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Tuesday, September 13, 2022

There's only 3 units of the special Corvettes ever bodied by Italian coachbuilder

~Unique ONES~ It should be acknowledged that thanks to abundant experiences from a number Italian manufacturers whose had been tested in producing exotic, fast cars since the early development of the world's automotive, it is not surprising then a number of Italian manufacturers such as Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Ferrari were succeeded in establishing themselves as a kind of ruler in world of racing for years.
1959 Scaglietti Corvette (in pictured is the car no. 1) is built by Scaglietti in a such way to combine a beautiful Italian design with a monstrous burst of American-made engine power. (Picture from: CorvetteBlogger)
This has also led to a fierce rivalry situation with other manufacturers espescially the American auto companies whose also have ability to produce similar great cars. Despite of the such fierce competition atmosphere, turn out many also dreaming even speculating about a car is built in a such way to combine a beautiful Italian design with a monstrous burst of American-made engine power.
1959 Scaglietti Corvette (in pictured is the car no. 1) retained its Corvette grille, while inside the interior had Stewart Warner gauges and Corvette knobs. (Picture from: CollierAutomedia)
Well this time we would like to discuss one example of such car made by an Italian coachbuilt company was based on the American muscle car, and dubbed as the Corvette Italia. So it could be said that the vehicle that is the result of a harmonious blend of the two poles of the automotive world always able to present an extraordinary sensation that is able to bring its own excitement among automotive lovers.
1959 Scaglietti Corvette (in pictured is the car no. 1) along with its 2 other siblings have resemblance shapes as the Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France. (Picture from: CollierAutomedia)
As quoted of Collier Automedia, the story begins with Gary Laughlin of Fort Worth, Texas, an oil well drilling contractor and Chevy dealership owner, always raced behind the wheel of Ferraris. Once upon a time, one of his Ferrari Monzas suffered a crankshaft failure that led to not only a useless engine, should a long and ever-pricier wait for its replacement.
This immediately sparked Laughlin's curiosity to know what it would became if an Italian bodywork built based on a Corvette chassis. When all this occurred, back in 1959, the Chevrolet Corvette's developing progress (one of the American muscle cars) under the direction of Zora Arkus-Duntov was in a positive trend that continued to increase from year to year, especially the engine. 
1959 Scaglietti Corvette (in pictured is the car no. 2) has a European visage. (Picture from: CollierAutomedia)
Then, he started looking for information about the possibility to fulfil his curiosities, shortly after that he had the opportunity to talk about it with two of his Texan friends, Jim Hall and Carroll Shelby, who also have the same interest in the automotive world. It seem Laughlin’s bottomless pockets combined with Hall and Shelby’s engineering expertise were enough to make it happen. Eventually the three of them agreed to set each-one get his own Corvette Italia and then devised a plan to make it happen.
1959 Scaglietti Corvette (in pictured is the car no. 2) has reliable Chevy V-8 power under its sleek Italian skin. (Picture from: CollierAutomedia)
Firstly they contacted Chevrolet General Manager then, Ed Cole, in order to be able to take three Corvette chassis off the production line and sell them bodyless, that's not for long then they managed to get those three Vette' rolling chassis. Soon Carrol Shelby contacted his fellow American in Italy named Pete Coltrin (Road & Track's correspondent) to find a coachbuilder company willing to build a such car for him, and later arranged the delivery of all of those chassis to the country.
Perhaps the most impressive angle of 1959 Scaglietti Corvette (in pictured is the car no. 2). (Picture from: CollierAutomedia)
As quoted of Autoevolution, the Italian coachbuilder that is willing to carry out the car development project is Carrozzeria Scaglietti located across the road from the Ferrari's headquarters, and known also as the place where the iconic sportscar such the Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa gets its lightweight and elegantly stylized bodies.

After the three rolling chassis arrived in Italy, Sergio Scaglietti immediately worked on it and had promised to finish it in a few months. At that time Scaglietti was working on the Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France's body, then Laughlin made a deal with Scaglietti to build a such kind coupe on those three Corvette chassis.
1959 Scaglietti Corvette (in pictured is the car no. 3) is featured with custom grilles as well as reshaped rear ends. (Picture from: Autoevolution)
Besides that, Scaglietti also accommodated a number of requests from each of the prospective car owners such as: Laughlin requested the car retain its Corvette grille, while inside the interior had Stewart Warner gauges and Corvette knobs. Meanwhile the other two came with custom grilles as well as reshaped rear ends. 
1959 Scaglietti Corvette (in pictured is the car no. 3) is currently part of the Petersen Automotive Museum collection. (Picture from: Autoevolution)
Not only limited to the shape, to the powertrain which is installed under the hood as well, for example, the Shelby’s car was powered by a 315-hp Ramjet fuel-injected version of the 283-ci (4.3-liter) small-block mated to a Borg-Warner T-10 four-speed manual, whereas the other two were initially fitted with four-barrel-carb variants linked to Powerglide automatics.
Meanwhile, to support the legs, all three bespoke rides dubbed Corvette Italia are equipped with drum brakes behind all four wheels, independent suspensions in the front, and a solid axle supported by leaf springs in the rear. 
The Simplicity reigns on the dash of 1959 Scaglietti Corvette (in pictured is the car no. 3). (Picture from: Autoevolution)
Although initially it was promised by Scaglietti that the work on all these cars would be done within a few months, but in fact it took almost two years until they were shipped back to the US. This is understandable because from the start the car project was done secretly away from publicity, besides that Scaglietti should be kept the project away from the prying eyes of Enzo Ferrari as well.
1959 Scaglietti Corvette (in pictured is the car no. 3) is powered by a 315-hp Ramjet fuel-injected version of the 283-ci (4.3-liter) small-block mated to a Borg-Warner T-10 four-speed manual. (Picture from: Autoevolution)
Despite Shelby and Hall’s efforts, the cars never lived up to the expectations of outperforming the era’s Ferraris. Even if they were around 400 pounds (181 kg) lighter than any production C1, the chassis setup made them feel heavy and imprecise.
Unfortunately 1959 Scaglietti Corvette (in pictured is the car no. 3) never lived up to the expectations of outperforming the era’s Ferraris. (Picture from: Autoevolution)
As quoted of Autoevolution, to make matters worse, the Texans were pressured by GM to cease any further development of the clandestine exotics, while across the Atlantic, an infuriated Enzo Ferrari threatened to end the partnership with Sergio Scaglietti if he continued to work with the Americans. In the years that followed, the two carbureted small-block cars were upgraded with the same powertrain setups as Shelby’s variant, as well as a series of scoops.
All of them have survived after exchanging owners multiple times.The one built for the Le Mans-winning driver and engineer has become the most coveted, even though he never actually owned it. Shortly after it was shipped back from Italy, Shelby claimed it was too expensive for what it could do and ended up pulling out of the deal. And now, the car no.3 is currently part of the Petersen Automotive Museum collection. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | AUTOEVOLUTION | COLLIERAUTOMEDIA | SUPERCARS.NET | CORVETTEBLOGGER ]
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