Monday, January 9, 2017

Corvette Winter

Photo by L. Gray Tuttle

I was listening to the Kim Komando Show on Saturday when she mentioned that the 2017 rendition of the Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson auction is happening this coming weekend.

(Alas and alack, I shall be some 270 miles to the west, officiating at the 19th Annual IVLHA Civil War Live Five Competition—running Infantry companies through the Maneuver-And-Shoot, Fire-By-File, Company Sharpshooter, Company Volley (Hand-Of-Death), and Combined Assault contests, while making sure that they don't get trampled by the Cavalry or get their heads blown off by the Artillery.  Did I mention that it's a Live Fire competition?  But I digress.)

Anyway, hearing about the auction reminded me that one of the most anticipated lots (#5054) crossing the stage in 2015 was a 1953 Corvette—the 211th Corvette made, which happens to also be the earliest known Corvette race car.  Both the 1953 model and a 1955 version were ordered to be updated to the 1956 racing configuration.

The photo above shows the cars on the beach at Daytona after completion and painting (see the Build Order below), but before the application of stripes, numbers, and sponsor decals. That's the 1953 211 car on the left with Bill France, Jr. at the wheel, and it's racing stablemate—the 1955 Corvette VIN #1399—on the right with Joe Hawkins in the drivers position.  The model's names are unknown to me.

Build Order
Corvette 211 is on the left in this shot taken at the at Martinsville Speedway.
That is not one of the Battlebirds on the line in this NASCAR Convertible Division race.
Photo owned by Doris Nuckles

Corvette 211 restored.  From The Motorhead

On January 10, 2015 Tom Jensen, writing for, posted this commentary:
This car was verified as authentic and comes with extensive documentation, including Chevrolet Engineering build orders, photos and newspaper articles.

"This is the earliest known Corvette to run NASCAR’s sanctioned events … and the earliest known Corvette to ever race thus ‘A Pioneer of Speed’ … and a fascinating chapter of Corvette and NASCAR history!" reads the catalog description.

That it unquestionably is.

To recap: The first NASCAR Corvette ever built; once owned by Chevrolet and by NASCAR; built by three-time Indy 500 winner Mauri Rose; delivered to Smokey Yunick; raced by Junior Johnson, Herb Thomas and Bobby Myers around the dirt tracks around the Carolinas.  Yes, folks, this one checks all the boxes.

As such, it ought to command huge money when it sells.

And one can’t help but wonder if it might be an attractive acquisition target for NASCAR team owner and avid collector Rick Hendrick.  We’ll find out next Saturday.
We did not find out.  Corvette 211 did not meet reserve.



(Classical allusion in headline. I love me some Annie Potts.)

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