1964 Sting Ray Coupe - Executive Privileges

Bunkie Knudsen's One-Off '64 Sting Ray Coupe

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In the years B.C. (Before Centralization), General Motors' five car-making divisions operated like five separate car companies. Those who were picked to be a Division's General Manager enjoyed the perks and privileges of a company vice presidency-including a free hand in the making of the company cars they drove home.

In the case of Semon E. "Bunkie" Knudsen, one company car that he had built when he was Chevrolet Motor Division's boss in the early '60s reflected on the performance theme he'd used to build Pontiac into a sales winner starting with the '57s, and the styling theme that his father, William Knudsen, used to turn Buick around in the '30s. It's a special '64 Corvette Sting Ray coupe that's now part of the MY Garage Museum Collection at Mid America Motorworks in Effingham, Illinois.

"In those days, those guys [senior GM execs] swung a pretty good sword-they could get done anything they wanted," says Mid America's founder, Mike Yager. "Obviously, with him heading up Chevrolet, it's my understanding that he had that car built for him, and that he had a pink one built for his wife that matched their home in Florida. So he went through the Styling studios and said, 'Do this,' and 'Do that.'"

Knudsen had a number of one-off features designed and built for the project that Chevrolet Engineering tagged "GPV-57." Starting at the front of the car, the grille was larger than the production one, with an "egg crate" design. The front bumpers were a different shape, mounted higher on the body than the production bumpers. A special hood with deeper recesses was designed, as was a pair of specially finned side exhausts. Two-prong knock-off wheels-as seen on the early '63 Sting Rays-were picked instead of the '64s RPO three-prong knock offs.




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