October 10-12 should prove to be an interesting weekend in the world of rare car collectors. Despite many of us feeling the pressure of the current economic climate, cars with elite pedigrees and history are selling at auction at record breaking numbers. Eyes and ears will be watching and listening as Mecum Auctions’ event at the Schaumburg Convention Center in Schaumburg, Illinois near Chicago has the potential to break them all with the sale of Harley Earl’s custom custom 1968 Corvette Sting Ray taking center stage. Among many custom features, the one-of-a-kind Sting Ray showcases side exhausts and a second instrument panel, details the former head of Design at GM surely admired.
An innovator of modern transportation, Earl was building custom body automobiles for Hollywood stars like Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and Tom Mix by the time he dropped out of Stanford University. As his career gained speed, Earl was left combating criticism and defending his ingenious work, often being called ‘flamboyant’ and ‘unfounded’. His secret “Project Opel” (aka Chevy Corvette) was introduced to the public in 1953 and solidified his rank as a forerunner in the American automotive world.
Eventually Earl was named the first ever top executive in Design of a major American corporation, a title rightfully earned. His contributions to the automotive industry include the use of freeform design sketching, the idea of hand sculpted clay models to introduce “concept cars” and tailfins for automotive styling, design processes that are still used today.
Last month’s record breaking $3.4 million L88 Corvette sale, has left the rare car market buzzing. With the rising values of classic cars, and an unmatched pedigree and history, Earl’s vette is the car to watch at the Chicago auction.
E3 Spark Plugs will be watching and we’re taking bets on Facebook! Will Earl’s Vette smash the L88 record?