We’ve been hearing about this project since late last year and we even polled our readers to see if you knew what kind of project car that Corvette Repair Inc’s Kevin Mackay would be showing at Amelia Island.
Well, the word is out that Kevin is bringing a drivable cutaway 1953 Corvette that was created using the earliest known production 1953 chassis with the #003 serial number.
The first three Corvettes ever built rolled off the temporary assembly line in Flint, Michigan on Tuesday, June 30, 1953. The number 003 Corvette was sent to the General Motors Engineering Shop on July 7, 1953 with 67 miles on the odometer.
At the Tech Center, the Corvette was subjected to a number of grueling engineering tests including a five-hour -20 degrees Fahrenheit shake test at the Harrison Radiator Division Cold Room in Lockport, NY. The Corvette also spent 5,000 miles on the Belgium block loop at General Motors’ Milford Proving Grounds.
According to Chevrolet Engineering Department Work Order #19013-27, issued on August 20, 1953, the frame on the No.003 Corvette was replaced and set to the side.
Fast forward to 1977, Phil Havens, an attorney serving in the office of the Michigan Attorney General purchased a 1955 Corvette. While restoring the car that autumn, he discovered that the chassis serial numbers on the frame read E53F001003 in two separate locations. Havens sourced a 1955 frame for his restoration project but decided to have the 1953 #003 chassis restored as well into a static display. The frame was first displayed at the NCRS Cypress Gardens Winter Meet in 1982.
Since the chassis for #003 was made public, it has been forensically tested and authenticated as original.
Havens would list the frame for sale on eBay in 2012 where is was spotted by Kevin Mackay. Mackay talked to Corvette collector Ed Foss about the chassis and Foss purchased it and commissioned Corvette Repair, Inc. to create a unique drivable chassis with a cutaway 1953 Corvette body.
“This Cutaway stirs the passion people have for Corvette history; its purpose is to educate enthusiasts about early Corvette engineering and design. This chassis provides a snapshot into these early efforts. What is amazing is everything works and it’s completely drivable” says Mackay.
Of course, we can’t mention the No.003 chassis without also mentioning the body that used to sit on the car. That is owned by Chevrolet dealer Dave Ressler, who purchased the car for $1,080,000 at Barrett-Jackson in 2006.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Kevin Mackay do a cutaway Corvette project. He has previously created a drivable see-thru 1969 L88 Corvette, a drivable 1967 427/435 chassis and a 1971 Sideway’s Corvette ZR2 among others.
Mackay will be showing the drivable cutaway chassis for the first time at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on March 11-12th.