs of the original car as well as first hand knowledge from Marvin.
Once the body restoration was finished in 2002, the car was shipped to Marvin's residence in Daytona Beach for installation of the original race equipment (engine, chassis parts, shocks, wheels, exhaust, spindles, driver’s seat, etc) provided by Smokey Yunick. Marvin, with the help of Karl Stairs (one of the original race mechanics) and Karl's sons performed the majority of the "race prep" work.
The only difference between the original Daytona winning racecar and the one on display today is a hand painted "In Memory of Smokey Yunick" memorial on the rear deck lid by Buz McKim as a tribute to the late Smokey Yunick.
Before computer modeling, wind tunnel testing and performance data analysis, Smokey Yunick hand modified a stock Pontiac chassis, its factory sheet metal & 389ci engine to turn 174 mph and up to 9,000 rpm for 500 miles.
Since its debut in 2002, the # 20 Pontiac has been maintained as a show piece, transported to major shows and events across the country in an enclosed, climate controlled carrier. The car has won many awards throughout the years including the prestigious Best in Class NASCAR Legends Award, presented by Bobby Allison at the 2005 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
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