As 1965 Corvettes go, the Le Mans Blue coupe that crossed Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale stage as lot 1413 isn’t particularly quick, and it certainly won’t post impressive handling numbers. In fact, it doesn’t run at all, but as a one-of-one cutaway 1965 Corvette demonstrator, it represents an interesting and valuable piece of Corvette history. On Saturday, January 20, the cutaway Corvette sold for a fee-inclusive price of $1.1 million, which put it in second place in the annual Arizona sale’s top-10.
The blue ’65 Sting Ray began life as a production Corvette coupe, equipped with the fuel-injected 327-cu.in. V-8 and a four-speed manual transmission. Post-assembly, it was shipped to a specialty contractor accustomed to building eye-catching trade show displays, where is was systematically disassembled and altered for show use.
As Dan Strohl pointed out in his 2015 article on the car, subassemblies were painted in unique colors to best-show details. The frame was finished in pale yellow, with the suspension in light blue. The exhaust was painted orange, but so was the engine, transmission, and even drive shaft. No longer affixed to the frame, the body was mounted on screw jacks that raised it high enough for curious spectators to view the inner workings of a mid-year Corvette.
The engine received clear-plastic valve covers, along with cutaways for the fuel injection, the exhaust header, the thermostat, and the cylinder head. Windows were cut in the transmission, allowing viewers to see its inner workings, and the bellhousing was opened to show the operation of the clutch assembly. Portions of the frame were cut away, and so were portions of the muffler to show its sound-deadening (and horsepower-robbing) baffles. Several wheels were given the saw as well, showing off the disc brakes beneath.
On display, electric motors spun the engine and worked the suspension, too. The model wasn’t the first “visible Corvette” funded by GM, but was likely ordered due to the popularity of a similar 1963 model on the show circuit.
Once its display career was finished, the model Corvette fell off the radar until the mid-1990s, when it surfaced in a collection in South Africa. American Corvette enthusiast Al Wiseman acquired it and funded a full restoration, selling the Sting Ray at auction in 2007 for $704,000. It crossed the block again in May of 2015 as part of the Andrews Collection, where it sold for a fee-inclusive $715,000. Though previously predicted to break the million-dollar mark, its sale at Scottsdale is believed to be the first time this milestone was crossed.
1970 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air IV convertible.
Other lots in the top-10 at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale sale included a 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder, which sold for $1.43 million; a 1952 Ferrari 212 Europa, which sold for $1.1 million; a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, which sold for $770,000; a 1966 Shelby GT350 Prototype #001, which sold for $605,000; a 2015 MTI Racing Boat, which sold for $548,900; a 2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition, which sold for $495,000; a 1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88, which sold for $495,000; a 1958 Chevrolet Corvette custom convertible, which sold for $440,000; and a 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air IV convertible, which sold for $440,000.
2015 Pioneer Cedar One custom roadster.
Equally worth noting were the auction’s charity sales, which included 10 vehicles that raised $6.21 million for a variety of causes. These were a 2017 Ford GT, donated by Ron Pratte, which raised $2.55 million to benefit The Autism Society of North Carolina’s Ignite Program and the Autism Alliance of Michigan; a 2018 Chevrolet Corvette Carbon 65 Edition, donated by GM, which raised $1.4 million to benefit The George W. Bush Presidential Center’s Military Service Initiative; the first 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, donated by GM, which raised $925,000 to benefit Building for America’s Bravest Through the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation; a 1988 Chevrolet Corvette 35th Anniversary Edition, which raised $350,000 to benefit the American Heart Association; a 2015 Pioneer Cedar One custom roadster, which raised $350,000 to benefit the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation, The Royal Canadian Legion and Our Nation’s Heroes Foundation; the first 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt, donated by Ford, which raised $300,000 to benefit Boys Republic; a 2017 Ford F-250 Pickup, which raised $115,000 to benefit ChildHelp through the SEMA Cares Foundation; a 1987 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Aero Custom Coupe “Project Prestone,” which raised $100,000 to benefit TGen Foundation; a 2018 Bennington 23SSBXP Pontoon Boat, which raised $100,000 to benefit the Mayshad Foundation; and a 1996 Ford Mustang, which raised $20,000 to benefit Jordan Vocational High School.
1988 Ford Mustang ASC McLaren convertible.
More affordable lots of interest included a 1969 Volkswagen Beetle, which sold for $8,250; a 1988 Ford Mustang ASC McLaren convertible, which sold for $9,900; a 1948 Crosley station wagon, which sold for $4,950; a 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado, which sold for $11,000; a 1972 Fiat 850 Spider, which sold for $7,700; a 1971 Ford Mustang, which sold for $9,350; a 1974 Volkswagen Thing convertible, which sold for $9,350; a 1923 Willys-Knight three-door coupe, which sold for $7,150; a 1972 Jeep CJ5, which sold for $9,900; and a 1964 Buick Riviera GS, which sold for $10,670.
For complete results from this Scottsdale auction, visit Barrett-Jackson.com.