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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Coming to Rick Cole Auctions at Monterey - 1965 Fiberfab Centurion

1965 Fiberfab Centurion Roadster

An extremely rare Fiberfab Centurion based on a '58 Corvette chassis with power delivered by a Rochester fuel-injected engine with '62 Corvette 4-speed and 4.11:1 rear end. Finished in striking Inca Silver in keeping with Bill Mitchell's original XP-87 Sting Ray that inspired it, this Centurion is the only known example with FI power, twin headrest fairings, a trunk, and spare-tire compartment.

This very cool Corvette-based 1965 Fiberfab Centurion Roadster is to be offered at the upcoming Rick Cole Monterey auction starting on Friday 19 August. Carrying interesting car-specific and development history, it will make any awesome street machine and a great potential vintage-racing entry.. Be sure to contact and bid on it!

Specifications: RPO 579D 283 cu. in. V-8 engine, Rochester mechanical fuel injection, 290 horsepower (factory rating), four-speed manual transmission, 1958 Chevrolet Corvette chassis with independent front suspension, A-arms, and coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 102"

Launched for model year 1963, the new Corvette Sting Ray continues to stand as a massive landmark in the Corvette's rapid development into a true world-beating sports car. Design work dates back to 1957 with the XP-84 Q-Corvette concept. While General Motors may have joined the self-enforced AMA racing ban in 1957, which drove Chevrolet's factory racing program underground, GM design chief Bill Mitchell's belief in the value of racing was unchallenged. So much so, that Mitchell obtained approval to design and build a new racing car on his own time and money based on an exotic Corvette SS frame.

Collaborating with GM stylist Larry Shinoda, Mitchell created the Sting Ray competition roadster, featuring radical bodywork designed to mimic the profile of an upside-down airplane wing for greater downforce at speed. Raced by famed Corvette driver Dick "The Flying Dentist" Thompson during 1959 and 1960, Mitchell's Sting Ray was very successful on the track, scoring the SCCA C-Modified championship title in 1960. Having proven his point, Mitchell retired the Sting Ray from track duty and it went on to become a familiar sight on Detroit-area streets as Mitchell's daily driver with a Grand Sport 377 cubic-inch small-block and later a Mark IV 427 powering it.
While not an "official" GM project, Mitchell and Shinoda's Sting Ray clearly foreshadowed many of the key design elements applied to the second-generation Corvette, which carried on the "Sting Ray" name. Sleek, aggressive, and almost otherworldly in appearance, the production Sting Ray was an instant classic from launch and benefited from the race-bred prowess of Zora Arkus-Duntov and his Corvette engineering team. While the new Corvette production car was indeed futuristic, some enthusiasts felt it was a little too tame for their liking and preferred Mitchell's racer. Others needed a lighter racing body or a replacement for that of the Corvettes they already owned. Sensing demand, Warren "Bud" Goodwin's Fiberfab company developed and released the Centurion, a close rendition of Mitchell's groundbreaking race and show car. 

1965 Fiberfab Centurion Roadster

Established by Goodwin in Santa Clara California during 1964, Fiberfab immediately enjoyed a strong reputation for quality engineering and advanced production techniques. In addition to providing street rod parts, Mustang replacement body panels, and kit car designs named Aztec, Banshee, and Jamaican, Fiberfab's signature product remains the Centurion. The Centurion was produced in 1965 and 1966 and according to enthusiasts, between 8 and 12 Centurion bodies were produced in all before Fiberfab production suddenly ended due to a combination of legal resistance from GM and Goodwin's own unfortunate personal issues. As few as 7 to 8 Centurions remain today and only a couple are driven.

1965 Fiberfab Centurion Roadster

1965 Fiberfab Centurion Roadster

Based on a 1958 Corvette chassis, this Centurion is one of those few survivors. It was acquired with a 1958 Corvette donor chassis but without an engine and transmission in 2012 by the current and fifth owner, who had first seen the car 20 years earlier in a Sun Valley, California garage with the fourth owner. Following purchase, the current owner researched the car's history in depth, including a phone call conducted with the first owner, who stated that they did not begin assembly, choosing instead to sell it on to another owner. A three-year restoration was just recently completed, beginning with the 1958 Corvette chassis and underpinnings beneath it, which were completely refinished, rebuilt, and fitted with an original 290-horsepower, fuel-injected 283 V-8 engine and Rochester FI system, 1962 Corvette 4-speed manual transmission, and 4.11:1 Positraction rear end.

1965 Fiberfab Centurion Roadster

Retaining the factory-original chassis tag, Fiberfab body tag (numbered 12616), and original license plate, this 1965 Centurion roadster is also the sole known example of these striking cars ever to be equipped with racy dual head-rest fairings on the rear deck plus a trunk and spare-tire compartment. It is also the only known example with a fuel-injected donor chassis and FI engine. This fabulous Centurion is also listed on the C1 Corvette Registry. The gauges, black dash treatment, steering wheel, and American Racing wheels are in keeping with the cars built in period, and competition-type seat belts provide safety. Handsomely finished in Inca Silver paint, this outstanding vehicle beautifully recalls Bill Mitchell's original XP-87 Sting Ray that inspired the Fiberfab Centurion back in the 1960s. It should also be noted that the other running Centurion will be running at this year's edition of the Monterey Historic Races and when similarly race-prepared, this great example will provide an outstanding entry in today's most desirable vintage events, shows, and long-distance classic tours and rallies.

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