Not just these two icons: the Petroleum Museum in Texas has seven amazing Chaparral racecars in their collection.
These are the Chevrolet-powered racecars that changed the face of racing forever: the ideas and innovations represented by Chaparral in its relatively short run at the top of pro racing are still extremely influential today.
The ideas seem simple – but are near-impossible to deliver in full race-winning form.
Jim Hall’s Ideal Chaparral Racecar:
+ High downforce – with wings attached directly to the suspension versus to the bodywork
+ Huge power via reliable engine
+ Massive grip on long-lasting tire setups
None other than Bruce McLaren and Gordon Murray were extremely influenced by Jim Hall and his Chaparral cars — but they also reinvigorate everyone who sees their simple execution in the flesh.
These cars are the rarest of the rare. The only reason they are all together, one might argue, is that the Petroleum Museum is in Hall’s home town of Midland, Texas.
But for car fans, this is a godsend. It means they are not locked away in some collector’s garage, but are open and viewable by the public nearly every day.
And for even more thrills? The Petroleum Museum fires them up monthly for a quick spin around the parking lot, to keep them mechanically fresh. You can schedule your trip around these live action exhibit days to get the full Chaparral experience of a lifetime.
Plan your trip now via the Petroleum Museum’s web site, linked below.
Official Details below from the Petroleum Museum.
Chaparral 2H and 2J
The science of aerodynamics was never completely appreciated by automobile designers until James Ellis Hall revolutionized the sport in his Chaparral Racing Cars. Jim Hall is revered by the world’s racing community as the innovator who introduced the movable wing in 1965. His aerodynamic wing, ground effects and light weight construction materials transformed auto racing as well as passenger car safety and fuel efficiency in the 20th Century. With great cars and talented drivers, the Chaparral team won fame worldwide, and gave American race fans a team for which to cheer.
Throughout the 1960s—and into the 1970s and the 1980s—Jim Hall and his team at Chaparral Cars designed, built and raced legendary race cars that thrilled fans, amazed the competition and were considered the most innovative cars of their time. Working quietly from their Midland shop, the Chaparral team took race car engineering to new levels of performance.
One Chaparral is driven in the front circle at the Museum about every other month (weather permitting). The running of the Chaparrals is part of the routine maintenance to keep the cars in running condition. If you would like to receive an email notification when a live drive will occur, please contact Luanne Thornton.