1959 283/290 FI Race Car

Corvettes dominated SCCA racing in 1959, and Jim Jeffords took the SCCA B Production points championship with his 1959 Corvette, dubbed the Purple People Eater Mk III. Plans were laid to contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA championship the following year.

Against this frenetic backdrop, the 1959 Corvette offered here was built. The powerplant is the 290-hp, fuel-injected 283 V8. A 4-speed manual transmission, Positraction rear axle, as well as heavy-duty brakes and an upgraded suspension kept the Corvette in line. For a grand total of $5,227.65, including freight, anyone could purchase an excellent sports car, make a few modifications, race, and win.

The original owner of this car was Gene Cormany, an enthusiastic sports car racer and VP of Engineering for Zollner Corporation, a major supplier of automotive pistons. Cormany made a practice of buying a new Corvette every year or two, and his industry connections enhanced his chances of getting exactly what he wanted. Cormany raced this Corvette throughout the Midwest in 1959 and 1960, winning four of 22 events and scoring twelve top-three finishes.

Cormany eventually sold the victorious Corvette to Roland Gorman. Dale Pearman then acquired it in the 1980s and began a restoration. In the process, he met Mike Ernst, an early NCRS member and Corvette expert, who in 1988 had purchased the original engine and fuel injection unit from the first Scaglietti-bodied Corvette. In January 1989, Pearman acquired this engine and fuel injection unit to use during the restoration.

The current owner of the Corvette acquired it from Pearman in 2004 with its restoration still in progress and sent it to Ron’s Auto Restoration in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, a shop recognized for its expertise with Corvette restorations and particularly the early straight-axle cars. There the restoration was carried out over a three-year period, with the outstanding results seen here.

In keeping with its winning ways, this Corvette has won “Best Sports Car” at the 2007 Newport (Rhode Island) Concours d’Elegance, and it earned the coveted NCRS Heritage Award shortly thereafter. NCRS Performance Verification has also been achieved, with confirmed speeds in excess of 100 mph.

With only four owners from new, this 1959 Corvette comes with comprehensive original paperwork, including window sticker, owner’s manual, Owner’s Protection Plan folder, battery, clock tags, and original key. The prior owners have executed mileage statements supporting the 90,366 miles currently showing on its odometer as the actual mileage from new.