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Zora’s CERV 1 resurfaces

GM CERV 1 replica underway

Before the first Corvette Sting Ray was introduced in 1963, there was the CERV 1 (Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle). Developed by Corvette engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov, with body contours designed by Larry Shinoda, it served as a test bed for the independent suspension geometry that was introduced in the production 1963 Corvette. It was also used to test various powertrains, fitted with seven engines for testing over its lifetime, and featuring a number of other engineering innovations. Today, the historically priceless CERV 1 is on display at the MY Garage Museum at Mid America Motorworks.

A reproduction of the early-body CERV 1 is now underway by Tony Briski, a retired former GM engineer. He’s already reverse engineered the original car’s space frame in mild steel — the plan is to make his recreation a streetable car, not just a test bed. (Molds for the fiberglass will be completed by the time you read this.) “My intent is to have the look and feel of Zora’s design,” he says, “but safer, for use both on the street and various speed trials.”

He’s starting out with a mild 350 Chevy, which (like the original) is followed by a four-speed GM transmission adapted directly to a quickchange. For the suspension, he’s using a ’65 Sting Ray IRS with outboard discs, and a semi-custom front suspension that’s “very close to original — providing similar performance to the ’59 Corvette SS setup used on the CERV 1.” While the first car is for his personal use, Briski is setting up for production as well. Details on pricing and turnkeys are still to be determined.



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Zora Arkus-Duntov