John Staver, Ed Grierson and Bill Larson were responsible for the Echidna, a racecar named after an obscure Australian anteater. They combined their skills to create lightweight versions of the Corvette to go racing in the SCCA B-Modified and C-Modified class. The cars were raced by family and friends, and sometimes by the three themselves. Their initial goal was to build three cars for 1958 season.
The trio based the Echidna largely around the Corvette. Each car started by shortening a Chevrolet frame by about twenty inches then narrowing it by six. With added rigidity in the frame, they used stock Chevrolet front suspension arms with coil springs and narrowed a stock Chevy Posi-Traction rear axle. Brakes were the Corvette drum brake type with metallic linings. Custom castings were made for the drums which included 96 fins cooling fins.
Chevrolet engines powered the Echidna, having custom calibrated Rochester mechanical fuel injection. Other modifications included a stroked displacement to 339 cubic inches, larger valves, ported heads and roller tappet camshaft. A standard Corvette, aluminum-cased, Borg-Warner T-10 4-speed gearbox was used. The cars were covered in a fiberglass body made by Bill Devlin. His product was both lightweight and functional.
On the track, the Echidna faced stiff competition at events like Road America from the Lister-Jaguars, Ferrari 750 and 860 Monza, Mondial and Testa Rossa, Maserati 450S, Lister Corvette and Jaguar D-type. In two seasons, Echidnas started 35 races and won 8 overall victories and 17 class wins.
During their sale of exceptional motorcars at the Pebble Beach Equestrian Center, Chrisites auctioned chassis number one, the first Echidna Special created. Unfortunately the car did not sell. having an estimated value of 160,000 – 200,000 U.S. dollars.
1958 Echidna Special Gallery
Series Production Car
Portland, Oregon, USA
2 Valve per Cyl
Rochester Mechanical Fuel Injection
5555 cc / 339.0 in³
268.5 kw / 360.1 bhp
64.82 bhp per litre
396.59 bhp per tonne
body / frame
Fibreglass body over Steel Space Frame
Wishbones w/Coil Springs
Live Axle w/Coil Springs, Trailing Arms, Watts Link