Photo: RM Auctions / Troy Wood
Phoenix, AZ, October 21, 2008 – Preeminent international auction house, RM Auctions will mark their 10th anniversary Automobiles of Arizona auction event in Phoenix, Arizona with the sale of one the rarest and most valuable Corvettes in history – an all mighty 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport (chassis no. 002).
Often referred to as one of the most fascinating enigmas in motor racing annals and certainly one of the most valuable, the Grand Sport was General Motor’s contender to Ford’s venerable Shelby Cobra. Envisioned by the legendary ‘father of the Corvette’, Zora Arkus-Duntov, these top secret, hand-built race cars were designed to win at FIA endurance races and ultimately the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Only five were built out of an expected 120 car run before General Motors cancelled its competition activities in early 1964. Miraculously, each of the prototypes escaped destruction orders, falling into the hands of private racers who preserved their heritage for future generations.
From this elite fraternity, the multi-million dollar 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport (Chassis no. 002) with its original un-restored race body is being offered for the first time ever at RM’s Biltmore auction in January. Previously owned by Roger Penske and George Wintersteen, 002 is one of just two roadsters produced out of the original five prototypes.
“The Corvette Grand Sport is one of the greatest American racing cars and quite possibly, one of the most historically significant American built race bred automobiles ever produced,” says Ian Kelleher, Managing Director of RM Auctions. “Additionally, for Corvette enthusiasts, this car is singularly the most important and significant Corvette to ever come to market, making its offering in Arizona a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire such an important piece of American motoring history.”
Keith Martin, Publisher of Corvette Market Magazine adds: “The Grand Sport is clearly one of the most desirable Corvettes ever built. With its significant racing history, featuring a strong showing in the 1966 U.S. Road Racing Championship, it is the most important Corvette to ever be offered for sale publicly.”
This legendary Corvette will be presented along with over 100 exceptional vintage automobiles and motorcycles. Other notable early highlights for the January auction include an extraordinary 1937 Bugatti Atalante Type 57SC and a unique 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Boattail Skiff.
Designed and built by one of the most significant father and son collaborations, Ettore and Jean Bugatti, the extraordinary, supercharged 1937 Bugatti Atalante Type 57SC (chassis no. 57551) is one of only seven produced and is recognized the world over for its union of styling, engineering and sophistication. With an innovative twin overhead-cam, 200HP in-line 8 and integrally mounted 4-speed transmission, the Atalante could effortlessly reach 112 miles per hour – a fitting tribute to its namesake, the mythical Greek Goddess who vowed she would never marry any man who could run fast enough to catch her. Once part of the famous Harrah’s Collection, this stunning coupe is considered the most elegant of all Type 57 models and a significant milestone in Bugatti history.
Well-known in Rolls-Royce circles, the 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Boattail Skiff, chassis number 54PB, features rare coachwork by German based Shapiro-Schebera. So unique is its design that it is widely believed to be one of the most unusual cars ever to carry a Schebera body and the only surviving example of this style of wood skiff coachwork from the period. Along with its split vee-windshield, flying fenders and tapered tail, the superb craftsmanship of the wood exterior emphasizes the car’s elegant nautical design. 54PB belongs to a very select group of Silver Ghosts that are the most instantly recognizable cars of all Rolls-Royce produced.
Other notable early consignments for RM’s Biltmore sale include: a 1950 Hudson Commodore Convertible, formerly owned by the legendary Steve McQueen, and an elegant 1937 Delage D8-120 Aerosport Coupe, the only known survivor of ten examples built by famed French coachbuilders Letourner et Marchand.
RM’s Automobiles of Arizona auction event will be held at the luxurious Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa, 24th Street & Missouri, Phoenix, Arizona on January 16th, 2009. An auction preview will be held January 15th from 9am to 5pm. The auction will take place between 11am to 6pm on January 16th. Admission to the auction is by catalog only, which admits both the catalog holder and a guest. The full-color collectable catalog is available for $100 U.S. (plus shipping), by calling (800)-211-4371 (within North America) or +1 519 352 4575 or visiting www.rmauctions.com.