Update: This Corvette shouldn’t exist, but you can own it
The car sold for a high bid of $182,999, and is on its way to its new home — in Helsinki, Finland.
Late this summer, the big orange Reliable Carriers 18-wheeler rolled up to Randy Kent’s door in Sarasota, Florida, and a yellow 2021 Chevrolet Corvette rolled out. Kent, who describes himself as an “enthusiast,” has a small car collection and he was happy to add the C8 Corvette, which he wanted as a daily driver.
It seemed like a pretty good deal when he bid on the car at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Las Vegas in July. The car had just over 50 miles on the odometer, and it was part of the GM Heritage collection. When bidding topped $100,000, Kent hoped it wouldn’t go much higher. It didn’t. Kent bid $104,500, and the car was his.
One of the things that appealed to Kent about the car was that it appeared to be an IMSA GTLM Championship C8.R Edition, a $6595 package when sold. Admitting that he didn’t know that much about C8 Corvettes, he assumed that his car, which was sitting next to one such GTLM Championship Edition, was the same thing, just lacking the graphics. The VIN number ended in 000010, so Kent knew it was an early car.
The motorsports-inspired package was introduced at the IMSA race at Belle Isle, in Detroit, in June of 2021, honoring the 2020 season championship won by the C8.R race car. The package came with a high-wing spoiler in Carbon Flash, yellow brake calipers, black Trident design wheels with black lug nuts and the “Jake” logo on the center caps, exterior mirrors in Carbon Flash, plus black side rockers and splash guards. Inside, the Championship Edition features a Strike Yellow and Sky Cool Gray cabin that mimics the exterior yellow and gray racing theme, with standard GT2 seats, along with yellow seat belts and a C8.R Special Edition numbered plaque.
A plaque? Kent had missed that. Driving to lunch the next day, he glanced down, “and I did a doubletake.” The plaque was there, between the seats, and it read, “C8R Edition 01EX.“
EX, as in “experimental,” 01, as in the first, and maybe only experimental car. Hmm. When the car arrived, it was quite dusty, so Kent took his California Duster to it. In several places, the Duster found some adhesive from the original C8.R stickers, which had been stripped off.
But wait. Kent’s car is a 2021, though it was built in 2020. The C8.R Edition was for 2022, with Chevrolet building only a thousand. Kent had met a GM Design employee at Las Vegas, and they stayed in touch. Kent texted him a picture of the badge.
“Two seconds later,” the GM employee called Kent. His first two words: “Oh, shit!” Kent was told the car was supposed to be stripped or even destroyed, but it was hiding in the Media Building at GM when the other cars met their fate. It had been used as a display car at IMSA races, and apparently was a photo car for GM brochures. And then it was supposed to meet its fate. But this one got away.
Bottom line: There were only supposed to be 1000 of the IMSA GTLM Championship C8.R Edition cars. Now there were 1001, and one of them was a 2021 model, while the rest were 2022s. Kent had one of one.
He thought about keeping it, but with such low mileage—it still has under 100 miles on the odometer—and its rare status, “I figured this car deserved to be in a collection.” GM sent a tech down the next day to erase some proprietary software, such as a program that has the car speaking to GM in real time, “telling them how it’s cornering, the spring rates, that sort of thing,” and apply some warning stickers. The changes make it a street-legal and entirely insurable car, Kent says.
Now the car is on bringatrailer.com. Bidding is up to $89,200 at this writing, but with four days left on the auction, it’s likely to go much higher. How much higher? Kent, who owns a boat cover company, isn’t sure. After all, “it’s one of one. How do you put a value on that?” A set of C8.R graphics is included with the car, but it looks awfully clean without them.
Meanwhile, Kent bought a 2022 Corvette C8 to drive, with no backstory. And he’s hoping his C8.R-that-isn’t finds a good home.
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These cars come out now and then. Most are not marked well enough to know they are much different.
I have a friend from GM that a few years back bought a Corvette that was documented on the window sticker that it was a development car and not for sale. It had no options or price listed. It looked and drove line any other Corvette but it has tuning that was being done for the next years model and may have had some changes. The details are small but generally GM will not resell these as if the emissions may not be in spec.
He has moved away and still had the car but kept all the documentation to show it was a prototype development car. This may prove to be of interest to a collector in the future.
These cars are out there and they do pop up just most do not have the EX on a badge just a sticker on the window.
Time will tell, but rare does not mean valuable. In this case, the one-off year early status could mean that it was cobbled together without any real interest in longevity
No C8 should exist— not without a clutch pedal.
I’m really getting sick of this no third pedal makes it a lesser car noise. I can’t afford one and I am enough of an adult to admit it without making excuses like “it doesn’t have this thing that makes it a real car in my opinion” Time to grow up.
Nah…64 years old and still driving a stick challenger…bought it new. Two pedals are for bicycles and the snowflakes that don’t know how to drive a standard. I was going to say girls, but I know more young ladies that can drive a manual transmission than guys anymore.
My humble, but accurate opinion
I couldn’t agree more! Some cars should never have had an automatic. GTO’s, Vettes, Challengers, Cudas, Mustangs, the list goes on. I’m 65 years old & still driving a 78 Nova Custom & a 79 L82 Vette. I wouldn’t even consider owning them if they were an incomplete build. (Missing the 3rd pedal & stick)
Almost 80 and still shifting myself.
Drive a Porsche PDK. If you prefer a stick, fine. If you like automatic fine. Snowflake? Girl? Not me.
