Ex-Harley Earl Corvette Offered – Mecum Auction

1963 Harley Earl CorvetteMecum Auction announces the unique 1963 Harley Earl Chevrolet Corvette Convertible will cross the block during the Bloomington Gold Corvette Auction, June 26-27, 2009, in St. Charles, Illinois.

This historic car joins 400 remarkable specimens of the Corvette marque offered for sale by Mecum at the only all-Corvette auction in the industry.

“Over the years, we have auctioned the’ Who’s Who and What’s What’ in Corvettes at the Bloomington Gold Corvette Auction, from special race cars to rare styling cars and L88s. This year is no exception as hundreds of significant cars go up for bid,” said President Dana Mecum. “The Harley Earl Corvette is a one-of-a-kind factory special whose creation, discovery and restoration have the kind of uniquely storied history that epitomizes the classic car industry.”

As the dean of Detroit stylists in the late 1920s, Harley Earl was responsible for the conception behind America’s sports car during his career at General Motors. When Earl oversaw the display of his Buick Le Sabre show car at the Watkins Glen races in 1951, he resolved to design a new sports car for the American market. He unveiled his concept to the public in 1953, and the Corvette slowly cemented its performance image with the public.

In ’63, GM honored Earl with a custom-built Corvette Sting Ray – one that closely resembled the Corvette show car built for that year’s Chicago Auto Show. After two years, Earl sold the car to a retired Maryland Army veteran. The car resurfaced a decade later, eventually showing up at the Corvettes at Carlisle meet. In 1981, middle school teacher and Corvette enthusiast Joe Clark bought the car from the group of amateur racers who owned it and began researching its history.

Clark discovered a hand-written number code inside a door trim panel – Shop Order (S.O.) 10323 – and learned the Earl Corvette began as a fuel-injection-equipped Red four-speed convertible built after the Chicago show car was completed. Special glovebox-mounted instruments found in Earl’s car were originally intended for the Chicago show car but hadn’t been completed in time. Today, the Earl Corvette still has its distinct side-exit exhausts that sprout from behind the front wheel wells and has been restored to feature its original medium Blue custom leather interiors with White seat trim and Metallic Blue exterior with White trim. A 1963-dated 327/300 HP engine is under the hood, while its chrome trim, exterior emblems, interior control knobs and four-wheel disc brakes are all 1965 parts.

The showcase Harley Earl Corvette (Lot S100) will be sold Saturday, June 27, 2009, at 3:25 p.m.

Additional historic cars crossing the auction block include “The Mitchell Car” – a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible created by GM styling legend Bill Mitchell as a gift to his wife. The fully customized COPO order features Mitchell’s name on the tank sticker and boasts a 427/400 HP Tri Power V8, automatic transmission and factory air conditioning.

The Mitchell Car - a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible created by GM styling legend Bill Mitchell as a gift to his wife

Collectors will not be disappointed by the documentation that accompanies the Mitchell car; in addition to the original tank sticker, Protect-O-Plate and shipping papers is a special Chevrolet Memo Book carried by Zora Duntov. It contains design notes and reads “Mr. Mitchell – special order per Z. Duntov” on the cover.

Mecum will also auction a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe L89 known as “The Ed Cole Car.” This special-order car is one of only 16 L89s built in ’67 and features a 427/435 HP engine, L89 aluminum heads, documentation and Goodwood Green paint with Saddle leather interior.

1967 Corvette L89, one of only 16 built

The Bloomington Gold Corvette Auction is held at Pheasant Run Resort and is open to the general public. Tickets are available at the door for $10. It will be broadcast live on Mecum’s television series, “Mecum Auto Auction: Muscle Cars & More” on the HD Theater channel.

For more information, visit www.mecum.com.

[Source: Mecum]

Show Comments (4)

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  1. I’m a Mustang guy through and through, but those ’63-’67 Corvettes were perhaps the most beautiful cars ever built by an American manufacturer.

    1. Hi Jim:
      Agreed – I’d say that the 63-67 Corvette is “one of the most beautiful”.

      The 63-67 Corvette actually originated from a concept sketch first drawn by G.M.’s youngest designer in 1957, Peter Brock. Brock’s sketch was selected by Mitchell, and it was evolved into the production model by Chuck Poehlmann and senior designer Larry Shinoda.

      You can see the sketch, pictures of the first prototype, the 1958-59 Stingray Racer and read the story at: http://bre2.net/index.php?section=19

      Carl Beck

  2. As to the three corvettes on the front page of S.C.D….do the soft tops have glass in the back windows or plastic? Also, it would be great to have a short story on the top 10 investor/collector cars to buy TODAY. They just have to be less than $100k.

    Buy them and put them away with the full intention of taking them out of the garage and selling them in 10 years(protect them, of course, as you would any car you are putting into storage). I think you could start off with any CSX Cobra (I’ve seen a few less than $100k). You just have to protect them!

  3. We all thought that the ’63 Sting Ray coupe was an unsuccessful American take-off on the Jaguar XK-E.