Our feature Corvette is 1953 EX-122 and was inducted into the Bloomington Gold Great Hall in 2010. The event was held at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Illinois. At the time this historical Corvette was owned by The Kerbeck Collection.
From 1949 to 1961, when GM reigned supreme, it ran an expensive traveling circus called Motorama. It used this venue to showcase its current products along with an occasional “dream car” in a dozen major cities. It was here that Harley Earl, GM’s visionary design chief, first displayed EX-122, the prototype of what would become the Chevrolet Corvette.
EX-122 was built in the Experimental Department of Chevrolet Engineering in Detroit and debuted at the Motorama held at the New York Waldorf Astoria hotel in January 1953. Reaching production was anything but certain, but it did have strong-willed proponents. And it didn’t hurt that the public, including one Zora Arkus-Duntov who stood in line with everyone else at the Waldorf, flat-out loved the car. A limited run of 300 1953 Corvettes followed later in the year.
Its Motorama duties fulfilled, EX-122 returned to Engineering for testing. Its 6-cylinder was replaced with an experimental V8. It ran 25,000 miles at GM’s proving grounds. Russell Sanders, in charge of the Experimental Department, stated that it was torn down, rebuilt,
painted red, and used as a company car for another 5,000 miles. On April 11, 1956, Mr. Sanders bought it.
In 2002, the car was restored to its Motorama appearance. So it’s back to the show circuit right where it started, and where it continues to dazzle just as Mr. Earl knew it would.
This article appeared in the September 2010 issue of Vette Vues Magazine.
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