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History Yes Virgina there really is a 1963 steel Corvette

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by HOTRODPRIMER, Jan 25, 2019.

  1. I was doing some research and ran across this as a fluke and thought you guys might enjoy reading this and see the photos.

    It was designed by Pininfarina. HRP


    If you knew the answer is yes, then you probably know the story behind the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Rondine, a rare prototype that was commissioned by the Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina – and was made of steel!

    The unique Corvette Rondine set a record at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in 2008 when it sold for a cool $1.6 million to a Connecticut collector. Pininfarina had held onto the car in its museum for some 40 years and also displayed the Rondine at various events, including the 2005 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d/Este as part of the coachbuilder’s 75th anniversary, before finally deciding to auction it off.

    Interestingly, Zora Arkus-Duntov, the first Corvette chief engineer, was a fan of the car and was once quoted as saying: “For the first time I now have a Corvette I can be proud to drive in Europe.”

    While crafted in Italy, the Rondine still had its American roots since U.S.-born design legend Tom Tjaarda penned its sleek lines while working in Italy for Pininfarina. Tjaarda also designed the Ferrari 330 GT 2+2, Fiat 124 (which arrived in 1966 and featured many styling cues from the Rondine), and DeTomaso Pantera.

    Since it was made of metal, the Rondine was much heavier than the stock Corvette. The front end slopes forward along a smooth curve that ends with a thin, horizontal chrome grille that provides air to the engine. This was an attractive yet practical design element to keep the engine cool. The side panel is accented by a sharp line originating from the grille. The angle runs along the front fender, through the side of the car and ends at the crest of the rear fender, giving the “Rondine” a slender, European look. The rear end features the celebrated “swallow tail” arrangement, which minimizes the visibility of the car’s tail due to projecting rear fenders. Under the hood of the mesmerizing teal sports car lies a 327ci, 4-speed manual, fuel-injected V8 that pumps out 360 horsepower. The interior design remained pretty much like the GM version, though the stock seats were re-covered in sumptuous Italian leather and the floor covered with rich black carpet. The door jams were also chromed and decorated panels were fitted.



    If you’re wondering the reasoning behind making the Rondine in the first place, it was built for the 1963 Paris Auto Show, the result of a long-running relationship between GM and Pininfarina. Corvette enthusiast and historian Tony Thacker once told Corvette Fever magazine: “It was perhaps as a result of the friendship between (Corvette designer Bill) Mitchell and Pinin Farina, the founder of the Italian design house, that a ’63 Sting Ray found its way to Turin’s Valley di Susa for Pininfarina to re-body in any way they wished.”

    As a styling exercise, the car has its good points. But based on the lukewarm reception from the public, the Rondine just never caught on as a possible Italian-American collaboration similar to the DeTomaso and was quietly retired to the company’s museum. We’ll stick with Larry Shinoda’s original Sting Ray design, thank you.
  2. upspirate
    Joined: Apr 15, 2012
    Posts: 2,299


  3. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 12,344

    Bandit Billy

    It's cool and all and I'm sure it is worth a fortune wherever it is these days but I wouldn't take it over a split window.
  4. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 3,232


    Proof that nothing is outside reality if you look long enough. I see many typical Pinin touches. As if you could say "typical" and "Pinin Farina" in the same sentence. I like it. Probably not a fun drive in the Italian sun.

  5. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 6,414


    That interior shot is a little shocking, I would have expected something a little more....Italian. Not complaining, just saying. Did you notice that it's got the high hp tach? Thanks HRP.
    dana barlow, 3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  6. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 11,348

    from Tampa, FL

    Cool, but I'm finding it hard to warm up to the whole front end. Too much snout for me. Gary
    3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  7. 2935ford
    Joined: Jan 6, 2006
    Posts: 3,843


    .....I like it! :)
    3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  8. jim snow
    Joined: Feb 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,811

    jim snow

    Cool. Snowman
    3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
    Joined: Jan 24, 2010
    Posts: 2,774

    from IDAHO

    Very Interesting Auto And Story...Thanks..
    3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  10. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 6,731

    from Berry, AL

    Kinda reminds me of an Avanti from the side view. Front has some resemblance to a Jag. They should have popped a mold off it and offered it as a special edition or something.
  11. raven
    Joined: Aug 19, 2002
    Posts: 4,698


    That is a beautiful car...

