Rare 1964 Corvette XP-819 Prototype: This Was One Badass Car
Our featured Corvette today is the 1964 Corvette XP-819 Prototype which was sold in 2002 at RM Sotheby’s Monterrey Sports and Classic Car Auction for $148,500. Mike Yager, the founder of Mid America Motorworks, a Corvette and VW parts and accessories supplier based in Effingham, Ill., bought the rear-engine XP-819.
The XP-819 was scheduled for destruction. However, racer and performance driver Smokey Yunick asked for this car as the basis for a new race car design. We learn from Wikipedia that “Smokey never completed the racer and later sold the XP-819 to Steve Tate, a General Motors dealer from Gallatin, Missouri.” and that “When purchased, the car had been cut into several pieces and was almost unidentifiable. Had Tate not spotted the “XP” designation on the windshield Vehicle Identification Number, the car might never have been seen again.”
Our photo here shows the XP-819 on display as it was being restored at the Long Island shop of Kevin Mackay, Corvette Repair in Valley Stream, N.Y. It is on display in the My Garage in Effingham, Illinois.
The 1964 XP-819 is the only rear-engine Corette prototype and one of only two monocoque chassis cars Chevrolet ever produced. Frank Winchell, then head of Chevrolet Research and Development, built this futuristic Corvette platform. The body was designed by Larry Shinoda. The XP-819 prototype was developed at a time when Chevrolet and Frank Winchell worked jointly with Jim Hall and his Chapparal program. All Chapparal development expenses were written off at Chevrolet under the futuristic XP-819. The Chapparal cars and XP-819 shared components included: a two-speed transaxle, Larry Shinoda designed wheels, and the first race and pinion steering used by General Motors.
SP-819 features include adjustable electric brake and accelerator pedals, a telescoping steering column, and the first use of urethane front and rear bumpers. The rear-engine design required a reverse rotation engine. All chassis components, coil-over shocks, a-arms, spindles, ball joints, and disc brakes are unique prototypes.
Zora Arkus Duntov, Chief Corvette Engineer, had nothing to do with the XP-8a19. It was Zora who started the “ugly duckling” name long associated with XP-819.
In 2012 the XP-819 Corvette was displayed at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance that was held March 9-11. Here is the press release that was sent out:
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