and Reviewed by Peter Brown
The recipe: Take a five star model's tooling, age it for several
years (away from sunlight in a dust-free, smoke-free environment),
make several small but significant modifications, and what do
you get? Well, in this case, you get a faithful reproduction of
the concept car which immediately preceded the very first production Corvette.
Making it's debut in the GM Motorama exhibit of the New York
Auto Show, held at the Waldorf Astoria in June of 1953, the show
car was a smash hit. Soon thereafter the first '53 Vette rolled
off the line to rave reviews. There are many subtle differences
between this concept car and the 1953 Corvette. Can
you spot them all?
Up front, you'll notice a few subtle changes, starting with the
little hinges above the headlight stoneguard screens. There are
also screw-on bumper bullets and a "Corvette" script
below the crossed flags emblem. The show car also has an air scoop
atop the trailing edge of each front fender, and the driver's
sideview mirror has been omitted for a more streamlined appearance.
The story is similar at the back end, with screw-on bumper bullets,
a gold "Corvette" script, and the exhaust pipes appear
to be ever so slightly shorter than on the production version.
In this view of the dashboard we can see several minor differences.
Those little nubs at the top of each interior door panel (I think
they latch the side windows into place), are white on the Corvette,
but on the EX 122 the forward one is chrome and the rearward one
is red. The upholstered
armrest covers on the EX 122 continue to wrap down around the
armrest to form what look like small map pockets, owing to the
small button (or catch, or snap) in the lower center of each cover. On the dashboard, there are three extra control knobs—one
on each end to open and close the air ducts leading from the front
fenders to the interior footwells, and another to the right of
the radio knobs. Each end of the dash where it wraps around
to meet the door panels is red on top and white on the bottom,
as compared to all white. On the driver's side there is a small
plaque denoting the EX 122 name, hidden by the door when closed.
This side view reveals differences in the body side moulding,
specifically, that the "sail" slants backward on the
underside of the trim, and the trim stops short of the front door.
On the production model, the trim extends all the way back to
the rear wheel opening, and the sail slants forward from the topside
of the trim. Lastly, the "Chevrolet" script is below
the trim on the EX 122 instead of above it.
On the underside there are no discernable differences, but it
is worth showing the exquisite details like the cable and return
spring for the handbrake, and the leather "booties"
on the rear axle ends.
Under the hood you'll find the same famous blue flame engine,
but that little black hood spring at the right front corner of
the compartment is replaced with two chromed copies, left and
right, on the production car. Also, the reservoir for the windshield
squirters is noticeably absent on the EX 122, as are the nozzles
at either end of the cowl vent. The top of the dashboard is all
one piece on this show car, whereas on the production model the trailing
edge (facing the occupants) is a separate piece, or appears
to be due to a "seam" separating it from the main portion
of the dash top. This may have been a safety feature, utilizing
softer materials facing the occupants in the event of a collision,
but this is pure speculation.
Here's another view of DM's spectacular reproduction of the blue
flame six. You can also see the sectioned transmission tunnel,
which is one piece on the Corvette. Another difference is the
seats. While they may look the same at first glance, the EX 122
has larger inset panels, and consequently smaller side bolsters.
No changes under the boot, except for the omission of a rubberized
floor mat, but what nice details there are—the woodgrain
spare tire cover with metal locking pin, the vinyl bag to hold
the side curtain windows, the torsion spring for the trunk lid,
the jack tucked under the right fender, it's all there!
The door edges, visible above, are painted red on the EX 122
as opposed to being body color on the Vette.
Here you can just about make out the red shift knob and choke (?)
control (bottom of dash just left of center), both of which were
white on the production version. The shifter's position
and shape are slightly modified as well, and there is also a small
red knob to the left of the steering column whose purpose I am
not sure of, but which is not on the '53 Corvette. DM
attended to the minutest of details, even going so far as to rotate
the emblems in the center of the fake knock-off wheel covers ninety
degrees relative to the spinners. That, my friends, is what precision
models are all about.
The pictures below reveal nothing we haven't already mentioned
above, but they do show some additional views of this lovely model.
Surely this is a must-have for the Corvette collectors among us. It
is available directly from the Danbury Mint for $149, and with
production limited to 5,000 pieces, you may want to reserve yours before they
disappear. Congratulations to Moe and the whole gang at DM on