Imagine owning the first assembled 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray coupe, and then buying the first to-be-built 2014 Stingray convertible -- that's exactly what famed NASCAR team owner, Rick Hendrick, did this past weekend.
Hendrick purchased the very first 2014 Corvette coupe back in January from the Scottsdale auction for $1.1 million, and at Barrett-Jackson the auction this past weekend, he scored the rights to the first assembled Corvette drop top, with every penny of the $1 million purchase price going to the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. The General Motors Foundation is a longtime supporter of Karmanos, pledging nearly $6 million in support over the last 15 years. Karmanos strives to prevent, detect, and eradicate all forms of cancer.
"Corvettes are a passion of mine," Hendrick told Foxnews.com after the gavel fell. In addition to his NASCAR team, Hendrick owns one of the biggest Chevy dealers in the U.S. "I love those cars so much, and to have the first Corvettes from the new generation means so much to me."
Like the coupe, the 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Convertible will be powered by the same LT1 6.2L V-8, churning out an estimated 450 hp and 450 lb-ft torque. Harnessing all those ponies will be an all-new, seven-speed manual transmission with Active Rev Matching that anticipates gear selections and matches engine speed for more accurate shifts, or a six-speed automatic.
The convertible top will include a glass, rear-window and will be constructed from three-ply fabric and sound absorbing material designed to reduce road noise while up. The top will also have the ability of being lowered at speeds of up to 30 mph; and can be activated remotely using a key fob. No additional structural support was needed due to the car's new stronger aluminum frame, keeping the C7 drop-top lighter and more efficient (the new convertible is 99-lbs lighter than the outgoing C6 model with the steel frame construction). Additionally, the power to weight ratio of the new coupe and convertible are virtually the same.
GM will hold a ceremony to celebrate the new generation of the Corvette. Hendrick will be waiting at the end of the assembly line, ready to turn the key and hear the rumble of the first 2014 Stingray ever produced.
This isn't Hendrick's first, "first" purchase at an auction. A frequent Barrett-Jackson customer, he bought the first production 2010 Camaro SS for $350,000; the first 2011 Corvette Z06 Carbon Edition for $270,000; the first 2011 Camaro SS convertible for $205,000; and the first 2012 ZL1 Camaro for $250,000.
"I paid a little more than I wanted [for the first-of, 2014 Corvette]," Hendrick added in the Foxnews.com interview, discussing why he invested so much in the 2014 Corvettes. "But I owe so much to Corvette for getting me into the car business in the first place."