Monterey

16 - 17 August 2013

Lot 118

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray Split-Window Race Car "7 11"

To be auctioned on Friday, August 16, 2013

High Bid of $325,000

  • Chassis no. 30837S102899
History is important to us, and all lots offered are fully researched. All corresponding information and accessories, from certificates to tool kits, stays with the lots we sell. All of this is held at our library on site, under the Access the Knowledge banner, so please visit us there or contact us before the auction if you require further information.


375 bhp, 327 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine with Rochester Ram-Jet mechanical fuel injection, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with wishbones, coil springs, and anti-roll bar, independent rear suspension with lower wishbones, control arms, radius arms, and transverse leaf spring, and four-wheel competition hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 98 in.

  • Used on screen in Viva Las Vegas
  • Extensive Southern California race history
  • Z06 competition components installed in period
  • NCRS American Heritage Award certified


As well as being a racer, Gary Pickens was a gambling man. He liked rolling the dice, but he kept his cars shiny side up, and he had sponsorship from his employers at Harry Mann Chevrolet on Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles.

Harry Mann was the self-professed “number one” dealer of Corvettes in America, so you can believe that’s what they had Gary Pickens racing. And you can believe that when Pickens saw the Corvette Z06s debut in a fight for their life against the Cobras in their own debut at Riverside on October 13, 1962, he wasn’t pulling for Carroll Shelby’s team.

But Gary Pickens wasn’t Dave MacDonald, Bob Bondurant, Paul Reinhart, or Doug
Hooper, the first four drivers to get the still-experimental Z06 Corvettes. And as the car package wasn’t made available over the counter until December 14, 1962, Harry Mann Chevrolet couldn’t help Gary get the car he wanted. As the sales manager, however, he could order his own, new, 1963 split-window, fuel-injected coupe.

This was to be Gary’s personal race car, and if he couldn’t yet have a Z06, then he was going to use his connections to make his own. The car probably came off the truck and went straight into the shop, where his modifications included a roll cage, a comprehensive weight-reduction program, and competition brakes.

Through 1963, Gary Pickens campaigned this Corvette all over California, including races at Dodger Stadium, Riverside, Laguna Seca, Santa Barbara, Pomona, and Del Mar. Sometime later in the year, he damaged the factory engine, and again, he used his dealership connections to source a new 1964 competition block.

During that same year, between July 15 and September 15 of 1963, the racing-themed Elvis Presley and Ann-Margaret movie Viva Las Vegas was filming in Nevada, and the producers went looking for real race cars. The cast of cars included Ol’ Yaller Mk II and III, several important Ferraris, a Maserati Tipo 63, and more. So, if there was going to be a Corvette, and a racing movie in the early sixties had to have a Corvette, it had to stand out. Gary Pickens, with his “7 11” dice livery as the competition number, had just the car.

According to Pickens’ friend, Peter Luongo, Gary received the largest payday of his career from MGM, which not only rented the car for the duration, but also reportedly had Gary drive it, paying him a $500 bonus for the famous spinout scene. That scene may explain the only damage the car suffered in its career, because, aside from the rear clip, neither the fiberglass nor frame was ever damaged.

In October of 1963, Pickens advertised his coupe in Motor Racing, as a “1963 lightweight competition Sting Ray Coupe with Z06 factory options.” It appears that it was months before he made a sale, because, in April 1964, famed photographer Dave Friedman photographed him at Del Mar, just one of a number of fantastic period photos of Pickens and “7 11.”

When he did sell it, it passed into the hands of racer Ron Herrara, and then, in 1972, it moved into civilian ownership, and as just another old race car, it was street-driven in Los Angeles, roll cage and all, before being garaged. Because of its use during the crucial period of Z06 development and its immortal role in Viva Las Vegas, the “7 11” Corvette was a target for many collectors, including Z06 expert Franz Estereicher, but the owners never even told anyone they owned it, let alone where it was.

In fact, it wasn’t heard about again until 2011, when Corvette specialist Mike Scott was manning his booth at the Long Beach swap meet. He didn’t have the exhaust hangar a customer wanted, but he did have it back at the shop, and they struck up a friendship. A year later, he had learned this was the owner of “7 11,” and they had become close enough that Mike went to Torrance, California, and saw the car in pieces. Mike Scott, the consignor, and restorer Gary Nabers quickly established its bona fides and purchased the car. Nabers Brothers, of Houston, Texas, completed the exacting, highly correct, no-expense-spared restoration in March 2013, with the car prepared to “as raced” standards in order to qualify for the National Corvette Restorers Society American Heritage Award.

While the restoration is to concours quality, most of the original interior was preserved. Amazingly, not only does it have the 1964 competition engine that Pickens installed, it also has the factory matching-numbers T-10 transmission. Rare period Z06 parts were sourced, as needed, to ensure that the car is in every respect identical to how it was raced at Riverside in 1963. Additionally, “7 11” has been accepted into the Registry of Corvette Race Cars, making it easily eligible for any appropriate vintage event. A new owner will wish to obtain additional details of the car’s many unique, original features from the consignor.

Since restoration, the car has been completely mechanically sorted. This Sting Ray Coupe runs smooth and hard, tracking straight and stopping with authority. It would happily devour the curves of a mountain tour as easily as it would take to the corkscrew at Laguna Seca once again.

The Gary Pickens “7 11” Sting Ray Coupe is an indelible part of the golden era of Corvette racing history, one that was lost for almost 40 years. Few cars have the history, appeal, and provenance that it possesses as a race car, and “7 11” is an iconic movie car on top of that. If there’s a real deal, this is it.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

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United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

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California, USA

Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

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Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

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Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, USA

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

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New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

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United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

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United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

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Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, USA

Shelby Myers literally grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to w... read more

Vinnie Mandzak

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California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more