Back in 2007 when this blog was still in its infancy, we attended one of our first live auctions as an official Corvette Blogger to cover some of the really cool Corvettes offered for sale. Hosted by RM Auctions, the December 2007 sale of the Al Wiseman Collection contained several prominent Corvettes including Zora Arkus-Duntov’s Harvest Gold 1955 Corvette Roadster.
But the real star of the auction, other than Val Kilmer’s Batmobile from Batman Forever, was a unique 1965 cut-away Corvette display created by General Motors to show off the inner-workings of the Corvette Sting Ray at its annual auto shows.
To create the cut-away display, Chevy pulled a 4-mile Nassau Blue Corvette Sting Ray Sport Coupe right off the assembly line. The car was sent out to a specialty display company who fully disassembled the car and then reassembled it on a platform to expose the car’s running gear. The total cost for the display was said to be $1 million in 1965 dollars!
The frame was painted in bright yellow while the engine, transmission and other mechanical parts were finished in red. Mechanical elevator arms would raise the coupe up and down off its chassis which showed off the Sting Ray’s independent four-wheel suspension moving up and down as the wheels turned.
Cutouts in the engine and transmission all showed those internal workings as as did the see-through valve covers and the exposed transmission gears which all moved in sync as the fuel injected V8’s front cooling fan slowly turned round and round.
The 1965 cut-away display was featured at auto shows and made appearances at Chevrolet dealerships across the country in the mid-1960s and then somehow it ended up at an auto mechanics school in South Africa. Following its return to the United States in the early 1990s, the display was purchased and restored by collector Al Wiseman.
At the Wiseman auction in December 2007, the 1965 Corvette cut-away autorama display was purchased by Detroit’s Showdown Muscle Cars who paid $704,000 which included the 10% buyers commission. Here is one of our very first auction videos featuring the sale of the Autorama Display:
The 1965 Cut-Away Autorama Corvette Display is now back on the market and RM Sotheby’s will once again handle the sale of the car. The Corvette will be offered without reserve on Saturday, May 2nd and current estimates have the unique piece of Chevrolet memorabilia going for $1 million to $1.4 million dollars.