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						Cecil Moore Special
Cecil Moore’s HEMI Special

Corvette-based sports special by Cecil Moore

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, BringaTrailer.com

There was a time in this country where speed-crazed American buyers weren’t so spoiled for choice, with the ability to purchase new and used sports cars of almost every flavor with relative ease. Back in the 1940s for instance, the idea of a sports car was new to most buyers, who had only a small selection of imports available from the likes of Jaguar, Ferrari, Allard and others. American automakers were catching on by the early ’50s, with the new Corvette arriving to the party in ’53, trailing behind small manufacturers like Crosley, Hudson and Kaiser-Frazer. So the secret was out by the late 1950s when Cecil Moore started building his Corvette-based HEMI special, but his enterprising spirit and talented hands were still inspired to create something of his own design.

A tool-and-die operator by trade and gearhead by nature, Cecil Moore was just 25 years old when he completed his HEMI-powered special. He started with a 1956 C1 Corvette chassis, front suspension and steering, and completed the car with a Dodge driveline and custom fiberglass body. The engine was, and still is, a 270 ci Red Ram HEMI pulled from a 1955 Dodge and upgraded with an Isky cam, Mallory ignition and polished Edmunds valve covers. Moore finished the driveline with a ’53 Dodge two-speed and a 3.73 ratio rear end from a 1950 Dodge.

If that recipe wasn’t unique enough, Moore undertook the construction of a custom fiberglass body in the relatively new medium of fiberglass. The BaT auction write up details that the body panels were built by forming a chicken wire and paper mâché mold over a wooden buck, which gives you a whole new respect for the guys working with fiberglass at the time.

The finished body is full of different influences. The stepped side profile echoes Jaguar’s XK120, while the red paintwork and wire wheels in the quarters show hints of Ferrari flavor. Somehow the completed car still feels like a Corvette though, albeit a highly customized one, likely thanks to the stock ’56 windscreen. Other custom elements include a ’57 Studebaker grille, custom headrest bump and spare tire cover out back. Unlike anything else on the road at the time, Cecil Moore’s HEMI-powered special was featured in a three-page spread in the October 1959 issue of Hot Rod Magazine.

Today the Moore HEMI special is presented in excellent mechanical and cosmetic condition, having been restored sometime after the current owner took possession in 2007. The car is now offered here on BringaTrailer.com with a current high bid of $20,000 with two days remaining in the sale. What the Moore special will sell for is anyone’s guess, but we do know it failed to reach reserve in another BaT auction in May 2018 at $30,333.

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