In 1959, the Father of the Corvette started a research project and it resulted in a number of experimental concept cars created by General Motors engineers and designers. Zora Arkus-Duntov kicked off this program with the creation of CERV I. The very first Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle was first shown to the public in 1960 when it was displayed at Riverside International Raceway. Now, after a very long path back, the CERV I has returned home to GM.
The car was a test platform built so GM could tinker with all manner of suspension setups. It was lightweight with plenty of power, which was crucial for the engineers. They wanted a vehicle with a very high power-to-weight ratio so adjustments to the suspension would be easily identifiable during testing.
Back in 1972, GM gave CERV I (and the next test car, CERV II) to racer Briggs Cunningham. The cars remained in his private collection through the mid 1980s. A private collector then acquired CERV I, and it eventually made its way to the auction rounds. It was at an auction where the car has found it's new owner.
This time that owner is GM. The automaker purchased the car earlier this month at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. How much did it take to bring CERV I home? A handsome sum of $1.3 million. It may be a small price to pay, however, for such an important piece of GM history. It was created by one of the most important men in the company's history, and now the car gets to reside in the comfort of the GM Heritage Center.
Perhaps the automaker will trot out CERV I when it comes time to show off the upcoming mid-engine Corvette.