Walworth, WI – October 15, 2013 — The windy city welcomed Mecum Auctions with an exceptional sale and enormous crowds at the Schaumburg Convention Center in Schaumburg, Ill., this past weekend. With 965 cars crossing the block throughout the three-day event, 615 hammered sold for a 64 percent sell-through rate and $18,634,223 in sales. The one-of-a-kind personal driver of Corvette’s original designer Harley J. Earl led auction sales with a hammer price of $1.5 million.

Chicagoland was abuzz with Mecum in town and bidders and spectators filled the Schaumburg Convention Center to near capacity to take part in the action. Record numbers of registered bidders in attendance translated to very strong individual sales resulting in nearly $7 million in growth from last year’s Chicago-area auction.

The Harley Earl Corvette (Lot S110), a 1963 General Motors styling car, took top honors at $1.5 million, and rightfully so as the one-of-a-kind Sting Ray gifted by GM to one of the most influential automobile stylists in the world. At a sale price of a half-million, a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 (Lot S135.1) took the second seat in the top ten sales. As number 23 of just 69 built that year, the ZL1 has been restored to its original factory specifications and presents as an excellently documented example. Coming in as the third top sale was a 2005 Ford GT (Lot S219). A one-owner car with a mere 2,047 miles on the odometer, this American power-house supercar sold for a hearty $240,000.

The complete top 10 sales list from the Chicago auction includes (all individual sales reflect hammer prices):
1. 1963 Harley J. Earl Corvette (Lot S110) at $1,500,000
2. 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 (Lot S135.1) at $500,000
3. 2005 Ford GT (Lot S219) at $240,000
4. 1965 Shelby Cobra, CSX4337 (Lot S205.1) at $140,000
5. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible (Lot S233) at $135,000
6. 1968 Dodge Hemi Dart Lightweight (Lot S116.1) at $125,000
7. 1969 Pontiac Trans Am (Lot S151) at $118,000
8. 1962 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible (Lot S157) at $110,000
9. 2013 Chevrolet COPO Camaro (Lot S174) at $105,000
10. 1951 Willys Overland Custom Pickup (Lot S116) at $100,000

For access to complete auction results and other member benefits, signup for the free InfoNet service offered at Mecum’s next classic and collector car auction will be in sunny SoCal at the Anaheim Convention Center this Nov. 21-23 featuring 750 vehicles. For more information or to consign a car for an upcoming Mecum auction, visit or call (262) 275-5050.



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The factory-styling Sting Ray gifted to the father of the Corvette – Harley J. Earl – will cross the block at Mecum’s Chicago auction this Oct. 10-12 at the Schaumburg Convention Center. Among an anticipated 1,000-car lineup, this car stands out as the personal driver of GM’s head designer who was one of the most significant innovators in the history of the American automobile.

This 1963 Corvette Convertible (Lot S110), Shop Order 10323, is a one-of-a-kind build given directly from General Motors to the man often credited for introducing design and color to the American automobile industry. Harley J. Earl joined GM in 1928 and became head of the General Motors Design team, retiring in 1958. His designs in the ‘50s at the Motorama tours are what brought the Corvette to the attention of the American public and to the world.
Gifted to Earl for his lifetime of contributions to General Motors, he kept the Metallic Blue car at his home in Palm Beach, Florida, for use as his personal driver. He enjoyed the Corvette for two years, even using it as the parade car at the Daytona 500 in 1965 when he served as Grand Marshall. The trophy given to the winner of the Daytona 500 remains his namesake to this day, dubbed “The Harley J. Earl Trophy.”

One of only four Corvettes ever built with the custom side exhaust system, the car features a custom gauge and dash treatment unique to S.O.10323. As a longtime member of the Corvette Hall of Fame, this car is a mainstay of the Bloomington Gold Special Collection having been invited more than any other Corvette in existence. Confirmed by GM as the very car custom built and gifted to Earl, the car has since been restored to the specifications as when it arrived in Earl’s driveway.

The historically significant, one-of-a-kind Harley J. Earl Corvette will cross the block on Saturday, Oct. 12 at Chicagoland’s only collector and classic car auction.

