• Designed 1965 World Champion Cobra Daytona Coupes
• Founded Brock Racing Enterprises (BRE)
• Two SCCA C Production titles
• Two SCCA Trans-Am Under 2.5-liter titles
• Instrumental in design of iconic Corvette Stingrays
• Successful automotive photojournalist & author
• 2013 Road Racing Drivers Club’s Phil Hill Award
Brock is best known for designing the 1965 World Champion Cobra Daytona Coupes and for his national championship-winning Brock Racing Enterprises (BRE) Datsuns. BRE Datsun 240Zs won the 1970 and 1971 SCCA C Production National Championships. BRE Datsun 510s captured the 1971 and 1972 SCCA Trans-Am Under 2.5-liter titles. After two years at GM Design, Brock came to Shelby American, where he helped conceive the shape of the groundbreaking 1959 Corvette Stingray race car and later 1963 Sting Ray production car. As Shelby American’s first employee, he ran the Carroll Shelby School of High-Performance Driving, a Bob Bondurant Driving School forerunner. He designed the Daytona Coupe and worked on the GT-350 street and race cars. After the Datsun years, Brock became a photojournalist, covering off-road racing and the 24 Hours of Le Mans and writing award-winning books on his Daytona Coupes and the Corvette Sting Ray. Brock was the recipient of the Phil Hill Award by the Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC) for outstanding service to road racing in 2013.
By John Morton
OK, it was naive of me at 20 to think that if I answered an ad in a sports car magazine for Carroll Shelby’s new School of High Performance Driving and drove the 2000 miles from Waukegan, Illinois to California, that Carroll Shelby would be my teacher. Didn’t happen. My heroes were Stirling Moss, Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, and Shelby. Imagine my disappointment when arriving at Riverside Raceway, I was met by a young man with a flattop. He said: “I’m going to be your instructor. My name is Pete Brock.”
I spent five days flogging the school car, Cobra CSX2000, around Riverside, tutored by Brock. Brock, as did I, wanted to be a race car driver and hoped a relationship with the Shelby organization might open that door. Brock wasn’t interested in discovering new talent. However, he did introduce me to Shelby when he came to the track to watch Billy Krause test the Cobra that would make its competition debut there in a few weeks. After the introduction to Mr. Shelby, I asked for and received an opportunity to work at Shelby American.
Pete and I didn’t cross paths much at Shelby American. But he was rumored to have spent some time at Art Center as well as a short stint at General Motors Design which indicated he had more than a gift for drawing. Besides teaching driving at Riverside, Pete did design work of sorts for Shelby, even redesigning the tacky Cobra emblem that Mr. Shelby had chosen. Me, I was busy sweeping floors, chasing parts, and learning to weld.
In what may have been a weak moment, Shelby chose Brock to reconfigure a Cobra chassis with a streamlined coupe body. The project was looked on skeptically until Ken Miles went 20 mph faster than a 289 Roadster down Riverside’s one-mile backstraight. Brock’s Cobra Daytona Coupe then brought the World Manufacturers Championship to America, becoming the stuff movies and eternal reputations are made of.
After we both left Shelby’s in ’65, Pete became just a guy I knew from Shelby’s. I was working at a small shop making oil pans for race cars and boats when Pete called in 1969 with an offer to work on his new Datsun racing team, building a second Datsun roadster. I took the job with the understanding that I’d get a tryout when the second car was finished.
As is often the case in business, the workers think they know more than the boss. That dynamic was prevalent at BRE, so from 1969 through 1972, Pete led the BRE team kicking and screaming to two SCCA Divisional Championships, two SCCA National Championships and two 2.5 Trans-Am Championships. The mark that Brock Racing Enterprises made in those three years is still celebrated as the beginning of the era of the Japanese car in America.
For those three years, everything fell into place for me. I had a team leader, Brock, who had gained infinite confidence in my abilities as well as a group of guys who felt the same way. Our faith in each other lifted us all to a level we may never have reached again.
Now in his 80s, Brock writes and photographs for magazines and, with his wife Gayle, runs a successful business manufacturing a Brock-designed race car trailer and selling BRE memorabilia.
Morton was lead driver for BRE from 1970, capturing the 1970 and ’71 SCCA C-Production national titles and 1971 and ‘72 2.5 Trans-Am championships. A journey immortalized in the brilliant “The Stainless Steel Carrot,” written by his wife, Sylvia Wilkinson.