The life of a pre-production or prototype car is, more often than not, unglamorous, undignified, and fleeting, at best. Typically, these hand-built cars are driven hard, put away wet, used and abused within an inch of their life, and then turned over to the scrapper's torch for disposal. Seldom are any spared from such an ending, and even fewer manage to find new owners outside of the OEM.
There are exceptions, however - and when it comes to Chevrolet Corvette prototypes, many of them have migrated into the hands of Mike Yager, founder and owner of Corvette accessory giant Mid-America Motorworks. In addition to owning the oddball 1960 CERV-1 research vehicle, the ungainly 1964 XP-819 mid-engine prototype, and the 1994 CERV-IV B mule, which packed a fifth-generation Corvette chassis beneath the skin of a C4.
Impressive, but Yager managed to bring home two additional pieces of pre-production Y-body history: an Alpha-Build and a Beta-build prototypes of the C5 Corvette, which ultimately debuted in 1997.
"Most pre-production vehicles are destroyed during testing, or soon after they are no longer needed," Yager said in a prepared statement. "There are no Alpha and Beta Corvettes in existence from any prior Corvette generation. We are thrilled to add these cars to our collection."
GM built only 14 Alpha cars - predictably, since it's the older of these two protoypes, it shows more wear and tear than the white Beta car. It does, however, continue to wear the full camouflage kits on both its nose and tail. The Beta car does without the nose disguise, but sports further refinements, as the cars were used to finalize development of both the C5's hydroformed frame rails and the Gen III small-block V-8.
Yager put both cars on display today at the Corvette Funfest in Effingham, Illinois - they'll be on display there through the weekend before joining the remainder of his collection near Mid America's corporate headquarters in Effingham. For more information on visiting the group of cars - including some rare one-offs and racing specials - visit www.mygaragemuseum.com. Source: Mid-America Motorworks