63 corvette

Harley Earl’s 1963 Corvette Sold Again

The Mecum Auction concluded their Chicago area auction last week, with the big seller being a 1963 Corvette originally gifted by General Motors to their famed car stylist Harley Earl.

Harley Earl

Portrait of Harley Earl
Harley J. Earl

Harley J. Earl spent thirty years with General Motors and retired as the Vice President of Design.  He left a lasting mark during this iconic era, including working on the special Motorama era cars, concept cars, stylish sports coupes (hardtops) and two toned paint jobs with outrageous fins.  His 1938 Buick Y Job is actually considered the first “concept” car produced from Detroit.

1938 Buick concept car
1938 Buick Y-Job concept car

A little known fact is that the Daytona 500 NASCAR trophy is named the Harley J. Earl Trophy; showing the impact this designer had in automotive circles.

1963 Corvette

While titled as a 1963, it has several touches from the 1965, like 4 wheel disc brakes,  and many one-off designs including a set of custom gauges in the passenger pod.  The exhaust pipes coming out the side cove is also a unique touch.  It has a 327 power plant and the requisite four speed. It generally is suspected to be a mule (or test car) and hence even rarer and more valuable.  The car was originally destined for the Chicago Car Show. but then re-deployed as well deserved thanks to an automotive icon.Harley Earl Interior

Past Sales

This Corvette doesn’t seem to stay in one collection for long.  Mecum sold it in 2010 for $925,000, and previously  in 2009 for $985,000 and it was also sold by Barrett-Jackson in 1999 for $145,000 (all prices are listed without buyer’s premium).

Mecum Auction results for Chicago

During the three days of car selling frenzy, covered by Velocity TV, 965 cars were offered up for sale with 615 hammered sold (that is nearly a 65% selling rate) with over $18 million in sales.  Like most auctions many cars are offered on “reserve” meaning if the bid doesn’t reach a certain set amount, the car is not sold.

So what do you think?  Did the buyer get a deal?

 

Photos courtesy of Mecum Auctions and Barrett-Jackson Auction

Harley J. Earl photos © General Motors

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