A unique example of the C2 Chevrolet Corvette built for the car's designer is among the standout lots at Mecums' auction currently underway in Kissimmee, Florida.
Bill Mitchell took over from Harley Earl as head of General Motors' design department at the turn of the 1960s. One of his first major projects was the second-generation Corvette, which launched in 1963 and stayed in production until 1967. This 1964 Corvette coupe is one of a handful of custom C2 "Styling Cars," in this case built specifically for Mitchell's personal use.
For its sophomore year, the C2 Corvette got some subtle styling changes. The 1963 model's fake hood louvers did not return, and coupes lost the distinctive split rear window. On top of that, Mitchell's car received an egg-crate grille, chrome side vents, and wire knock-off wheels—all references to Ferrari sports cars, of which the GM executive was quite fond.
Mitchell also enjoyed deep sea fishing, which was the inspiration for the Corvette's Bright Blue Metallic paint. The car also has a blue leather interior—including a leather-wrapped dashboard, door panels, and transmission tunnel—as well as a non-standard Nardi steering wheel.
1964 Chevrolet Corvette Bill Mitchell Styling Car (photo via Mecum Auctions)
Power comes from the 327-cubic-inch V-8 that was available in Corvettes at the time. However, this car also has a Hydra-Matic 3-speed automatic transmission that wasn't available in Corvette production cars until 1968.
According to the auction listing, Mitchell used this Corvette as his personal car until 1967, when it was sold as a used car in Sterling Heights, Michigan.
Mecum expects the Bill Mitchell Corvette to sell for between $500,000 and $600,000 at auction, but it will have some competition for bidder's attention. Another Corvette Styling Car—a 1963 convertible built for Harley Earl, Mitchell's predecessor—will cross the block at the same Florida auction.