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
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  12. I like the split window...
    j hansen, 3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  13. A Boner
    Joined: Dec 25, 2004
    Posts: 7,429

    A Boner

    Sort of looks like a Studebaker.
  14. Pretty styling. The nose is a little long for my eyes. I am not a big fan of the long nose and the foreshortened tail. I didn't even know a concept Corvette like this even existed.
    If I was presented with the opportunity of picking between this and the 1964 Coupe I owned back then, I would still pick my coupe. Another car I would have liked back then, was the BMW 507 sports car. They also sell for a ton of cash.
    3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  15. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 3,330


    Interesting & beautiful. Thankfully the European tilt didn't take off. Couldn't imagine rows of that edition lined up for M/P in the hay-day...:eek:
    3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  16. classiccarjack
    Joined: Jun 30, 2009
    Posts: 1,465


    I like wierd cars, and it's done well when compared to other one off cars that I have seen...

    Sent from my Moto Z (2) using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  17. bangngears
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 1,155

    from ofallon mo

    Looks like a cross between a late model Corvair and an Avante.
  18. Gorgeous car, still like the styling of the 63 vette better.
    3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  19. Obviously GM & the consumers felt the same way. HRP
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  20. Johnny Gee
    Joined: Dec 3, 2009
    Posts: 12,658

    Johnny Gee
    from Downey, Ca

    ^^^^^ Just thinking the same thing.
    3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  21. Found a photo that shows the grille. HRP

  22. art dekko
    Joined: Jul 1, 2010
    Posts: 65

    art dekko

    The Rondine is a beautiful car and I was fortunate to see it in person at several car shows. You might be interested in this aluminum bodied '59 Corvette fuelie, bodied by Carrozzeria Scaglietti. Carroll Shelby commissioned this build. Last I heard this is in the Peterson Museum.

    scalietti_corvette.jpg scalietti_corvette_2.jpg
    Rolleiflex, 3W JOHN, slim38 and 3 others like this.
  23. Boodlum
    Joined: Dec 19, 2007
    Posts: 353


    Not Pininfarina's best effort. The whiff of Fiat 124 convertible with an oddly disproportionate, bulbous nose.

    Pininfarina seems to vacillate wildly between beauty and clumsy.

    ETA: I prefer the contemporary work of Franco Scaglione

    HOTRODPRIMER and 3W JOHN like this.
  24. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 3,232


    The 124 Spider took almost all of the design elements and balanced them nearly perfectly. At least until Fiat had to add rubber bumpers. The coupe version doesn't seem to be the same car at all.
    3W JOHN, upspirate and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  25. From what I have read there were 3 of these built, one was assembled abroad and the other two were shipped to the United States in pieces and assembled here. HRP
    3W JOHN likes this.
  26. ass is too pinched-in for me too.
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  27. 3W JOHN
    Joined: Oct 8, 2015
    Posts: 1,156

    3W JOHN

    I like blue one.
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  28. Geez Danny, I thought you were talking about this debacle from Monogram Models:

    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  29. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 9,214


    Wait there's more. Here's a 1957 Corvette by Giovanni Michellotti. It's a purported one-off aluminium body built on a ‘54 Corvette chassis by Carozzeria Ghia in Switzerland. The Ghia Corvette was powered by a Blue Flame 6 in-line engine with a 4-speed manual gearbox. The white one below sports the same plates however note the small tail fins and side trim (Scallop)





    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  30. These cars don't seem to look like Corvettes
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.

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