1960 Chevrolet Corvette with bizarre history up for auction and worth $2 million
It came, it conquered, then it drove home.
A 1960 Chevrolet Corvette that finished second in its class in the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans is coming up for auction and expected to sell for a championship price.
The car was one of four Corvettes that competed in the race, marking the first time the American sports car would make an appearance.
Three were entered by racing powerhouse Briggs Cunningham, while this one was campaigned by the small Camoradi USA Racing team.
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Camoradi had a base of operations for its racing efforts in Modena, Italy, and drove the car to the track for the race, as was not uncommon in the day.
It was entered along with three of the team’s Maserati Tipo 61 cars that ran in a different class.
One of Cunningham’s cars finished eighth overall and won the GT5.0 class, which was made up of just the four Corvettes. The other two failed to make it to the end, due to an accident and a fire.
Fred Gamble and Leon Lilley teamed up to drive the Carmoradi Corvette and completed the trip twice around the clock on a single set of racing tires for a 10th place finish and second in class, just six laps behind the Cunningham car.
Unfortunately, the regulations at the time required cars to reach a minimum target distance and the 2,307.7 miles it covered came up short, so it was technically not classified in the final standings.
The result was added to another second place at the 12 Hours of Sebring race in Florida, also behind a Corvette, a win at the Cuban Grand Prix and several other podium finishes.
The moral victory at Le Mans was secured, however, and the car driven back to Modena after the street tires were put back on, according to Vette Vues.
Later that year, the car was crashed in a road accident in Switzerland, where it remained and passed through several owners before ended up disassembled and stored away in 1981. It was discovered in that condition by American car collector Loren Lundberg in 1995 and brought back to the U.S. to be restored.
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Bizarrely, its original V8 engine and four-speed transmission had been removed and sent to New Zealand, where they were used in a racing powerboat that was subsequently lost at sea. Period-correct replacements were acquired, and the Corvette is now in the same condition it was when it raced at Le Mans.
The car is set to cross the block at the Mecum Auctions event in Indianapolis on May 20, where it is expected to sell for approximately $2 million, which would be among the five highest prices paid for a Corvette, not counting charity auctions.
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The all-time record currently stands at $3.85 million, which was paid for a rare 1967 L-88 convertible in 2014.