The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky was a brilliant way to spend a Friday morning last week.
This museum is huge and stocked with some of the most unique Corvettes ever made.
But more likely -- not ever made. America's Sports Car has undergone seven drastic re-births in its 61-year lifespan.
In order to ensure the next-gen Corvette's success through the years, hundreds (if not thousands) of one-off prototypes and concepts were crafted to evaluate big ideas before series production.
The museum charmingly covers the entire Corvette story since 1951 or so when Zora sent his famous letter to then-chief Bill Mitchell at GM. What Chevy needed to really entice speed-demons home from the war was a high-performance sports car.
Many upcoming articles wil chart the Corvette's lifespan through hundreds of high-res photos taken at the Bowling Green National Corvette Museum.
One unexpected find amid all these priceless items?
An early, early "IVERS" body buck of the 2014 Stingray on loan from General Motors.
The IVERS is simply an integration and evaluation car for the engineers to see thousands of parts together, on one rolling chassis, at the same time.
This step is a critical part of the production process for any carmaker because it allows any late-stage issues to be caught before a vehicle really heads for the factory.
The timetable of this IVERS prototype C7's build is not known, but I would estimate this IVERS buck is from about 2011 or early 2012.
Simply riveted, glued and taped together - the IVERS is a giant model. It is to 1:1 scale, but is clearly not a real "car," per se. Just a rolling demo platform to perfect the 2014 Stingray.
The Corvette team is led by Mike Ottenbacher, and there is a cute note to the transporters: "Please Be Careful."
While production Vettes are designed for high-speed, tail-out thrills once they hit the road --- they would never exist without Integrated Vehicle Engineering Release prototypes like these.
For a rare glimpse under the skin of the 2014 Stingray, jet over to Bowling Green and the Corvette Museum before this engineering buck returns home to Michigan.
2014 Corvette Stingray IVERS Prototype
Details on visiting the museum are below. It is a must-see attraction if in the area and interested in sports cars.
The only choice left for buyers? What color to order! All 2014 colors are shown below.
Admission Prices: $10 Adults, $8 Seniors, $5 Youth (6-16), Under 6 Free, Family (same household) $25, Active Military Free. Various discounts and coupons available. Group rates offered for 15 or more people.
Hours: Open everyday, 8am-5pm Central.
The last admission tickets will be sold at 4:30pm CT. In the case of inclement weather, please visit our Facebook Fan Page or Twitter for any closings. (You do not have to have an account to visit our pages)
Holidays We Are Closed: Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Day
Getting Here: I-65 to Bowling Green, Kentucky. Exit 28. Turn left at first stoplight. Enter at Gate A or Gate B.
Current Special Exhibit: GPS Adventures
Corvette Plant Tour Information: The Corvette Plant is located just across the stree. Click here for more info.
Contact Info: 800-538-3883 or 270-781-7973, 350 Corvette Drive, Bowling Green, KY 42101