Lt. Colonel Virgil “Gus” Grissom
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Scottsdale, AZ (October 18, 2006) – This year Russo and Steele will sell former Astronaut Gus Grissom’s 1967 Chevrolet Corvette. It’s not just a spectacular specimen of a Chevrolet Corvette, but it is a piece of American history as well. Corvette and auction history will be made at the Russo and Steele Collector Car Auction “Sports and Muscle in Scottsdale” on Saturday, January 20th, 2007 when for the first time ever, former Astronaut Gus Grissom’s 1967 Chevrolet Corvette with the “pavement pounding” 427/435HP engine will be auctioned off at NO reserve.
Lt. Colonel Virgil “Gus” Grissom was one of the original seven Mercury Astronauts selected by NASA in April of 1959. He became the 2nd American ever to travel into space on July 21st, 1961, following Alan Shepard by just a few weeks. Astronaut Grissom became the very first person to travel into space twice on March 23rd, 1965 and would have been the 1st to travel into space 3 times on the Apollo mission but he along with fellow astronauts Roger Chaffee and Edward White were tragically killed on the launch test pad in the Apollo flash fire disaster on January 27th, 1967.
This incredible Corvette has received a professional body-off-the-frame restoration and has been the recipient of more than 25 trophies, ribbons and awards including the coveted NCRS award. It has participated in several parades at Cape Kennedy where it hosted former Astronauts along with the President of the United States. It was delivered brand new to Gus by Jim Rathmann of Jim Rathmann Chevrolet in Melbourne, Florida. Jim is a former Indy 500 winner (1960) and is the oldest living Indianapolis 500 winner.
Jim started and witnessed many a ¼ mile race between Gus and fellow astronaut and close friend Alan Shepard when the two space jockeys would square off at the Cape to see whose Corvette was the faster of two cars. Shepard had the same model Corvette with the monster 427 motor but Rathmann had changed the rear axle ratio at Grissom’s request to a 4:56 rear and as a result Gus usually came out on top. (Shepard had the standard 3:70 ratio)
This car represents not only an incredible example of the most sought-after Corvette produced in the 1960’s but also a true piece of Americana. A special audio & visual display and presentation will take place as this priceless Corvette rolls up to the auction block Saturday evening, January 20th, 2007…it’s truly an event that any car aficionado or fan of our American astronaut heroes won’t want to miss.