1/24 Danbury Mint GM Design EX122 Corvette Concept











Photographed 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 another hit!