Not long ago, Mecum Auctions in Chicago sold off former General Motors Vice President of Design Harley Earl’s 1963 Corvette for the staggering price of $1.5 million. Now Mrs. Earl’s Corvette is set to go up on the auction block, and while it isn’t expected to fetch the six figure sum Mr. Earls did, this ‘Vette is as every bit as unique.
The 1963 Corvette in question is Special Order #10324, exactly one number after Harley Earl’s Corvette. The car was ordered in Pink Pearl, to match the Earl’s pink Palm Beach home, and was powered by a 327 cubic-inch, 300 horsepower small-block V8 mated to a Powerglide 2-speed automatic transmission.
Soon after the Earls purchased the car, they had it returned to GM where it received new prototype features. The split rear window was replaced with a ’64-’67-style one piece window, the rear-view mirror was changed to the larger Impala mirror and GM had added the 1964 B-pillar ventilation system.
Later, in 1964, the pink ‘Vette returned to GM where the Chevrolet Engineering Division added a dual circuit master cylinder, 4 wheel disc brakes, 1965-style knock-off wheels and a new hood, front side fenders, grille, gauges, clock, radio and console all from the 1965 Corvette parts bin.
In 1965 the car was sold by a West Palm Beach Chevrolet Dealer to Mary Louise Gregory for $3, 279. Mrs. Gregory owned the car until 1970 when it was sold to Doris Rifenberger of Herkimer, New York, who had a summer home in Florida.
In 1974 Mrs. Rifenberger returned to New York with the pink Corvette. She parked it at her Herkimer home until 1976, when Joe Cifarelli of New York spotted the car and, on impulse, pulled into the driveway of Rifenberger and inquired about purchasing the car. Rifenberger agreed to sell Cifarelli the car, but informed him it did not run. Cifarelli repaired the car on the spot and proceeded to drive it home where he and his wife enjoyed the car on a number of outings before putting it away in storage for 37 years.
Recently Cifarelli had the car inspected by Corvette specialists, who confirmed the cars authenticity by removing the driver’s side door panel and uncovering the special order number, which was written in pencil on the paper vapor barrier. The auction includes the bill of sale from Roger Dean Chevrolet, which states it once belonged to the Chevrolet Engineering Center as well as the original warranty booklet and a letter from the previous owner.
All of which is to say that the Sue Earl Corvette is unrestored with 27,457 miles on the odometer. The car is set to be auctioned by Mecum Auctions Chicago on January 25 at 3:15 p.m. for the projected sum of $500,000 to $750,000. Happy bidding.