When you get right down to it, a car is a machine that does work. It transports people and cargo from one location to another. For most people, a car is just another appliance which is no different from an alarm clock or a garbage disposal. It is a purpose-built machine that makes our lives easier in some way. You use it when you need to, fix or replace it when it breaks, and feel no special attachment to it.
From the beginning of the automobile era, cars were designed with functionality in mind. Early automobiles were simply boxes on a ladder frame with some wheels. Today, cars have evolved into sophisticated, computer-controlled machines – but I would argue that the majority of cars on the road are still more functional than beautiful.
The appearance of a car hasn’t changed much because it hasn’t needed to: a car doesn’t need to be beautiful to get us where we are going. While I can certainly appreciate the intrinsic beauty of something that is purely functional, I can also appreciate when things are both functional and beautiful.
This car, a customized 1962 Corvette roadster “C1RS” is one of the most aesthetically beautiful cars I have ever seen. This vehicle transcends the definition of a car or even a hot rod, it is a work of art.
An Absolute Showstopper
This black beauty was built for collector Barry Blumquist by The Roadster Shop in Mundelein, Illinois – a modestly sized town that’s a stone’s throw from the Wisconsin border and Lake Michigan.
The car made its debut in 2009 and promptly won the Goodguys Street Machine of the Year award in July. In October it scooped up the GM Design Award for Best Hot Rod at the 2009 SEMA show. Allow me to explain the significance of these awards.
It’s a bit like an actor winning an Oscar in their debut role, something which has only happened 5 times in the history of the Oscars. It’s unprecedented for a car to such high honors so quickly, but just take one look at her and you’ll understand why.
The first thing you’ll notice about the C1RS is that it’s been converted into a full on roadster. That means no side glass and no provision for a top of any kind. It is a fair weather car for sure!
The body lines of the car have been completely reworked, yet retain their Corvette heritage. The car’s body panels, grille, dash, and roll bar are all made from hand-formed aluminum. Just think about all the time that has gone into that body!
The familiar crescent shape on the front fenders is gone, replaced by some angular carbon fiber vents. The rear fenders have been flared and extend around the rear of the car and its flush-mounted bumper. The door handles have been shaved. There are no side mirrors or rear view mirror. I guess it’s true what they say, less really is more!
The Inside Story
The interior of the C1RS Corvette has just as much custom detail as the exterior. The waterfall dash and center console are all hand-made aluminum. The driver can keep tabs on things with a set of Classic Instruments carbon fiber gauges, if they care to divert their eyes from the panoramic view provided by the frameless windshield.
The seats and door panels are done up in Italian red leather with alcantara suede inserts – a very eye-catching combination!
Full Speed Ahead
Let’s take a minute to talk about power: this car has plenty of it! The heart of this beast is a 427 cubic inch LS7 engine from Turnkey Engines with Kinsler cross-ram injection making 618 horsepower and 640 lb-ft of torque! The custom 2-inch stainless steel headers work their way through the exhaust in the form of a throaty rumble. The engine is mated to a Tremec T56 Bowler 6-speed transmission with a Ford 9″ rear end.
To help manage that power, the car rides on a custom Roadster Shop chassis with Detroit Speed and Engineering suspension components. There are massive 14.5″ 6-piston Brembo brakes and custom one-off spindle mount Forgeline wheels putting power to the pavement.
The one little thing I do not like about the car is the “This is Art” sticker on the windshield. It’s not a permanent fixture of the car – I’m guessing it was slapped on there for the auction. Still, it’s about as redundant as Marilyn Monroe wearing a “This is Beauty” sticker. She doesn’t need to state the obvious, and neither does this car!
This 1962 Corvette roadster is one bad-ass car. If this car went to high school, it would be wearing a leather jacket and smoking in the bathroom and have a switchblade in its back pocket. It is automotive art on a level that most hot rods can only aspire to. Therefore, I was not surprised when it sold at Barrett-Jackson 2013 for a staggering $396,000! What do you think about the C1RS? Chime in and post a comment below.