1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport with chassis No. 002 to be auctioned in January 2009

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

One of the rarest and most valuable Corvettes in history, the powerful 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport, chassis no. 002, will be put up for auction by an American auction house. The Corvette Grand Sport, commonly referred to in motor racing history as an enigma, was General Motor's challenger against the formidable Shelby Cobra by Ford.

Conceptualized by the late Zora Arkus-Duntov, known as the father of the Corvette, these highly classified, hand-made race vehicles were created to win at FIA endurance races and finally the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

No more than five were built out of the planned 120 car run prior to GM's cancellation of its competition activities in the early part of 1964. Nonetheless, the tremendous performance received from extremely high horsepower and light body construction was the realization of Duntov's dream of the Corvette.

Today, the high-priced 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport with chassis No. 002 with original, unmodified race body is being put up for auction for the first time from RM Auctions.

Owned previously by Roger Penske, the owner of Penske Racing, and racing driver George Wintersteen, the 002 is one of two racecars manufactured out of the original five models, making it rarer than its brothers.

Although the Grand Sports did have different engines, obviously the most powerful of these was the 550 hp V8 unit. The Grand Sport had only a racing weight of about 1,900lb (861kg) and with this V8 power plant under its hood, it would have given the Grand Sport really high performance qualifications, at least in a straight line.

Allegedly, the aerodynamics of the Grand Sport was not completely designed for high-speed handling and could cause some dangerous situations in some instances. The Publisher of Corvette Market magazine, Keith Martin, describes the 1963 Corvette Grand Sport as "one of the most desirable Corvettes ever built.

With its significant racing history, featuring a strong showing in the 1966 U.S. Road Racing Championship, it is the most important Corvette to ever be offered for sale publicly." The legendary Corvette will be presented along with over 100 exceptional vintage automobiles and motorcycles.

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