Car: '63 Harley J. Earl Corvette
Sold By: Mecum Auction (May 2010)
Terry L. Michaelis: GM Styling Corvettes were the shop-order Cars that came out of GM Styling, and some were done for the "brass"-Harley Earl, Bunkie Knudsen, Bill Mitchell, and more. One of the most significant was the '63 Harley Earl Corvette. Just Google "Harley Earl" and read the volumes of information on what this pioneer did for General Motors before bean counters and Wall Street took over. This is an era that will never be replicated, I'm sorry to say.
Dana Mecum: This custom-built Sting Ray is one of the most historically significant vehicles to sell within the past decade. Not only does it feature one-of-a-kind options (like the remarkable stainless steel side-exit exhaust), but the Car was specially built by General Motors for its designer, Harley J. Earl, who solidified his place as the dean of Detroit designers when he unveiled his original concept for the Corvette in 1953. Corvette history began with Earl, and this Car is an outstanding and unique part of that history.
Car: '65 Cut-Away Autorama Display
Sold By: RM Auctions(December 2007)
Terry L. Michaelis: If you have never seen this Car, you're truly missing much. Designed by Chevrolet to tour the GM Autoramas, it was sent to South Africa as an educational device, and then immigrated back to the USA in the early 2000s. Neat!
Ian Kelleher: While not a driving example, this one-of-a-kind Autorama display was selected for the list for its technical innovation-it provides a fascinating and rare insight into a Car's inner mechanicals. Taken off the Chevrolet assembly line and built into a one-off elaborate cutaway display for the 1965 Autorama, modifications to this example saw all the drivetrain components cut away to allow observers the opportunity to examine the inner mechanical workings of the engine, clutch, transmission, rearend, and suspension. It is truly a unique and unusual find, and would make a great showpiece for any complete Sting Ray collection.
Car: '71 LS6/ZR2 Convertible (and '70-'72 ZR1s)
Sold By: Mecum Auction (June 2008)
Terry L. Michaelis: The ZR1 is basically a small-block L88, whereas the ZR2 is GM's final C3 attempt to produce a 425hp big-block with L88 equipment. They are very rare, as only 53 ZR1s were produced over the '70 to '72 production years, and 12 ZR2s were produced in 1971 only. Another example of an auction-sale '71 ZR2 is the one that sold for $358,000 at Barrett-Jackson in January 2008. Recent private sales for the '70-'72 ZR1s are $250,000, $280,000, and $100,000 (the latter in need of restoration).
Dana Mecum: In 1971, the ZR1 LT1 and the ZR2 LS6 big-block were to become the final statement of Corvette high performance for years to come, so this Car is the rarest in the history of the big-block in the Chevrolet line. Only 12 ZR2s were built during that time-and of those only two were convertibles. Designed for all-out performance, this particular ZR2 is the latest known build date for an LS6 Corvette and is the last ZR2 built.
Category 3: The Experts' Personal Picks
Requirement: Only one of our experts picked each of these Corvettes as "a most significant sale in the last decade."
Car: '53 Corvette Serial No. 005
Sold By: Mecum Bloomington Gold Auction (June 2006)
Dana Mecum: As Serial No. 005, this was the first production Corvette sold to the public, making it highly collectible. It boasts Bloomington Gold and NCRS Top Flight certifications.
Car: '68 L88 Race Car
Sold By: Bonhams (August 2008)
Terry L. Michaelis: Any L88 Corvette sale is entertaining to watch, and this race-prepared, single-use example fits that bill; I consider it well bought. Only 216 L88 Corvettes were produced over a three-year span-1967 (20), 1968 (80), and 1969 (116). Any sale, whether auction or private, should be noted.