3 Porsches, 2 sticks one PDK. Love the sticks but the PDK is pretty great. It even learned after 1 week that I ALWAYS want to start in 1st gear. 1967 Mustang convertible 4 speed-owned 54 years-love it.
Well, I really responded to bbihed but this stupid new format has things all messed up.
I too liked to old format of seeing replies and getting e-mails that said folks liked our posts. Wonder what made them change?
Especially when the computer can shift far faster and cleaner than any human.
It’s a fun thing. More involvement makes a really fun drive.
If that is all you are looking for in a car go for it. Enthusiasts like to be in control of the car and interact with it as much as possible. If I wanted to be driven around I would hire a chauffeur or buy a Tesla.
Furthermore the collector market puts a premium on everything with a proper manual and the third pedal with some cars sometimes going for double of what the car with the wrong tranny goes for.
All this noise about clutch pedals? Some of the fastest cars in the world do not have a clutch pedal. Take a look at Formula 1. Simple paddle shifters with no manual clutch (semi auto clutch). Seven and eight forward gears and one reverse.
I guess those designers have it all backwards for speed and performance.
Jalopnik did more investigating on this car. It is unique, but it was never supposed to be crushed. It was supposed to have been taken back to 2021 spec and then sold by GM. That process did not happen as it usually does with these type of GM preproduction cars. It is basically a 2021 edition of a car was only sold for the 2022 model year. Cool story nonetheless.
Maybe the crusher will help the looks of that thing …
why bother commenting? Sometimes opinions are best kept to one’s self!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Interesting to see what it finally sells for on BAT. Its not up to $101 with 2 days left. Either this guy found a Monet’ at a garage sale or he will do a little better then what he bought it for, either way he is a winner.
Here’s my question…does it have any factory warranty for that kind of price???
I have been for a ride in this car went it was at the belle isle track. I don’t understand why he just don’t keep it and enjoy the car. It doesn’t deserve to be in a collection and just sit around being sad.
I got to agree with you Don, that amazing piece of History needs to be preserved shown and driven. Sometimes historical value trump’s monetary value.
I am definitely not a Chevrolet or Corvette person, but I certainly wouldn’t turn down a car like that if it was listed within my budget.
Again, my opinion.
This gives hope to folks still looking for 1953 Corvettes 001 and 002.
Yawn. Does it have any special ‘ex’ features, power or other racing goodies not available to the average schmuk plopping down $100k? And no standard transmission offering might be OK for Euro badged cars, but this is a Corvette.
It has a Standard Transmission, there is only one transmission offered on the C8 Corvette, that is the standard transmission. I know adulting is hard when things don’t go your way, isn’t it?
Standard boring transmission and not a proper manual like it should. You know you want it…
Most Corvettes built had Automatics by a Huge margin. Zora always wanted a Mid engine vette but the bean counters couldnt argue with the sales of the current c3’s . even in mailase era they were selling 40K +cars a year. I had a base C8. What a car for 59k. The dealer called me a 8 days later & made me an offer I could not refuse. BAT bidding is always in the last minutes , if its at 89k now its going to go well.
Who really cares? Now that Mary Barra has announced that all Corvettes going forward in a few years will be electric powered Singer Sewing machines. the almost 70 year mystique of the Corvette will come crashing down, pulling the value of almost all previous ‘Vettes down into the historical shyter for the marque. It’s almost over boys, get used to it…
I disagree. Mary Barra knows she has to sell electric Corvettes to a completely new audience. Current Corvette buyers are dinosaurs with much in common with other fossils. As a 70 year-old Corvette owner, I know we are not top of mind with Mary Barra and GM. I get it.
They should do both until gas unit sales can’t justify it. After all, it’s designed, tested and there, so how much would it cost? And it probably won’t burn up. I’m still waiting for hydrogen to come.
I dont care either way but it could be the opposite with the C6 and C7 corvettes appreciating rapidly specially the ones with the right transmission…
I experienced something similar with a 1952 Bentley that I bought off Craigslist. After I paid for it and it was on the trailer I mentioned it by chassis number to a friend. He called me back 10 minutes later and said “Do you know that car won it’s class in the 1953 Monte Carlo Rally?” Well, I didn’t but I did note that it ran faster than any other early Bentley R Type that I’d ever driven and later a little bit of research revealed that it was in fact “Bentley Boy” Mike Couper’s winning entry in the rally and the reason it was so fast? The Bentley factory at Crewe apparently did all sorts of internal modifications to the car (illegal per the Monte Carlo rule book at the time) but hey, this is motorsport after all! I was even able to make contact with Couper’s daughter who provided home movies of the car being prepared for the rally. The result was, I wanted a nice old Bentley to daily drive but this one was too valuable and wound up being sold for a world-record price for the model, it went to a collector in Monte Carlo.
I have a 2021 C8 w/ Z51. In the past, I always wanted (and had) a manual in a sports car. They were more fun and used to deliver more performance. Not the case in the newer generation sports cars. The newer performance trans. have 8-10 gears that shift faster than a human can even think. You can’t get a manual with that many gears and no one could shift it as fast anyway. The more numerous gears keep the engine at peak performance (in the power ban) better. Even the Mustang GT with 10 speed automatic is much quicker than one with a 5-6 speed manual.
This was a fun story about a rare car. There are times when I wish my car, a C2 was an automatic, like in stop and go traffic, or a parade. But as soon as it’s clear, it’s go go go time and I love the 4 seed manual, soon to be a 5 speed.