Everybody knows Peter Brock for a different reason. To historic Corvette fans he’s the guy who penned the lines of the original Sting Ray racer and by extension the production 1963 Corvette.
To Cobra fans, Peter’s the guy who took the brick-like Shelby Cobra roadster and turned it into the slippery Cobra Daytona Coupe – the first American car to beat out the European regulars and grab the FIA’s GT World Championship, motorsports’ ultimate prize in worldwide sports-car racing. America got its first World Championship-winning sports car, and Peter got a firsthand education in negotiating the world of provincial race officials. That education was about to serve him well.
Datsun devotees love to remember the Pete Brock of Brock Racing Enterprises during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s; that fun-loving hipster who, behind his crowd-pleasing polka-dot scarves and hip-hugging slacks, coolly called the shots as BRE’s 510 coupes decimated the Alfas and BMWs of the Trans-Am 2.5 series.
In Japan, Peter’s become a serious motoring celebrity. His success with BRE earned him a lot of respect, while his outrageous Hino Samurai Group 7 prototype – a wildly showy mid-engined GT for the prestigious Japan GP series – made him a cult hero.
While teaching auto design in the early ‘90s back at his Alma Mater, Art Center College of Design, Brock decided to start writing about racing and illustrating his stories with photographs he had taken. “I started by writing a history of the Shelby era, ‘Daytona Cobra Coupes’. This book created a series of inquiries from magazine editors to cover upcoming races. After turning down the opportunity to go to Le Mans three years in a row I decided maybe I didn’t have my priorities in order and I jumped in. It just kind of took off then”, he says, “getting a life of its own. It was a way to stay closely involved with cars and racing. I love racers and the art of building fast cars. With all the roles I’ve had in the industry, I’m first and foremost a designer. I can’t look at a design and not evaluate its racing capabilities and esthetics. It doesn’t matter what type of racing is involved because I’ve found that all racers are driven by the same desire to just do something better than the next guy.”
Then needing a trailer to tow his own car, Brock was amazed at the lack of understanding of aerodynamics in the trailer industry and decided to design and build his own trailer. When done, he was approached by others who said they wanted one too. His wife, Gayle, named it the Aerovault and began their trailer business which to-date has built and sold more than 100 Aerovaults out of their home base in Henderson, NV. In addition, Brock is involved in public speaking, personal appearances, Concours judging and is still involved with design such as the South African-built Superformance Brock Coupe and a luxury watch he designed with Baume & Mercier.
Brock’s a man who’s never stopped looking and never stopped asking the interesting questions. That trait has led him into a bunch of successful careers, any one of which would be a good lifetime’s achievement for most folks. In highlights alone, Brock’s a hugely influential Corvette stylist; a World Championship racecar designer; a Trans-Am winning team owner; a happily married A-list photojournalist who shoots races with Gayle, a world renowned photographer on her own; and now a successful trailer manufacturer. You could also throw in Art Center professor, book author, engine developer and hang glider designer and pilot. In short, we’re talking about a guy who proves the value of never being afraid to explore the next thing down the road.
The Brocks’ most recent award-winning books on Peter Brock’s car design experiences: