1960 Chevrolet CERV-I
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 14-15, 2015
While this may look more like Jim Clark’s Indy 500-winning race car than a Corvette, rest assured, the Corvette would likely not exist as we know it without this car. This car was the creation of Zora Arkus-Duntov, father of the Corvette. He was also head of GM’s High Performance Vehicle department, from which this was born.
The mid-engined bug had been around for a few years before this car came to be. And when it did, it was supposed to fit a variety of roles: it was to be eligible for Indianapolis, Pikes Peak, as well as bolster support for the coming rear-engined Corvair.
The body is fiberglass and the car has had several different engines in its lifetime. The final engine, which it currently has, is a 6.2-liter V-8 making a lot of power. How about a little history: it showed up at the 1960 Pikes Peak hillclimb and after dozens of aborted runs, they decided that hillclimbing was not the way to go.
Dan Gurney and Stirling Moss then drove the car at Riverside in demonstration laps in conjunction with United States Grand Prix in 1960 and both would’ve qualified the car for the race. But this car was never destined for competition. Instead, Arkus-Duntov thought this could be the first car to lap Daytona at 180 mph. Jerry Titus could only achieve 162. So they added a big turbocharger.
When the CERV-II came around, GM wanted to scrap this thing. But Arkus-Duntov installed the current motor and ended up doing 206 mph at GM’s proving grounds. He saved it from the crusher and eventually gave it to Briggs Cunningham who later sold it to Miles Collier.
The current owned later acquired it from Collier and restored it to the condition you see here. This is an important car. It taught GM a lot of things that went directly into the Corvette. And the spirit of performance that this car created within Chevrolet lives on to this day. It is exceptional. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Update: Not sold.
Update II: Sold, Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2017, $1,320,000.