Chevrolet’s general manager Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen had some very cool perks. So did Mrs. Knudsen!
Yesterday we told you about Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen’s factory custom ‘64 Blue Fire Mist Corvette Coupe. Well, what a NICE husband Semon must have been! Here’s the ‘64 Corvette Bunkie got for his misses. (I know, what’a guy!) What’s not known is if Mrs. Knudsen said, “Semon, so where’s MY Corvette?” or if he just surprised her one day. I’ll vote that he surprised her one day.
This is another example of what the GM Design Center was capable of creating. In retrospect GM “could” have spun off a little boutique business offering customized luxury V.I.P. versions of their top cars, but that’s just a bench racing fantasy of mine. Florence Knudsen’s Corvette Sting Ray was just dripping with special features and some interesting preproduction features.
This car was once part of former Chevrolet dealer, Bob McDorman’s very large Corvette collection. In November 2010, 150 of McDorman’s collection of Corvettes were auctioned off by Mecum Auctions for a total of $4,599,000. Bunkie Knudsen’s Blue Fire Mist ‘64 Corvette Convertible went for $400,000 and Mrs. Knudsen’s ‘64 Corvette Coupe went for 280,000. A slide show of Jerry Heasley photos and a video are below. Here’s a list of the production options that were on the car, custom features, and hand-made fabricated parts.
Too often, cars such as this are bought and sold over and over to the point of becoming a derelict. This is what happened to the beautiful Bob Wingate FS&O 427 ‘67 Corvette. When the current owner bought the car, it was an abused hulk of what was once an awesome automobile. We’ll be covering the Wingate car tomorrow.
Here are the features of Florence Knudsen’s customized 1964 Corvette.
Factory Production Options:
* AM/FM radio with power antenna.
* Air conditioning.
* Telescope steering column and teak wood steering wheel.* Cast-aluminum knock-off wheels.
* Power windows.
* Power steering and power brakes.
* Tinted glass.
* A preproduction L36 396 big-block with hydraulic lifters and 390-HP.
* Preproduction front springs to compensate for the extra weight of the big-block engine.
* 1965 front fender vents and side rocker panels.
* Powerglide automatic transmission (possibly the first one ever bolted to the then-new big-block engine). This was not available until 1966.
* 1965/1966 style big-block hood.
* Preproduction 4-wheel disc brakes and dual master cylinder. This was not available until 1965.
* 5,500-RPM tachometer.
* “396 Turbo” front fender badges and air filter decal.
Customized and Fabricated Features:
* Pearl Pink exterior paint to match the door of the Kundsen’s Florida home.
* Six taillights.
* Pink & Cranberry colored leather interior and door panels.
* Pink dash instrument cluster plate and glove box door.
* Modified front crossmember for the big-block.
* Special fabricated radiator.
* Handmade fiberglass radiator shroud.
* Pink sidewall tires.
* Engraved “FMK” on the seat belt buckles to replace the Chevy Bow Tie.
* Modified right inner front fender.
PS – Bob McDorman Chevrolet was purchased by Jeff Wyler Chevrolet in September 2011.
And on November 13, 2010 Mecum Auction auctioned off 150 Corvettes from the McDorman’s collection. You can check out the full auction results HERE. Interesting note on the auction. Many of the cars were owned by famous people, including: Zora Arkus-Duntov, Burt Reynolds, Johnny Carson, Alan Jackson, Dinah Shore, George Straight, John Mellencamp, Semon and Florence Knudsen, Ricky Van Shelton, Rosemary Clooney, Mario Andretti, and a former Miss America.
Also, special thanks to Jerry Heasley for the stunning photos, as featured in the February 2009 issue of Corvette Fever Magazine.
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