When Zora Arkus-Duntov was working on the 1957 Corvette SS and the 1963 Corvette Grand Sport, he probably never imagined the two vehicles would one day wind up in a museum, being viewed as works of art.
But the two super-rare Chevy sports cars will be on display through November at Revs Institute For Automotive Research in Naples, Fla.
Says Miles Collier, owner of Revs’ permanent collection of 100-plus vintage cars and founder of the museum and institute, the Corvettes – which made their debut at Revs on Friday night – are “two of the rarest and most spectacular versions of Chevrolet’s iconic sports car.”
The exhibit – labeled as “Duntov’s Stealth Fighters” – is a collaboration between Revs and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, which loaned the SS in exchange for a Jorgensen Eagle. The Grand Sport, one of just five produced, is a permanent exhibit at Revs.
Zora, the Russian-born American engineer, is known as the father of the Corvette, with his enthusiastic support of the fledgling sports car playing a key role in its success.
“Without Duntov, the Corvette never would have become America’s star-spangled sports car,” Collier said.
While Corvette fans will no doubt flock to Revs to see the two rare cars, Revs expects others who have little interest in the world of racing to appreciate the vehicles as works of art, as elegant and creatively designed as a painting hanging in the Louvre.
Collier notes that the automobile in general is the single most important technological artifact of the 20th century, calling it “one of the defining legacy artifacts of modern culture throughout the world.”
“The history of the automobile shows us the evolution of one of the world’s most important disruptive technologies,” Collier said. “It gives us a glimpse of the future of genetic engineering, of the cyber world, of virtual reality, of artificial intelligence, of a host of imaginable, yet to be discovered unimaginable technologies.”
You can see the two vehicles at the Revs Institute, located at 2500 S. Horseshoe Drive, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays – with docent-led tours costing $25, general admission $17, faculty, students and active military $12, and children under 8 free. Reservations must be made in advance for specific dates and times, with no walk-ups admitted.
You can get more information at revsinstitute.org or by calling 239-687-7387.
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