With regret, we would like to take this moment to inform everyone of the passing of long time SCCA and Vintage Corvette owner and racer Jim Herlinger. Jim died on September 21, 2010 at age 70.
Jim will be missed by many in the vintage racing community.
Jim remembered from his childhood every Memorial Day sitting by the radio with his Mom and Dad listening to Paul Page broadcast the Indy 500.
As Jim entered high school, his interest in speed and cars was again afflicted, as with so many of us, by hot rods! After high school Jim earned a Mechanical Engineering degree at Stanford. On graduating from Stanford, he found a dream job working for Ford in their "racing division". While at Ford, Jim was eager to try his hand at racing so he went through driver's school in a Porsche Speedster.
Shortly after, Jim returned to the Bay area and entered the "high tech" scene. Continuing his racing activity, Jim started campaigning in a Formula Vee and was soon the car to beat.
After racing Formula Vee's for a few winning years, Jim felt that racers' urge for more speed. After considering a number of options, Jim homed in on a Corvette as the prices were right and spares were easy to get. Of course it helped that his brother Dave owned a Corvette repair business. The search was on and Jim found a good car in Los Angles which turned out to be one of the James Garner L88 American International Racing (AIR) team cars. With a coat of red paint and in Jim's hands the Coca Cola Corvette set track records and counted many wins.
After a few more years and a few more race cars, family and business put Jim's racing life on hold for a while.
With the emergence of vintage racing, Jim got the bug again and decided to try his hand. As vintage racing grew, it was apparent that the pedigree of the car had a lot to do with it's acceptance at various events. Remembering the James Garner history of the Coca Cola car, he triggered a long search for it. Along the way they found all three of the AIR cars. On finding the #44 car, Jim had his brother do a magnificent restoration back to its original condition and appearance. The historic #44 James Garner AIR Corvette was back and again seen on the track, sometimes with Dick Guldstrand at the wheel.
Vintage racing pleased Jim. In a story scheduled to appear in Victory Lane, some of Jim's views on vintage racing will be published. Perhaps the most important point Jim makes is that ..."Vintage racing is a "gathering of the clan". A lot of the people here are old racers. So at any event you're going to see people you haven't seen for years. I tend to judge the quality of an event on the quality of the parties. The social side is very important for me. Now, in my ten to fifteen years of vintage racing, I've taken my cars to England and I have taken the Baldwin-Mercury Special to New Zealand three times. I enjoy these trips and I make a lot of friends along the way."
To add to his growing car collection, Jim recently acquired the Pratt & Miller C5R-005 Corvette that Ron Fellows drove to the ALMS GTS championship in 2003. His hope was to put in some good laps with the C5R but sadly he never made them.