This 1959 Corvette race car, up for sale at a dealership in Canada, has ties to a trio of three other Corvette race cars commissioned by Carroll Shelby, Jim Hall and Gary Laughlin about the same time.
Those three Shelby cars could have changed GM and racing history.
Instead, once Shelby, Hall, and Laughlin showed their Corvette Italias, as they were known originally, to Harley Earl and Ed Cole, they loved their alloy coupe bodies done by design house Scaglietti, but GM brass nixed the idea, fearing such cars would bleed away customers for their “real” Chevy Corvette.
Since Shelby wasn’t able to use the Italia as the basis for what later became known as the Corvette Scaglietti, he sold the three cars and looked elsewhere, securing chassis from AC Cars and drivetrains from Ford to build the Shelby Cobra.
About that same time, this 1959 Corvette was factory ordered by Gene Cormany, vice president of engineering for the Zollner Corp., in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, which supplied pistons for the American automobile and trucking industry. After attending an SCCA driving school at Lockbourne Air Force Base in 1958, Cormany began racing a Corvette but reportedly was not very satisfied, so he ordered a new 1959 in 503A Solid Black with 490D Red Trim and 470E White convertible top. It featured the most powerful engine available on Corvettes then, the 283/290 horsepower solid lifter camshaft V8 engine with Rochester fuel injection, hooked to a four-speed manual transmission and Posi-traction rear axle, and was definitely one mean Corvette. He also ordered it with courtesy lights, heavy duty brakes and suspension, deluxe heater, and windshield washer, options that helped him in his racing quests – adding up to a total MSRP of $5,227.
Cormany went on to have much success with his new Corvette throughout the Midwest in 1959 and 1960, with 12 top-three finishes and four wins in 22 events.
Years later, another owner of this 1959 purchased the original engine and fuel injection unit from the first Scaglietti Corvette, and it was eventually installed in this car as it was being restored. The car retains its unique racing equipment, including a braced full-width bolt-in roll bar, side exhaust, steel wheels with Goodyear Super Cushion tires, and a full-width cutdown windscreen using the original windshield mountings. A fully restored stock windshield and wipers are included with the car now, and it takes just five minutes to convert it back to street configuration.
The car, which is up for sale for $295,000 at Legendary Motor Car Company in Ontario, comes with extensive documentation, including the original dealer invoice, SCCA race results, ownership history, period photos, and restoration history.
“It will be a welcome addition to any collection,” Legendary says, “with an intimate connection to one of the best known of all Corvette projects in its 290hp fuel injected engine from the first of the Shelby Scaglietti Corvettes.”
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