1958 Chevrolet Corvette Fancy Free: A unique model on display in Montreal

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) is set to have a special car exhibit on its premises starting February 18, 2023. This is a Chevrolet Corvette with a unique history, one of the defining pieces of the exhibition “Parall(elles): other”. design history”.

The latter pays tribute to the contributions of women to the history of design over the past 150 years, including in generally forgotten fields such as craftsmanship. Among the 250 submitted works is a 1958 Chevrolet Corvette convertible. This is a unique model, the last surviving car made by designer ladies (Designer ladies). This women’s division within General Motors was created by Harley Earl, head of design at the time.

By women for women

The latter found that surveys conducted by GM in the late 1950s showed that women influenced 70% of car purchases in the late 1950s, which directly affected the purchase of a second car. According to Erl, the best way to sell cars to women was to involve them in their production.

Photo: Julien Amado

It is for this reason that nine women are employed at General Motors. Three join subsidiaries like Frigidaire, but six join the automotive division. They produce unique cars that are presented at the Women’s Car Show (Spring Fashion Festival of Women’s Design Cars) in 1958. All the cars featured on the occasion have disappeared, except for the Corvette in front of you: a convertible, christened Fancy Free, and courtesy of Ruth Glennie.

The selected base Powerglide is a 1958 model with a 283 cubic inch V8 engine mated to a two-speed automatic transmission. The car also has several options taken from the catalog of the time, such as electric windows.

Photo: Julien Amado

However, what stands out most with this Corvette is its metallic olive green color that covers the entire body. This gives Fancy Free a more sober side. Indeed, the production model received a contrasting color on part of the doors and on the front wing. The most striking models of the era are obviously the red Corvettes with white accents.

On the Fancy Free model, the wheels retain their chrome look, but the center section gets the same color as the body. The color scheme is also noticeable with the white wall tires that blend with the soft top in the same color.

Photo: Julien Amado

Green outside, but also inside

Inside, there is a combination of white and green for the side of the seats and the inside of the doors. Some elements are removable so you can change them to your liking. Another notable feature is that the seat belts can be retracted and retracted into place when not in use. A convenience that seems commonplace today, but was not yet installed in a production Corvette.

after exposure Spring Fashion Festival of Women’s Design Cars In 1958, a GM employee bought the Fancy Free for his wife. The car was used normally and changed hands several times before being restored by a German collector in the 2000s.

Photo: Julien Amado

The odometer reads just over 61,000 miles or 98,000 kilometers. We couldn’t tell exactly what was done to the car, but the fresh paint and new brake hoses visible on the interior and wheel arches suggest that the Corvette Fancy Free benefited from a full restoration. It could be like in 1958.

If you want to admire this piece of history, know that the car will be on display at the 2023 MMFA from February 18 to May 28.

See also: Antoine Joubert unveils new Corvette E-ray

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