In 1958, Chuck Jordan, General Motors’ new Vice President of Design, wished to make a positive statement in his area of expertise.  He did when the Chevrolet division surprised the world with an Ilmor Chevrolet Indy Car engine scale model in a vision of a mid-engine Corvette.

In 1980, a young Tom Peters began working in the Advance Design Studio.  Knowing Tom’s talent, Jordan sent him along with Jerry Palmer to England to oversee the creation of the Corvette Indy show car. The two men, now both members of the Corvette Hall of Fame (Palmer was inducted in 2000 and Peters in 2019), went on to create a visionary mid-engine Corvette show car.

Following the car’s debut, Jordan requested a scale model be created as a celebration of their accomplishment. The sculpture studio at General Motors is a special place where highly skilled artisans craft detailed badges and special requests. Mike Costello crafted this scale model. The 18 x 7 x3 inch clay model of the car began with a preliminary surface from the show car. Next, a mold was made from the clay model using the same process for full-size fiberglass cars.

The completed fiberglass models were given to Chuck Jordan, Jerry Palmer, and other executives within the company.  Tom Peters was allowed to keep the elements and create his fiberglass model. The exact number of fiberglass kits made from the mold is unknown.

The fiberglass and resin proof mold was recently donated to the National Corvette Museum by Peters.  The mold will take its place in the collection alongside the 1959 XP-87 Stingray Racer. The surviving artifact represents similar internal design efforts a quarter-century apart that preserved the vision for future Corvettes.

Author: Brian Baker, Director of Collections and Education