The Purple People Eater MKIII is a 1959 Corvette that was literally unbeatable in SCCA B-Production racing in the late 1950s. There were three Purple People Eaters built in 1958 and 1959. The 1959 model, won every race it entered, except the last one, with Jim Jeffords behind the wheel and mechanic Ronnie Kaplan turning wrenches. The car was built by a team at Nickey Chevrolet in Chicago.
When the crankshaft broke on Gary Laughlin’s Ferrari Monza he had had enough. Being the owner of several Chevrolet dealers, he turned to Peter Coltrin to have a few rebodied. Fortunately, they pursued Sergio Scaglietti who made three fastback coupes on the Corvette chassis.
In 1959, the bones of the SS were revived when Bill Mitchell secretly funded the Stingray race car. Mitchell purchased the chassis of the 1957 SS race car mule for $500 and had a design team create a new body. Mitchell felt the first generation Corvettes were too rounded and soft, so the Corvette Sting Ray Racer featured a sharper body edge that made it work.