January 15th through 19th, 2014!
Join these great Featured Consignments at the most unique auction experience ever created: Auction In The Round!
These Showcase Feature Consignments are just a sampling of the many great cars that will join over 750 others to be sold in Scottsdale this January! Check back weekly as these Feature Consignments will rotate and be updated with additional great cars. Prior to the Flagship Russo and Steele Auction, full listings of all the consignments will be posted and also available on our Digital Auction Catalog.
From the outset, Chevrolet’s groundbreaking Corvette was truly unique in its concept, design, and execution. Conceived by famed GM design chief Harley Earl and his team as a fiberglass-bodied American alternative to the hordes of open sporting cars arriving from the UK, the low and sleek new GM design incorporated a number of striking aircraft-inspired design elements and took shape as the EX-122 Motorama show car in 1952.
Eventually named Corvette, the new Chevrolet sports car remains one of the very few GM Motorama-era designs to progress to series-production with their basic space-age, show-car styling elements virtually unmodified. Representing a major leap of faith on the part of GM brass, over $1.5 million had been invested in the risky project by the time the Corporation’s new sports car was ready for its highly anticipated public introduction.
Dubbed the Corvette “Dream Car”, it debuted at the GM Motorama show held at the glamorous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City and the results were truly astonishing. By the end of that first weekend in New York, over 300,000 people had seen the car and some $800,000 worth of GM products were sold. In fact, by the time the Motorama’s cross-country tour ended, over four million people had reportedly seen this fantastic automobile. Incredibly, the Corvette entered production just five months after its New York debut, with the first 15 built in Flint, Michigan.
The Corvette mostly used existing production-based mechanical components and an eventual switch to steel bodywork was planned from the outset, but the Corvette continues to employ fiberglass bodywork today. Even the Corvette’s assembly process was markedly different, using small groups of technicians. However, production problems, marketing gaffes, questionable pricing policies, and sluggish sales nearly killed the Corvette program. However, to be fair, a low-volume car such as the Corvette was a radical departure for Chevrolet and thankfully, notable GM personalities including Bob McLean, Maurice Olley, Ed Cole, and Zora Arkus-Duntov relentlessly developed the Corvette into “America’s Sports Car”.
This wonderful first-year example, the 83rd of the 300 Corvettes produced for 1953, is one of the estimated 225 survivors remaining in existence today. Showing just over 4,300 miles, which are believed actual, it is amazingly original and has never been restored. As such, it is a veritable “time capsule” and a highly desirable benchmark of originality for Corvette restorers. According to a detailed letter on file dated July 27, 2006 and written by marque expert Zenon Magda of Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s Gold Coast Corvette, the “Blue Flame Special” six-cylinder engine appears to be original, bearing a proper first-design casting number and a casting date of June 8, 1953, with its assembly number falling within the known serial number-to-engine number range. In addition, the Corvette’s cylinder-head casting number is correct for 1953. A Blue Ribbon Award Winner at the Musclecar and Corvette Nationals, Corvette #83 is also a former part of the noted automobile collection of popular Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Alan Jackson.
As “America’s Sports Car” now enters its seventh generation, the very rare first-year examples continue to be highly collectible and desirable touchstones to the Corvette’s earliest roots. Accordingly, this particular 1953 Corvette is certainly in a class all its own.