This “Fast Five” ’63 Vette bridges old-school cool and 2000s action
If you at all recognize this bullet-nosed, shark-like Corvette, it’s either as the product of a short-lived customer racing program begun by Zora Arkus-Duntov in the ’60s and axed by GM, or a movie car from a 2011 action flick wherein this Corvette did things few Corvettes are designed—or required—to do: keep pace on desert terrain next to a racing cargo train and dive off a cliff into a river.
This 1963 Corvette is a GM-licensed replica of the original race cars (known as Grand Sports) built by Mongoose Motorsports for Fast Five (2011). The producers of Fast Five commissioned a total of 12 Mongoose-built Grand Sport replicas and, as usual, the attrition rate was high; only three survived. This particular example—which will be auctioned online by Volo Auto Sales, of Indiana, from April 14–21, 2021—was a green-screen car and, as such, did no stunt work. Not only did the movie vehicle spend the most time of any Mongoose Grand Sport with Vin Diesel and Paul Walker during filming of the train scene—its only appearance in the movie—Volo Auto Sales reports that the Vette remains “as pristine as the day it was built.”
This auction appears to be the first time this Vette has ever come up for public sale: Fast Five’s transportation coordinator bought it for his own personal collection, before selling it to Volo Auto Sales.
This Grand Sport replica melds modern-day tech with old-school lines. Mongoose Motorsports builds a custom tubular chassis for its Grand Sport cars, fitting it with C4 double-wishbone suspension paired with Bilstein custom coilovers. A 380-hp, 5.7-liter GM Performance crate motor sits under the hood and spins the rear wheels through a Dana 36 (or 44, depending on customer preferences) axle. The whole fiberglass-bodied package tips the scales well below 3000 pounds.
The original Grand Sports, of course, were a bit more exotic. Arkus-Duntov wanted a Corvette “Cobra Killer” to compete at the 1963 24 Hours of Le Mans, and drew up specifications for a lightweight ’63 with an aluminum-block 377-cu-in V-8 making 550 hp. When GM management got wind of his plans, however, assembly lines ground to a halt; GM was then under an AMA racing ban. Only five cars out of the 125 required for GT-class homologation were built.
Mongoose has built Grand Sport replicas since 2000s, so it was well up to the task of a run of 12 for Fast Five. In 2010, however, GM realized (rather belatedly) that Mongoose Motorsports was replicating a cherished piece of its heritage without a license and filed suit. (Since then, Mongoose has obtained a license from the General.) Despite the prior drama, GM probably owes Mongoose a small measure of gratitude; thanks to this Grand Sport’s appearance in Fast Five, the wildly louvered and vented Corvette got millions of eyeballs on an international stage.
Whoever takes home this silver C2 brings home a piece of Fast and Furious lore. Still, it’s best to resist any temptation to compare the sale of this Vette to, say, the ’93 Supra stunt car from the 2001 Fast film auctioned at Mecum’s Indy 2015 sale. With a final sale price of $199,800 (including fees), that Supra sold for 6.22 times its #1 (Concours) condition value at the time. This Grand Sport, while undeniably cool, enjoyed only a brief appearance in one of the less-beloved movies. Regular Mongoose-built Grand Sports typically cost around $100K; while this Grand Sport replica will definitely garner some attention, it’s a minor star in the Fast and Furious constellation and it will likely sell for about what it cost new.