Joie Chitwood’s ’58 Corvette

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The 1962 Chevrolet Corvette in flight during Joie Chitwood Thrill Show performance

I was in high school when the Joie Chitwood Thrill Show visited my hometown in Illinois. Chitwood, who had raced at Indy seven times immediately before and after World War II, and his troupe would do amazing things in automobiles, including driving them on two wheels, jumping from ramp to ramp, and even through flames.

Our Pick of the Day is one of the cars Chitwood used in his shows, a 1958 Chevrolet Corvette being offered for sale on ClassicCars.com by a nationally respected Corvette specialist dealer in Napoleon, Ohio.

According to the advertisement, Chitwood ordered the car new. Along with the car comes such documentation as the original registration signed by Chitwood, Thrill Show promotional materials and video, and a complete owner history.

“This is a beautiful, historic, and highly documented vehicle that has been professional maintained and displayed in climate-controlled conditions,” the seller notes.

The advertisement reports that the car, driven only 19,000 miles since new, has been professionally restored and received an American Heritage award from the National Corvette Restorers Society.

In addition to its 283cid/290 horsepower fuel-injected V8 engine and four-speed transmission, the car comes with a 4:11 posi-traction rear end; spare tire, jack and tools; rebound straps; seat belts; and more.

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Speaking of seat belts, Chitwood may have been the first driver to wear one in the Indianapolis 500, where he finished in fifth place three times.

A native of Texas who started racing on dirt tracks in Kansas, Chitwood was a stunt driver for movies such as the Clark Gable/Barbara Stanwyck classic, To Please a Lady, and played the role of Charlie in James Bond’s Live and Let Die. He also was an automotive safety consultant, crashing cars for safety examination and with one of his sons also doing crash tests into guardrails and interstate highway sign pillars and light poles.

Chitwood’s ’58 Corvette is for sale for $300,000.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

 

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

1 COMMENT

  1. Joie was a wild man, no doubt. Too bad nobody would ever, ever have a "thrill show" now. Those were terrifically different times, and the idea of him show-jumping a Corvette is just so, well, Joie Chitwood. Did he ever drive this one on two wheels, or through a flaming circle?

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