A special convertible Corvette, crafted exclusively as a tribute for the famed General Motors design chief Harley Earl, is soon to be auctioned.
The auction is slated for January 12 at Mecum’s event in Kissimmee, Florida. Dubbed the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Styling Car, it was a retirement present for Earl. He was the pioneer and leader of GM’s design division, responsible for iconic designs including the Buick Y-Job, widely recognized as the inaugural concept car. By the early 60s, Earl was preparing to pass the baton to Bill Mitchell, who led the design of the second-generation Corvette, debuting in 1963.
Overview of the Chevrolet Corvette
This Corvette, crafted for the retiring head of design, boasts unique stylistic elements. Some design inspirations were drawn from a concept car showcased at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. It is one of only four C2 Corvettes equipped with distinctive four-into-one side pipes (contrasting the regular production models), and sports a Metallic Blue finish complemented by a white hood graphic (a feature later adopted on the 1967 Corvette 427 models), paired with a two-tone blue and white interior.
Under its hood lies a 327-cubic-inch V-8 engine, capable of 300 horsepower, connected to a 4-speed manual transmission directing power to the rear wheels. Additionally, it features pioneering dual-circuit four-wheel disc brakes—introduced to standard Corvettes in 1965—and a cockpit reminiscent of an aircraft, complete with an altimeter and accelerometer.
1963 Chevrolet Corvette Harley Earl Styling Car (image courtesy of Mecum Auctions)
Earl received this Corvette at his residence in West Palm Beach, Florida, and it became a part of his regular driving fleet, as per the auction details. In 1965, he proudly drove it over 200 miles to Daytona Beach to serve as the grand marshal for the Daytona 500 NASCAR race, even participating in the parade laps. Notably, the race’s trophy is named the Harley J. Earl trophy.
Post-Earl, the Corvette was acquired by a military veteran from Maryland who took it on a cross-country journey. It underwent restoration in the 1980s with assistance from GM’s design team.
With its brief production span from 1963 to 1967, the C2 Corvette remains one of the most sought-after models, with the rarest versions fetching upwards of seven figures. This convertible, distinguished by its unique aesthetics and its link to an automotive design legend, is expected to attract a similarly high price at the upcoming auction.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about 1963 Chevy Corvette Auction
What is the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Styling Car?
The 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Styling Car is a unique, one-off Corvette convertible built as a retirement gift for Harley Earl, the legendary head of General Motors’ design department. This car features distinctive styling elements and a strong connection to the history of automotive design.
Who was Harley Earl?
Harley Earl was the influential head of General Motors’ design department, credited with numerous iconic designs, including the Buick Y-Job, recognized as the first concept car. Earl played a pivotal role in shaping the design language of American automobiles.
Where and when is the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Styling Car going to auction?
The car is scheduled for auction on January 12 at a Mecum event in Kissimmee, Florida. It represents a significant piece of automotive history, especially for collectors of classic American cars.
What are some unique features of the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Styling Car?
This Corvette boasts several unique features, including four-into-one side pipes, a Metallic Blue exterior with a white hood graphic, a blue-and-white two-tone interior, and an aircraft-inspired dashboard. It is powered by a 327-cubic-inch V-8 engine with 300 horsepower.
What is the significance of the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Styling Car in automotive history?
The car is a testament to Harley Earl’s impact on automotive design and the evolution of the Corvette. Its unique features and direct association with Earl make it an exceptional piece of automotive history, likely to attract significant interest at auction.
More about 1963 Chevy Corvette Auction
- 1963 Chevy Corvette Auction Details
- Harley Earl’s Design Legacy
- History of the Chevrolet Corvette
- Classic Car Auctions
- Iconic American Cars
- Automotive Design Evolution