To mark Barrett-Jackson’s half-century in business, in this special series we’re taking a look back at some of our favorite moments from the past 50 years – as well as some little-known facts about The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions.
The Barrett-Jackson auction block has played host to many automotive legends over the years, but there’s one legend that transcends time, one that has played fable to fans of America’s premiere sports car for generations. We’re of course talking about the Chevrolet Corvette. In particular what “Father of the Corvette” Zora Arkus-Duntov always wanted for GM’s perennial sports car. A Corvette with its engine behind the driver.
Making its way across the block at the 2017 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction was one of the most important cars out of a private collection and in General Motors history – the Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle, better known as CERV 1. Developed by Zora Arkus-Duntov between 1959 and 1960, CERV 1 would serve as Duntov’s personal Corvette engineering test bed; a platform to develop and refine the body, chassis and suspension systems. And refine it did. Experimentation on CERV 1 is directly responsible for many of the wonderful advancements that have been added to the Corvette over the years.
“GM’s CERV 1 is one of the most significant experimental vehicles in American automotive history,” said Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson. “Duntov broke all the rules with the CERV 1, and we were honored to be a part of its history when it crossed our block in Scottsdale.”
As bidding commenced on the beautiful Larry Shinoda and Tony Lapine-designed open-wheel racer, there were plenty of oohs and aahs from the capacity crowd. Bidding took off at a stunning pace for this important piece of motoring history, quickly passing the six-digit mark.
That’s when General Motors stepped in with the winning bid. With a final price of $1.32 million, CERV 1 was headed home to Michigan, ready to begin its new residency at GM’s Heritage Center. “I couldn’t be more excited that the CERV has come home,” said GM Heritage Center Manager Greg Wallace. “It fills in an important gap not only for Corvette but also in our concept car collection.”
Legends of bygone eras are just small part of the auction action at Barrett-Jackson. We’re proud to have played host to such a notable example of American motoring and even more proud to have helped reunite CERV 1 with its family in Michigan.