Experimental 1964 mid-engine Corvette set for Amelia Island special class

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The experimental GS IIB racecar design was labeled a Corvette | Amelia Island Concours photos

The 25th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance has announced “an unprecedented Corvette reunion to celebrate the arrival of the mid-engine C8,” featuring a rare appearance of the experimental 1964 GS IIB.

The strikingly aerodynamic GS IIB (Grand Sport IIB) will be part of a special Amelia class of mid-engine experimental Corvettes that will include CERV I, CERV II, Corvette XP-819. XP-895, XP-897 GT, Aerovette, CERV III and the Indy Corvette, according to a news release from the Florida concours.

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Power is provided by a race-tuned 327cid V8

“This will mark the first appearance of the one-off experimental 1964 GS IIB outside the Chaparral Gallery of the Petroleum Museum in Midland, Texas,” the release says. “Applying the name Corvette to the nose and flanks of the GS II likely disguised GM Chief Engineer Frank Winchell’s ambitions to create a state-of-the-art Chevy-powered prototype race car and successor to the Corvette Grand Sport.”

The original GB II was based loosely on Chevrolet’s Monza GT concept car, which used Corvair running gear, but with a thin-gauge steel body and a 327cid V8 engine mated to a bespoke single-speed automatic transmission. 

“In the years that the Corvette Sting Ray was the latest design, the GS II was a bolt of engineering lightning created by an all-star squad: Larry Shinoda designed the GS II’s svelte body,” the release says. “The radical single-speed automatic transmission was developed by Chevy’s Jerry Mrlik. It was a confluence of the latest thinking and it looked and acted the part.”

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Aerodynamics played a crucial role in the body design

GB IIB was an updated version with an aluminum monocoque shell and revised body designed for wider tires.  It received extensive testing at Jim Hall’s Rattlesnake Raceway facility in Midland, with Hall behind the wheel for most of its high-speed runs.  Hall was Amelia Island’s 2003 concours honoree.

The silver anniversary Amelia Island Concours will celebrate the mid-engine Corvettes along with its other diverse classes on March 8, 2020.

“The Mid-Engine Corvette Class is a dream class,” said Bill Warner, founder and xhairman of the Amelia Island Concours. “Having a historically significant car at The Amelia that’s never been seen in a concours before is a dream for us. Thanks to Chaparral and the Petroleum Museum that dream has come true.” 

For more information, visit the concours website.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

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