Barrett-Jackson only holds four auctions annually so each time one comes up, it is a special occasion. The final sale of 2019 goes live on October, 3rd from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Fabulous Las Vegas. There are going to be some stunning examples of America’s Sports Car up for grabs.
One collection in particular stands out. First Generation Corvette fanatic and Pacific Northwest entrepreneur, Jim Osterman is sending 11 of his most prized Corvettes across the auction block at no reserve. The collection features ten C1 Corvettes and a first-year C2 all featuring unique and desirable options and colors in Top Flight condition.
Osterman’s soon-to-be former collection features two examples of the rarest Corvette vintage, 1953. Of the 300 ‘Vettes produced in the inaugural year, bidders will have the chance to bring numbers 105 and 254 home to their collections. Both were recipients of a frame-off restorations in 2018 and have traveled fewer than 50 miles since. #105 is a two-time NCRS Top Flight Award winner, scoring 85.2 in 2017 and 96.2 in 2018 and comes with a custom removable hardtop.
Number 254 was one of the final ten C1s produced in Flint before production moved to St. Louis and has become a bona fide celebrity in recent decades. 2007 saw Chevrolet use this car as a part of its American Revolution campaign and CMA featured it as the November/December car in its Awards calendar. In 2008 it was featured in the National Corvette Museum’s “World’s only 3’s Display.” American Sports Car magazine ran features on “254” in 2008 and 2009. It isn’t just a pretty face either, it has the hardware to backup all of this recognition. It edged out the other ’53 in the sale with a score of 96.5 to bring home an NCRS Top Flight award. It also won the 2007 National Homecoming Sapphire Award and received Bloomington Silver honors with a 94%.
A third “Blue Flame” powered car will be finding a new home when the gavel drops on this prominent numbers-matching 1954 Corvette with 64,100 original miles. Though second-year production was up to 3,640 units, this is still a very hard to find piece that has several awards of its own under its belt. In 1991, it earned an NCRS Top Flight with a 97.7 followed by a 98.1 in 1992 when it also earned the Arkus-Duntov Award. Then, in 1993, it scored 97.96 to earn a Bloomington Gold Award.
You always know what you are getting with Corvettes from the first two years of production but here is where things start to get really interesting. Lot 733 brings (matching numbers) V8 power to this collection for the first time with its 195 HP 265. Production fell to just 700 units for ’55 and this was the 93rd ‘Vette off of the line that year. This stunning Pennant Blue and dark beige roadster is one of only 45 cars so configured. It underwent a full frame-off restoration in 2017 and like its older brothers above, it is also an NCRS Top Flight Award recipient, we are looking at a dynasty here!
The 1956, 1957, and 1958 Corvettes are the beautiful problem children of this collection; for the first time, there are no awards that travel with these three and they might be all the better for it! Lot 727 hails from 1956 and returns to the classic Polo White over Red motif, this time, featuring Silver coves (new for 1956). Power is provided by a dual-4 barrel 265 with considerably more power than the ’55 at 225 HP. Total production was up to 3,642 in 1956 and this, very late (#3,622) example is one of 532 cars to wear this color scheme. The original automatic transmission was pulled and upgraded to a 3-speed manual unit.
The 1957 is painted Cascade Green (a must-have color for any C1 collection!) with a Shoreline Beige interior. The engine displacement was bumped up to 283 cubic inches for ’57 with power rising again to 270 ponies. As with many in this collection, Lot #730 was produced towards the end of the model year when all of the techniques were perfected, it wears VIN 6123 out of the run of 6,339. Just 550 Corvettes wore this color combo in 1957 and the original owner was focused on performance as he chose 4.11:1 gears and deleted the radio, heater, and soft-top from the factory, yes please!
The Panama Yellow over Charcoal example is one of 455 similar cars built out of 9,168 in 1958. It was the 5,190th off the line that year and features a too-early 327 sighting; this car features a 250 HP version mated to a 4-speed manual.
This family gets back to their award-winning ways with #1,905 of the 9,670 Corvettes built in 1959. This two-time NCRS Award-winning (Top Flight and Second Flight) Frost Blue convertible is presented in excellent, all-original condition including the matching blue interior. Like every car in this collection, the description reminds us that this one has been meticulously pampered and maintained by Jim Osterman.
1961 saw sustained growth for the Corvette with 10,939 of them finding ecstatic new owners. 641 of those cars featured this outstanding combination of Honduras Maroon with white coves and a black interior. Lot 728 continues a theme in the Osterman Collection of build dates towards the end of the production run. It was the 10,407th ’61 made and is one of 1,462 equipped with the top-spec 315 HP 283. Other options include the Wonder Bar radio, a soft-top, and whitewall tires.
The final year of the first-generation Corvette takes us back where we started in this collection with a red interior wrapped in a clean white convertible body. This time, the white is Ermine and it features a tan top and a 327 cubic inch V8 that sends 250 HP to the solid rear axle through a 4-speed manual transmission. How is this for a manual take-rate; 11,318 of the 14,531 Corvette customers in 1962 (78%!) opted for a clutch pedal.
1960 is the only year of C1 without representation in this collection but the maiden C2 that closes the proceedings more than makes up for it. 1963 was the first year for a coupe body style and 10,594 people went to their Chevrolet dealership to take one home (vs. 10,919 for the Convertible). This Split-Window Fuelie is one of 3,516 ‘63s painted Sebring Silver. It features 1963’s top engine option, the 360 HP version of the 327 and knock-off wheels. The fully documented restoration was done by noted street rod designer, Boyd Coddington. After scoring a 91.2 in NCRS judging in 1992, this car was awarded Second Flight.
After the posting of this article, we learned that Barrett-Jackson had a fresh video showing the collection. So without further ado:
Which of these first-rate examples is the one that you would drive home if you were in Vegas this week with your long-lost brother who just so-happens to be able to count cards? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned in to CorvetteBlogger for notable Corvettes that are crossing the auction block this month.
The Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas Auction takes place from October 3-5 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. You can catch all the action on the Discovery Networks and online with the MotorTrend app.
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