Bloomington Gold Great Hall Inducts CERV-I This Weekend

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Published on June 19 2012 5:33 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Later this week, CERV-I, the first of a series of Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicles, will be inducted into the Bloomington Gold Great Hall, the most prestigious Corvette event in our history. Mike Yager, co-founder and chief cheerleader of Mid America Motorworks, will accept the high honor during the June 22 ceremony at the longest running national Corvette show.

The Bloomington Gold Great Hall was established in 2010 to honor 10 of the most influential people and Corvettes over a five year period as selected by the Great Hall Selection Panel. At the conclusion of 2014, the exclusive list of 50 Pioneers and 50 of the world's Premier Corvettes will be complete. Yager's CERV-I is considered one of the most notable vehicles ever developed by legendary Corvette Chief Engineer, Zora Arkus-Duntov.

Duntov, the Father of the Corvette, started development on CERV-I in 1959. The mid-engine prototype racing car's primary function was to provide engineers with a test platform to develop and refine the Chevrolet body, chassis and suspension systems. The "state-of-the-art" 50's racer was unveiled to the public at the 1960 Riverside, CA Grand Prix where it was test driven by racing greats, Stirling Moss and Dan Gurney. Near the end of the car's test life at Chevrolet, CERV-I rounded the test track at Milford Proving Grounds, Michigan at over 204 MPH -10 years prior to anything achieving that speed at Indianapolis.

After a successful career as a test bed for Corvette suspension, CERV-I was ordered to be destroyed by GM. Duntov hid the car until he could convince GM management to restore it. In 1972 the car was donated to the Briggs Cunningham Museum in Costa Mesa, CA. From there, CERV-I moved to the Miles Collier Museum in Naples, FL. and later to Pro Team Corvette where Yager found it for sale in 1997. Shortly after, CERV-I joined Yager's collection of rare automotive collectibles and memorabilia in the MY Garage Museum. MY Garage Museum is located on Mid America Motorworks' corporate campus in Effingham, IL, where visitors can view CERV-I, complete with 1 of 6 existing Grand Sport engines, 7 days a week.

"At a time when GM put a ban on racing, Zora found a way to not only create a Corvette race car, but also create a new level of performance and engineering that would carry over into the hobby for years to come. It is truly an honor to have CERV-I recognized at the Great Hall," Yager said.

Other 2012 Great Hall inductees include the 1953 Corvette s/n 003, 1961 Mako Shark, 1967 Corvette Coupe Le Mans L88 and 1990 ZR1. The Great Hall induction ceremony and medal presentation will take place on June 22 at 4 PM in the St. Charles Ballroom at the Pheasant Run Resort. The display will be open to the public June 22 and 23 from 7 AM to 5 PM.