Not surprisingly, the most expensive Chevy to make the 2015 Mecum “Top Ten” list was a Corvette. However, a rare 1969 Yenko Nova was not far behind. Another 1964 Corvette Tanker cracked the top five, along with a Bel Air convertible and one of the 300 Corvettes built in 1953. It took an auction sale price of at least $180,000 to make it into this elite top-five group.
1964 Chevrolet Corvette Tanker Coupe
This $415,000 Tuxedo Black beauty grabbed the number-six spot at the 2015 Kissimmee event. The interior is all-original, and the traditional hoses and fittings are still intact underneath the hood. The odometer proves that this very special Corvette has traveled just 19,584 miles.
It is a wonderful example of the 1964 Chevrolet Corvette Tanker Coupe, one of the rarest ‘Vettes ever. This Corvette is one of just 38 equipped with the big N03 36-gallon fuel tank, and one of only 29 with J56 brakes. Only one other Corvette with the same array of features is known to exist. The oversized fiberglass gas tank was intended for endurance racing, and the Tankers went up against Shelby Cobras on the racing circuit. The 1963-67 fastback Sting Rays are among the most compelling Corvettes ever built, and the Tanker version is very special indeed.
The L84 327 CI small-block, fuel-injected engine is mated to a close-ratio, four-speed manual transmission. The 375 hp Ramjet V8 was capable of accelerating a Tanker from zero-to-60 mph in just 5.8 seconds. Its quarter-mile time was 14.3 seconds. Opting for this powerful V8 added $538 to the $4,252 MSRP of a ’64 coupe.
This particular Corvette was originally delivered to a dealer in Bartlesville, Oklahoma – Roy Hughes Chevrolet. At one point, a previous owner stored it for 17 years in a custom-built plywood enclosure. The original window sticker, registration receipts, owner’s manual and warranty booklet all remain in pristine condition. Whoever had the foresight back then to add the Ramjet V8 option to this now-iconic Sting Ray laid the groundwork for the impressive $415,000 sale six decades later.
1969 Chevrolet Yenko Nova
This rare 1969 Chevrolet Yenko Nova sold for $380,000, also at the Kissimmee auction. The selling price placed it in the seventh position, right behind the Tuxedo Black Corvette Tanker. It is believed that fewer than 40 of these barely street-legal conversions were ever built. Of those, fewer than ten are known to exist today.
Late-sixties Corvettes and Camaros equipped with the 427 CI L72 engine and four-speed manual accelerated with abandon, but a similarly-equipped lightweight Nova really screamed off the start line. The 450 horsepower engine with an 11:1 compression ratio replaced the factory 396 CI V8. Yenko’s Nova conversions could complete the zero-to-60 scamper in just 5.1 seconds and the quarter-mile in less than 11 seconds.
Don Yenko once described the SC427 Nova as “the wildest thing we ever did.” There was so much muscle built into this lightweight vehicle that GM refused to approve it as a regular production vehicle.
This particular LeMans Blue Nova with White Yenko stripes underwent a frame-off restoration 15 years ago. Along with other Yenko Novas, it features matching painted steel wheels and “dog-dish” hubcaps. Inside, there’s a black bench seat and an AM radio. This well-known muscle car has been featured in a number of magazines, including the January 2005 issue of Chevy Rumble magazine. It is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the Gold Spinner Award from the 2004 Chevy VetteFest. It was also awarded a “Best in Class” award at the 2012 Ault Park Concours.
1964 Chevrolet Corvette Tanker
Another 1964 Chevrolet Corvette Tanker made the Mecum top ten list in 2015 as well. This vehicle is also one of the 38 original 1964 Corvettes outfitted with the big 36-gallon N03 fiberglass fuel tank. This rare “Tanker” brought in $220,000 at the 2015 Houston event. It’s a classic white Corvette with a contrasting black interior, and it’s fitted with knock-off wheels.
The fuel-injected 327 CI engine is mated to a four-speed transmission, and it can generate a maximum of 375 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. The theoretical top speed is 142 mph. This particular Sting Ray also features a 4.11 ratio Positraction rear-end differential. Power brakes are provided to bring the racing-capable powertrain to a stop.
1953 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster
This classic 1953 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster sold for $200,000 at Rogers’ Classic Car Museum event in February. Although the engine was fired up in the days leading up to the auction, the roadster has never been driven.
Only 300 Corvettes were built during the latter half of 1953, and this is one of them. They were all built in an old truck plant in Flint, Michigan, because a new plant was still being readied for full commercial production slated for the 1954 model year. The body was fabricated from fiberglass-reinforced plastic, and the rest is history. As manufacturing techniques evolved during the production run, so did the finished product. As a result, a number of differences appear from one ’53 Corvette to another, although they all featured a Polo White exterior, Sportsman Red interior and black canvas top. The 1953 Corvette sports a zero-to-60 time of 11.2 seconds. It covered the quarter-mile in 18.1 seconds.
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
This quintessential fifties-era Chevy sold for $180,000 at the April auction in Houston. It’s beautifully rendered in Larkspur Blue with a matching blue top. It underwent a frame-off restoration in 2009, and it has been driven only 310 miles since. It came with the original purchase order, original sales contract and original factory documents. The excellence of this classic Chevy convertible was recognized at the Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance, where it garnered a first-place award.
Power for this 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible comes from a 283 CI engine equipped with a four-barrel carburetor and automatic transmission. The so-called “Super Turbo Fire” V8 could generate 220 horsepower. The 283 CI engine was more powerful than its 265 CI predecessor found in the 1955 and 1956 models. The bigger engine was very successful in NASCAR racing, and it adds to the desirability of the 1957 model.
This Bel Air was very well equipped for its day, complete with factory air, an electric clock, Wonderbar radio, power windows and power seats. It also featured other innovations like a power antenna and emergency brake flash. GM designers even included a tissue dispenser in the cabin.
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