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Saturday, April 3, 2021

Meet the first Corvette retractable hardtop version

ONE-OFF The Corvette is one of the iconic American muscle cars have its own uniqueness so that it will never outdate when it's becomes a discussion subject. No exception to this muscle and beautiful Corvette of the 1958. Actually, those car mentioned above, later known as the Corvette 'Scotty' Retractable Hardtop is not a factory prototype issued by the Chevrolet, but is said to be the creation of an inside job as a private project. How could this be happened? Here's the story behind it;
1958 Corvette 'Scotty' has special feature with the hardtop able to retract into the trunk. (Picture from: Macsmotorcitygarage)
For years, there were the stories have circulated amongst the Corvette collectors of the existence of an unusual version of the Vette with retractable hardtop. One of theose stories mentioned that there was an unusual Chevy production on one of the Corvette models in the 1958, ie a special version featured with the hardtop able to retract into its trunk like the Ford Skyliner has.
1958 Corvette 'Scotty' Retractable Hardtop once painted in white before repainted in 1989 into its current black color. (Picture from: Corvetteactioncentre)
Many Vette enthutiasts even automotive experts mentioned ever have seen those eccentric shape. Some of them said that the unusual Vette was seen around Detroit, then Florida. Then said, its color is white. No, black. No, it was white with red coves. Some versions of the legend claimed there was not only one, but three Corvettes with retractable hardtop. Furthermore they construed that's a genuine factory product of a kind of the rare prototype that somehow managed to escape into the wild.

As it turns out, there really are such cars, and only one has ever been built. Though it wasn't a factory project, the unique Vette was made by Francis H. Scott, a General Motors stylist, uniquely that the entire work process was not done inside the GM's studio. Then where? He created and built the Vette with retractable hardtop in his living room. So that at this point, we can understand why there're many have been fooled before.
1958 Corvette 'Scotty' was not a GM's factory project, but rebuilt by Francis H. Scott, a General Motor stylist in his living room. (Picture from: Macsmotorcitygarage)
As quoted of Macsmotorcitygarage, that Francis H. Scott really wanted to have a Corvette. And of course, he would not be able to buy the dream car he wanted, if only relied on the salary obtained from GM (considering the Corvette base price at the time was around $3,600). However he has expertise in clay modeling and fiberglass lay-up where he was working as a sculptor in the GM Styling Section.

In short, in the late of 1958 he purchased a wrecked and and written-off 1958 Corvette from an insurance company for $ 900. The car is loaded into his living room through the front door by removing the windshield and shattered body shells fit sideways

Then he set to work rebuilding it, with the original plan just wanted to repair it. The idea for a retractable roof came spontaneous when he started working on it, pure serendipity, due to his cramped work area. Coincidentally, the entire rear of the car was opened for repair, then he found a way that the Corvette able to lift-off its hardtop and stowed neatly in the trunk.
The idea for a retractable roof came spontaneous when he started working on it, pure serendipity, due to his cramped work area. (Picture from: Macsmotorcitygarage)
For his retracting mechanism, Scoot borrowed from the Skyliner which is much more complicated, but was later made to be simpler by him. The entire fabrication work, including the rear window frames, is done from fiberglass, from clay patterns and molds. Then he filed a patent on the design of the hinged track mechanism in 1962 and was granted in 1965 by a patent No. 3,180,677. Those mechanism has ever been offered to the GM management, but unfortunately they expressed no interest in Scott’s concept whatsoever.
After completion, this car was used by Scoot as its daily vehicle for nearly 6 years, before being swapped for another Chevrolet. This car had disappeared at a momment and only appeared occasionally which then made the rumors mentioned above. The unique car nicknamed Scotty (in honor of its creator) was known to have been in Florida for some time, repainted at least once, from black to two-tone white-and-red, then disappeared until 1989. When Terry Michaelis bought it, kept it and then restored back in 1994.

In 2005, the Corvette retractable hardtop was auctioned off in Barrett-Jackson, where it was sold for $ 340,200. The car is currently in the collections of car mega-dealer, NASCAR team owner and collector Rick Hendrick. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | MACSMOTORCITYGARAGE | PROTEAMCORVETTE | BARRETT-JACKSON ]
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