Chevrolet CERV I testbed heads to public sale in Monterey


Zora Arkus-Duntov’s GP prototype is likely one of the few remaining GM testbeds

The 1960 Chevrolet CERV I shall be going up for public sale at RM Sotheby’s in Monterey; a scarcely-seen racing prototype that boasts a historical past as mysterious as its appears to be like.

Nominally billed as a testbed automobile for a mid-engined Corvette, the Chevrolet Engineering Analysis Automobile (CERV), in actuality, carried out a really completely different position in GM’s steady of prototypes and analysis autos. Constructed for Chevrolet engineers as a single-seat racer that may permit them to check varied programs for manufacturing automobiles the CERV was dreamt up by GM Director of Excessive Efficiency Autos Zora Arkus-Duntov, at first as a analysis automobile for varied Corvette methods. However it was no coincidence that it was formed like a excessive-pace race automobile, as that was mentioned to have been Arkus-Duntov’s actual motive. The CERV was a testbed car all proper — for racing.

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CERV I historical photo

The CERV I initially featured barely completely different bodywork. Photograph by RM Sotheby’s


The engineering and design of the automotive betrays its true objective; the house body makes use of chromium-molybdenum and wears a light-weight fiberglass physique weighing solely eighty kilos, designed by legendary Chevrolet engineers Larry Shinoda and Tony Lapine. As initially constructed, the CERV was powered by a 289 CID V8 with a silicon alloy block and a number of other secondary techniques made out of aluminum, sourced from an earlier Corvette testbed. Wherever aluminum wasn’t used, magnesium was employed in an additional effort to chop as a lot weight as doable, with the automobile that includes a magnesium clutch housing and consumption unit.

The CERV used a hydraulic clutch and a  reverse-geared 4-velocity transmission positioned behind the engine. In all, the CERV weighed simply 1,450 kilos dry, with nearly each single system constructed to avoid wasting weight. Taken collectively, this was a objective-constructed race automobile quite than a Corvette prototype, however given the secrecy surrounding its engineering it is secure to say that only a few folks knew its true goal.

Grand Prix-type racing and excessive pace document-setting was its true function, although the CERV initially underwent testing at Pikes Peak. The automotive would run on the GM Proving Grounds in addition to at Riverside, the place Dan Gurney and Stirling Moss took turns behind the wheel. Later growth would see the CERV achieve a 17-psi TRW turbocharged port-injection set-up that introduced the horsepower output as much as 500 hp at 6,000 rpm, reportedly making it probably the most highly effective engine examined by GM on the time. The takeoff was stated to raise the entrance wheels off the bottom, with GM engineers pressured to revamp the nostril of the automobile to assist with aerodynamics.

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CERV I side profile

The CERV I used to be constructed nominally to check Corvette techniques, however testing racing programs is the way it ended up getting used. Photograph by RM Sotheby’s


How did this prototype survive the standard destiny of prototypes and ideas? Simply when its successor, the CERV II, was proper across the nook, Arkus-Duntov had the CERV I saved and restored, maintaining it in its remaining configuration with the aerodynamic modifications and the aluminum 377 V8 engine. GM would find yourself giving the CERV I as a present to Briggs Cunningham for his vehicle museum in Costa Mesa. The automotive modified fingers in 1986, becoming a member of Miles Collier’s assortment together with the CERV II.  The consignor acquired the automotive immediately from Collier and it’s stated to have been saved in a personal assortment all this time, in a preserved relatively than restored state.

RM Sotheby’s estimates the CERV I to carry between $1.three million and $2 million on public sale day, with the big unfold indicating uncertainty over bidder curiosity. The public sale home places this automotive in the identical league because the Buick Y-Job, although that idea is arguably higher identified. Would the CERV I be becoming a member of a set of interval race vehicles or a set of GM automobiles? If it sells wherever within the estimate vary, it will be a dear a part of both sort of assortment.

Visit the auction website to view the complete record of tons in addition to public sale schedule.



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