If there’s ever been a priceless Corvette, then the 1960 Chevrolet CERV 1 may be it.
But someone will pay a price, likely an astronomical price, at the upcoming RM Sotheby’s auction in Monterey 2015 set for Aug. 13-15, where the current owner is putting the CERV 1 up for sale. (CERV stands for Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle.)
We can only imagine what the final bid will be for this super-historic vehicle.
In its description of the car, Sotheby’s describes the CERV 1 as “the most important GM Engineering vehicle ever offered at auction.” Sotheby’s also calls it “the car from which the modern Corvette was born.”
Who can argue with such assessments?
The CERV 1 was legendary Zora Arkus-Duntov’s personal Corvette engineering test bed and was used to develop the 1963 Sting Ray’s independent suspension and other features.
Says Sotheby’s: “One must consider the importance of this car. It was a pioneer in the use of aluminum, and its transverse leaf-spring independent rear suspension is the predecessor of the same basic design that Corvette is still using today, 55 years after this car was built. For four years, it ran at Riverside and on the test track at Milford, tested numerous engines being developed for possible use in the Corvette, pioneered new methods and features that would influence America’s Sport Car for decades, and was, to sum it all up, Zora Arkus-Duntov’s personal pet project, test bed, and dream factory.”
Sotheby’s compares it to legendary GM experimental landmarks like the Buick Y-Job, the LeSabre, and the turbine-powered Firebirds – but with one major exception, CERV 1 is for sale.
After Zora had finished with the car and moved on to the CERV 2, he wasn’t ready to throw the CERV 1 onto the scrap heap. Instead, he had it restored to its final 1964 cosmetic and mechanical form and donated it to the Briggs Cunningham collection, and it eventually landed in the Miles Collier collection before being sold to the current owner, who has been a loving caretaker of this historic vehicle for many years.
The car naturally has won countless awards and featured in major publications.
In its current form, it has a 377 cu. In. OHV aluminum experimental V-8 engine, four-speed manual transmission with lightweight clutch, independent front and rear suspension with variable-rate coil springs, shock absorbers, and front stabilizer bar, and four-wheel heavy-duty iron-lined cast aluminum finned drum brakes.
All this more than 50 years ago!
By the way, the current engine, the seventh used in the CERV 1, was specially cast by Alcoa at a reported cost of $284,000 and produces unknown horsepower. With this engine, Zora took the CERV 1 to a whopping 206 mph at GM Milford Proving Grounds, a speed that was not exceeded for another 22 years until Bobby Rahal at the 1986 Indianapolis 500.
We can’t wait to see what this car will sell for!