Chevrolet CERV-I

1960 Chevrolet CERV-I

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 14-15, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

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.

Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle II

1964 Chevrolet CERV II

Offered by RM Auctions | New York, New York | November 21, 2013

1964 Chevrolet CERV II

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.

If you’re a serious Corvette collector, this is a car you must have. It should sell for between $1,400,000-$1,800,000. You can check out more here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $1,100,000.