Lap 10 - Dave Clark, Lotus Seven Racer and Friend
Sy established quite a client list during
the three year existence of his distributorship, but one name
does stand out as more than a simple buyer/seller relationship.
Dave Clark was a very accomplished Lotus Seven racer, whose success
was proclaimed in advertising for Grand Prix Imported Cars in
the SCCA Sports Car magazine in December of 1961.
Left: Grand Prix Ad appeared
in December 1961 SCCA Sports Car Magazine
Right: Dave Clark
featured as a successful user of "Oilzum"
Lotus records indicate that in 1962, two
Sevens, #1357 (red) and #1365 (green) were ordered through Weathermatic
Corporation for customer Dave Clark. The first car left the Lotus
works on January 2 of 1962, while the second left on the 17th
of the same month.
A letter from Sy addressed to Knobby Clark
at Lotus dated March 5, 1962 refers to the two Sevens ordered
by Dave Clark, and again indicates the challenges of dealing
with Lotus on a business level and Sy's frustration in trying
to keep Grand Prix as profitable as possible:
Unfortunately, parts shipped separately incur additional expenses
that are completely wasteful. For example the two (2) Lotus Super
Sevens purchased by Dave Clark were to com equipped with close-ratio
gears installed at the works. The cars were shipped with
normal gear and the close-ratio gears were shipped separately.
Our original invoice included £5 per car for the installation
of these gears and subsequently we were forced to pay duty and
handling for these gears making our total extra expense per car
$74.00 or almost £27 1/2 per car. A similar loss was incurred
when the extra tires for these two cars were shipped C.O.D. separately
and we incurred $80.00 or something over £28 in expenses
that we would not have to pay if the tires were shipped with
I would therefore appreciate your approving
credits to our account in the amounts of £55 to cover the
two close-ratio gear sets and £28 for the tires. More important
than the credits, however, is the closer communications to avoid
these expenses which neither of us can afford if our operation
is to be successful.
With kindest personal regards.
Very truly yours,
S. C. Kaback
1962 Virginia International Raceway
Excerpt of story
by Dick Gilmartin
April 1, 1962 Saturday
2:40 - Lotus Super 7 - Dave Clark C Production
Race No. 4, Class A. B
and C production
Dave Clark. Lotus Seven Sunbeam 9th overall, 1st in class. Back
in the pack, starting sixteenth overall, was Dave Clark's Lotus
Super 7 leading a pair of Daimlers and Morgans and a new Alfa
2000. On the ninth lap Grossman eased ahead of Thompson in the
tight curve at the end of the pit straight, and led by a few
car lengths until the seventeenth lap. On the eighteenth Thompson
made a bid to regain the lead on the treacherous down-hill esses
and got by. Then Grossman pitted with much indignation, and it
was finally learned that he had passed Thompson on a yellow flag
and was disqualified by the Chief Steward. The remainder of the
race was run without any change in the lead cars. It was Thompson
in the "A" Corvette, and Don Yenko scoring his second
straight B Production victory in his Corvette after a race-long
duel with Bruce Jennings' Porsche Carrera. First C Production
car in was the Lotus Super 7 of Dave Clark.
In an article in the Globe dated 10-29-61,
Arthur Kelly states that in his first year of racing, 1961, Dave
Clark took 25 trophies in 27 starts. He went on to take 25 trophies
in 28 meets in 1962 and he also took the National SCCA Class
C Production Championship that year. Asked about his incredible
success, Dave reported that the Lotus 7 had unusual cornering
ability, was very light, had good road handling ability, and
that the driver could hit the brakes much later when going into
a turn, which was a big advantage over other heavier cars. When
asked about the prospect of professional racing, Dave maintained
that racing would remain a hobby as he liked his work too much.
In a New York Times article dated 12-27-61,
Frank Blunk lists Mark Donohue as the most improved driver and
continues: "Dave Clark, who started the season as a novice
is the region's driver of the year. He won 27 trophies."
Sy Kaback remembers his friend...
The only one [of the previous list] I remember
is Dave Clark who was a very good friend of mine. I have some
photos of him in his Lotus 7. He was an outstanding driver and
was at one time the National Champion. He had an interesting
life. He dropped out of school in the 8th grade and was a hobo,
but had a 200 I.Q! After the war, he went to college on the GI
Bill and went straight through to get his Ph.D. He was an engineer
for Bell Sound Labs and later the head of the computer dept.
at the University of Arizona. When we both gave up racing, we
took up sailing together. Unfortunately, Dave developed MS and
died in the early 90's.
Dave Clark ca. 1970