Doors to the Mecum Chicago auction will open each day at 8 a.m. Portions of all three days will be broadcast live on Discovery’s Velocity Network in addition to the live stream of the entire auction presented by Mecum. Mecum’s website is updated daily with the latest consignments including detailed descriptions and photographs of the vehicles. To view the list, to consign a vehicle or to register as a bidder for the Chicago auction, visit or call (262) 275-5050.  (Lot S110 1963 Harley J. Earl Corvette)


Harley J. Earl’s 1963 Corvette

  • – The personal car of GM designer Harley J. Earl. Custom built Sting Ray given to Harley J. Earl as a gift from GM
  • – (Shop Order) S.O. 10323
  • – 1 of 4 Corvettes ever built with this custom side exhaust
  • – 327/300 HP engine
  • – Knock-off wheels
  • – 4-speed manual transmission
  • – Air conditioning
  • – Metallic blue, custom Blue leather seats with white trim
  • – Stainless steel door and foot well inserts with plush carpeting
  • – Unique one-of-a-kind instrumentation (1965-67 flat design)
  • – Special unique gauges including altimeter, accelerometer, inside/outside temp, and vacuum pressure
  • – 1965-style 4-wheel disc brakes and dual circuit power brakes
  • – A mainstay of the Bloomington Gold Special Collection the Harley J. Earl Corvette is a one-of-a-kind factory special with singular historic pedigree
  • – Inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame and invited to the special collection more than any other Corvette
  • The 1963 General Motors styling car, Shop Order 10323, is known as the Harley Earl Car. Harley J. Earl was the Vice President of Design for General Motors. He joined GM in 1928 and retired in 1958. Over his 30-year career, Harley Earl became one of the most influential automobile stylists in the world. His best known innovations include the 1927 LaSalle redesign, the Buick Y-Job and LeSabre styling cars, the ground-breaking Motorama dream cars, the iconic big fins of the 1950s, wrap-around windshields, pillarless hardtops and two tone paint.

He is often considered the second most important man in the history of the American automobile, commonly known and accredited as the man who brought design and color to the American Auto Industry. As the father of the Corvette, it was his designs in the ‘50s at the Motorama tours that brought the Corvette to the attention of the American public and the world.

This car was given as a gift to Earl, sent straight from GM styling to the driveway of his Palm Beach, Florida, home. Earl used the car as a personal driver for two years in addition to running it as the parade car at the 1965 Daytona 500 when he served as Grand Marshall. The trophy for winner of the Daytona 500 remains “The Harley J. Earl Trophy” to this day.

While the car bears a 1963 serial number, it is fitted with several 1965-vintage components and a number of items that were never Corvette production pieces, such as the strange side-exit exhaust that sprouts from behind the front wheel wells. The interior is modified, with instruments installed in the glovebox panel, metal foot well plates and custom leather seats and door panels. The exhaust intrudes into the area for the battery, which was relocated behind the passenger seat. There is extensive use of cast brass emblems and other details, including the console trim. It is equipped with factory air conditioning and a four-speed manual transmission, and while certainly a 1963 model, its chrome trim, exterior emblems, interior control knobs and four-wheel disc brakes are all 1965 parts, as is the hood.

Another styling car of the same color was built for the Chicago Auto Show. It however, did not receive the gauge and dash treatment of S.O. 10323. In comparison to standard instrumentation, the clock was moved to the glovebox and accompanied by an accelerometer, vacuum pressure gauge, oil temperature gauge and matching inside/outside temperature gauges, while an altimeter replaced the clock in the center of the dash. As for the car’s most distinguishable feature, only four Corvettes were ever built with this custom cove-exiting exhaust system: the original styling Mako Shark, the Harley Earl car, the Bunkie Knudsen car and the Chicago Auto Show car.

When previous owner Joe Clark first acquired the car he was unaware of its unique history. As prominent Corvette hobbyists and collectors, he and his partner Bob Gold soon realized that they had more than just a custom car. Their conviction drove them to engage the factory in the search for more answers about this special Corvette.

Clark and Gold were quick to meet with the GM Design Staff, the most important result of which was that they confirmed the car as the very one custom-built as a gift to Harley Earl. It began life as a fuel-injection-equipped Red four-speed convertible that likely found service as a pool car or test mule. Designated Shop Order 10323, records indicated that the special glovebox-mounted instruments were originally intended for the Chicago Auto Show car but were installed in the Harley Earl car instead. GM Design Staff were instrumental not only in establishing the car’s history; they also made important contributions to the accuracy of its restoration.

A mainstay of the Bloomington Gold Special Collection (invited more times than any other car) and Corvette Hall of Fame inductee, this styling car is a one-of-a-kind factory special that has been confirmed by the GM design staff as the original Corvette Sting Ray gifted to the great Harley J. Earl.

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