Chevrolet used a Promotional Junior car in 1963 to promote the Chevy Corvette Sting Ray and just like many Juniors before it they were used to get people in the showroom by using pressure applied by the customers children. As the kids lined up to take a test drive in the little Stingray the salesman was trying to sell mom and dad a new 63 Nova or corvair or even a Corvette if he could get them to buy one. They were even promoted by the Dinah Shore program (she was a Chevrolet spokesperson). The production numbers for the Mini Vette was pegged at 1,200 and all done in red Gelcoat. Unlike the Powercar products the Vette was a single seater and had steering very similar to the vintage Go Karts. The body was made by a boat manufacturer in the ST Paul area Luger industries. like most of the Junior cars power was derived from a standard car battery running a modified starter motor the frame also had a built in battery charger.
77 inches long
29 1/8" wide
18 1/2" tall (23 3/4" with windshield)
12 Volt motor
brakes by pressure applied to rear wheels
6 miles per hour top speed
forward and reverse
Adjustable padded bucket seat
U-shaped racing type steering wheel
12" X 3" semi-Pneumatic tires
$285.00 dealer cost F.O.B. ST. Paul
230 pound shipping weight
I found an original for sale on Ebay and here is the description that was included on the auction.
One of 1200 small electric powered 1963 Corvette Sting Ray replicas used as giveaways in a national promotion in 1963 during the introduction of the all new Corvette Sting Ray. Chevrolet Motor Division of General Motors contracted with Barry Toycraft to build these little cars with a cost to participating dealers of $285.00. The car is 77 inches long, 29 ¼" wide and 18 ½" high (not including the windshield). Weight is 230 pounds and has a Riverside Red gel coat fiberglass body. The car operates on a standard automobile battery with a built-in charger. The body sits on a welded steel "torque-tube" chassis that allowed the independent suspension of the wheels. The large red wheels have 12" x 3.00 semi-pneumatic tires. A foot operated brake applies mechanical pressure to the rear wheels. The instrument panel and all other trim items are duplicated from the real car with heavy foil decals. A correct period dummy battery has been installed for display purposes. This particular car is believed to be the best known example to remain. It was used very little before being stored away for many years and is totally complete and untouched since new (including its original plexiglass windshield and bumpers). All factory labels remain intact and even the V-belt reads "Barry Toycraft". It is Number 379 and was built January 21, 1963 by the tag glued to the body’s underside. Press photo below shows Chevrolet General Manager Bunkie Knudsen (center) and General Sales Manager Larry Averill together with a suitably scaled test driver.
I also have a page dedicated to the Corvettes made by Yardman that can be seen at this link If you have any additional information or images of these vehicles please send them to me so I can share.
Vintage close up
Site Built: 04/17/04
Last Update: 01/07/14
Welcome to my mis-spelled word file!
These are common and sometimes uncommon ways to mis-spell the primary words on this site! I provide this as a service to the phonically challenged because they are people too! Or maybe they have a typing handicap like myself. Corvete, Crysler, Chrystler, Christler, Desota, De Sota, Desotoe, Desoda, Dasoda, Edsil, fibre, fibreglass, Gokart, Go-kart, go kart, Mo Par, Mustange, mircury, Peddel, Peddal, Peddle, pedel, Plymoth, Plimoth, Plimouth, powercar, power car, Tbird, T-bird, Thunderchicken