A 1964 Corvette made famous by its appearance in the Elvis Presley movie Viva Las Vegas is set to go under the hammer at Mecum Auctions' Houston sale on 10-12 April. It is estimated at $400,000.
The car was originally owned by Harry Mann, a Corvette dealer from Los Angeles, and raced by his driver, Gary Pickens. In July 1963 filming began on Viva Las Vegas, which required genuine race cars for the final scenes. The dice-liveried Corvette was perfect for the role, starring alongside Elvis.
But the car that graced the silver screen had a complicated start in life. Mann was desperate to race the new 1963 Corvette Z06 in the 1962 Times Grand Prix, but only four cars were delivered – none to him. Undeterred, he set about building his own. After ordering a brand new 1963 Corvette split-window coupe complete with the L84 fuel-injected 360bhp engine from the Z06, Mann fitted a rollcage, competition brakes and lightened the car considerably.
Following filming the Corvette returned to the track, being fitted with a 375bhp 327cu in engine in 1964, before being sold to racing driver Ron Herrera. It would pass into private ownership in 1972, later eventually disappearing altogether.
The car finally surfaced three years ago and became the subject of a no-expense-spared restoration by Corvette specialist Mike Scott.
The Corvette represents a rare opportunity to own both a film star and a fully fledged racing car and should do well.
Photos by David Newhardt courtesy of Mecum Auctions