1964 Chevrolet CERV II
Offered by RM Auctions | New York, New York | November 21, 2013
The Chevrolet CERV (Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle) program was a series of five cars that were test beds for upcoming models (generally Corvette-related). The original CERV-I of the late-50s was more of an open-wheel race car than a road-going prototype.
The CERV-II was completed in 1964 and it was built under the supervision of Zora Arkus-Duntov, the father of the Corvette. Remember how every time a new generation of the Corvette is on the horizon, rumors abound that it will be mid-engined? Well you can thank this car for that. It is indeed mid-engined and came about the same time as the GT40. Duntov wanted to build five or six of them and compete at Sebring and Le Mans. The racing plans were quashed by GM, but one car was built anyway.
The first engine was a 6.2-liter V-8 making 500 horsepower. Dependent on gearing, it could do 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds or top out at 212 mph. Both are extremely impressive today. Also: it was four-wheel drive, which was unheard of in a sports racing car like this back in the day.
Later on, Duntov found a 7.0-liter (427) ZL1 V-8 engine and stuffed it behind the driver’s seat. It is conservatively estimated to make 550 horsepower (probably more like 700 in reality). It also weighs 1,848 pounds! Duntov thought it could’ve broken Mark Donohue’s 221+ mph closed-course speed record. It was never attempted.
The car was later donated to the Briggs Cunningham Museum in California and remained there until it closed in 1986 and was sold. The current owner bought it in 2001 and made sure every piece was period-correct. Just about everything on this car is original, including the paint, which is part of the reason this is probably the coolest car in this sale (and this sale is packed tight with unbelievable cars). Just the fact that it is so outrageous and has survived this long is a testament to how important these Corvette technology test cars are.
Update: Sold $1,100,000.