George Barris' Asteroid Corvette - image: Carlisle EventsEnlarge Photo
One such customer was speedboat racer Bob Nordskog, who ordered a 1963 Corvette from the factory sans paint. The car was shipped to legendary customizer George Barris, who transformed it into the soon-to-be-famous “Asteroid” show car.
Starting with an extended nose that added to the car’s stingray-like appearance, Barris tucked the car’s headlights behind a minimalist grille and brought the exhaust out through the fenders, just behind the front wheels.
The iconic split rear window was removed, replaced by a single pane of curved glass (a design the Corvette would adopt on its own in 1964), and the Stingray’s tail was reshaped for a cleaner, custom look. Rear fenders were cut to allow larger wheels and tires, and the car rolled on wire wheels (for street use) or American Mags (for the track).
Under-hood, the 352 cubic-inch V-8 sported six Stromburg 97 carburetors, and most components were either chromed or painted in gold metallic finish. Its most obvious and eye-catching detail, however, was its metallic copper paint, which gave rise to the car’s “asteroid” nickname.
The “Asteroid” was an instant hit on the show circuit, winning the Long Beach Autorama and the Mickey Thompson Classic Car Show in 1963. It graced the cover of Popular Hot Rodding in November of 1963, and also made the pages of Hot Rod, Custom Corvettes, Popular Customs and Vette Magazine.
Its biggest moment in the spotlight, however, may have been on the cover of Jan and Dean’s 1963 record album, “Drag City.” In the early 1960s, getting your car on the cover of a hit album meant you were seriously big-time.
Currently in the midst of a full restoration, the “Asteroid” Corvette will be revealed to the public at this year’s Corvettes at Carlisle event, scheduled to take place in Carlisle, Pennsylvania on August 23 - 25. For information on the event, head on over to the Carlisle Events website.