So you ordered Competition Seats in your brand new mid-engine Corvette?
Pretty snazzy, huh?
Well, those seats ARE nice, but what if you could buy the VERY FIRST Corvette seats ever made?
What price tag could be put on such a historical piece of memorabilia? Such an item is probably priceless to some enthusiasts, but you can actually buy these momentous seats on eBay for the “Buy It Now” price of $90,000.
That’s right. The actual 68-year-old seats used in the 1952 EX-52 Project Opel at GM Styling are still alive and kicking today and remain in remarkably good shape for their age.
This auction is for the original Harley J. Earl GM-Styling hand-cut-and-sewn GM-Styling, mirrored image Driver Left and Passenger Right Seat Back and Bottom Seat Cushions, (four cushions) and the hand laid-up Driver Left and Passenger Right fiberglass Buckets.
A little background:
The EX-52 – known as the “Cougar” on Dec. 5, 1952 – became the first “Corvette” when it debuted at the 1953 GM Motorarama Waldorf-Astoria on Jan. 16, 1953. The EX-52 and a little known EX-53, a second Corvette show car, then traveled across the country as the main attraction of the GM Parade of Progress from March to June 1953.
On June 15, 1953, at a small Chevy plant in Flint, Michigan, the two EX cars underwent makeovers with production 1953 parts to appear as a “real” Corvette. Those changes included a taller windshield, a total repaint, new chrome trim (emblems, bumpers, wheels, tires, and hubcaps), and lower side mouldings, along with a new production designed folding top mechanism and canvas.
Interior changes also took place at this time, with the installation of ’53 production equivalent carpets, door and kick panels, and new soft dash trim above a new instrument cluster that included a speedometer, tachometer, clock, radio, and four auxiliary gauges.
The June 15 changes also included the removal of these very prototype seat cushions and fixed fiberglass buckets that had been bolted to the fiberglass floor pan of the EX-52. They were replaced with significantly re-proportioned 1953 Corvette production seat cushions and metal floor tracks.
Most of the parts removed from the EX-52 and EX-53 cars during the June 1953 transformations went back to engineering and/or the manufacturer for durability and fatigue analysis, and these prototype seats were definitely durable. By the way, the successful bidder will receive a thorough chain of possession of these seat cushions and buckets over the past 68 years.
The revised EX-52 was the “Stand-In” Corvette (presumed VIN #1) for the staged fake roll-out on June 30, 1953, with the EX-53 the presumed Corvette VIN #2.
The seats up for sale are the actual ones that were the first installed in the EX-52 for the Motorama, and they’ve been authenticated at Corvettes at Carlisle 2019 by noted Corvette historian, author and publisher Kenneth W. Kayser, who wrote “CORVETTE Legend or Myth Volume I – The “Real Story” of the 1953 Corvette & Zora’s Passion.”
Kayser enlarged several original GM computer images from his book and compared the fine details of the seats to the EX-52 seats and was able to identify several proof positive visual characteristics that matched those vintage images.
Be sure to check out the eBay listing, where you can actually see the passenger-side seat cushion in the EX-52 at the Motorama!