1964 Chevrolet CERV II

Michael Furman ©2013, courtesy of RM Auctions
Michael Furman ©2013, courtesy of RM Auctions

The brainchild of Zora Arkus-Duntov, the “Father of the Corvette,” the Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle II is the first known operating example of torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, and it is among the most important Corvette development vehicles in private hands today. Since leaving General Motors, it has only been owned by the Briggs Cunningham Museum, Miles Collier, John Moores and the consigning owner.

The first CERV was completed in 1960, and it was aimed at open-wheel racing. Duntov began work on this successor in late 1961, intending “to incorporate all the features necessary to make it a successful contender, not only in sprints but in such long-distance events as Le Mans and Sebring.” His plan was for a run of six cars, originally designated the G.S. 2/3, “to permit selective usage as two-wheel drive (G.S. 2) [or] four-wheel drive (G.S. 3).”

In the spring of 1964, around the time this car was completed, GM informed Chevrolet’s Bunkie Knudsen and Duntov that any ideas they had for racing were off the table. Repurposing it as CERV II, Duntov staunchly defended the prototype, writing, “We feel that in case we are not permitted to go racing, we should obtain permission to demonstrate it… It will show that although GM is not in racing, its engineering is more imaginative and more advanced than anyone else [sic].”

CERV II thus became a test vehicle for future exotic Corvette ideas, and it saw major outings from 1964 to 1970. These included tire testing, aerodynamic research and top-speed testing at Milford Proving Grounds. Chevrolet’s last test results are from 1970, after which it was placed into storage.

 

John L. Stein

John L. Stein - SCM Contributor

John is the product of the 1960s SoCal car and bike culture and has been screwing around with Ducati motorcycles since he was 16. An interest in cars, bikes and boats saw him simultaneously owning a twin-cam Lotus Europa and Kaiser Special, NSU Super Max and Ducati 750 GT motorbikes, and a mahogany Chris-Craft runabout. After leaving his job as Road Test Editor at Cycle magazine, he had a short-lived career in marine biology before becoming Associate Editor at Automobile and then Editor of Corvette Quarterly, GM’s official journal for Corvette. He’s American Car Collector magazine’s Corvette Market columnist and a regular contributor to Sports Car Market.

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