By Nicole Ellan James, Barrett-Jackson
Quiet, toned-down, understated: These aren’t words that come to mind when thinking about the Chevrolet C8 Corvette — or the American rock band KISS. Both demand your attention and come across as incredibly bold, with the C8 often dressed in exuberant colors and the band sporting intense face-painted makeup during the fire-breathing performances of its popular music.
Still, “toned-down and understated” are Paul Stanley’s words to describe his factory custom 2022 Chevrolet Corvette 3LT convertible VIN 001. Stanley, also known as Starchild, is the co-founder, frontman and rhythm guitarist of KISS. With a career spanning 45 years, the band has sold 100 million albums and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. In addition to co-steering the KISS empire and other successes, Stanley is an accomplished artist with painting sales of over 18 million dollars.
Barrett-Jackson will offer his factory-customized C8 Corvette with No Reserve at the 2022 Las Vegas Auction, held June 30 to July 2 in the West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Stanley became acquainted with Chevrolet’s top executives at the launch of the C7 Corvette in 2013 and was later asked by Mark Reuss, the president of Chevrolet, if he would like to take part in designing a 2015 Stingray model for the 2014 SEMA Show.
He agreed and worked with the design team to develop a color inspired by a supercar he had seen, which is incredibly close to the Long Beach Red paint option Chevrolet began offering in 2016.
Following the project, Stanley said he was very excited that Chevrolet would be raising the bar in terms of design and technology regarding the C8.
When Chevrolet announced the 2022 Corvette convertible, Stanley reached out to reserve a car. “I spoke with Mark, and Harlan Charles [Corvette Product Marketing Manager], and put together a combination that played on the C8’s touring and sports car aspects.”
Stanley said his goal with the car was to incorporate his favorite elements from European vehicles. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking cues from other cars and embracing them.”
As a result, the C8 — powered by a 6.2-liter V8 paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission — was adorned with the striking Metallic Red Tint Coat exterior paint color, also known as Red Mist Metallic Tint Coat and the successor to Long Beach Red he helped create. The accompanying Saddle interior and pewter wheels work together to give the car a warmer and richer feel than the other colors normally seen on American cars.
“I would rather draw attention from being understated than overstated; that’s just my preference,” Stanley said.
Chevrolet surprised Stanley by giving him VIN 001, the first Corvette produced for the 2022 model year. “It’s an amazing car, and having it be VIN 001 is a collector’s dream,” Stanley said.
Though he loves the car, he is offering it for auction because he “couldn’t do it justice,” as he is so conscious of the vehicle, its pedigree and its number. “I want to make it available to somebody who might be able to get more out of it, whether it’s to add to a collection or to drive it.”
Stanley doesn’t consider himself much of a collector, mainly because he can only drive one car at a time. As such, he has only a few vehicles at any given time.
“I didn’t come from a family that could afford a new car for themselves, let alone help me with one,” Stanley said. His first car was a 1960 Rambler American, which had cost him $35.
“It was completely smashed on one side, and you couldn’t open the door. So when I used to pick up dates at that point in my life, I had to crawl in on the passenger side,” he recalled. “I would always park the car so that whomever I was picking up didn’t see that the other side of the car was demolished.”
His first new car didn’t come until the band’s success, and it was a 1977 Corvette. “You can say I’ve come full circle,” he said.
At the time, Stanley felt the Corvette wasn’t quite right for him, so he didn’t return to the brand until the C7 made its debut. “I didn’t expect a new model to come so quickly after the C7, and the C8 is such a leap forward design-wise. I have got to give the guys at Chevrolet a huge amount of credit.”
His favorite part of the C8 is watching the top go down. “You breathe in the air and get hit with the California sun. That’s just unbeatable,” he said. Stanley added that the convertible’s openness brings him more in touch with the driving experience, his surroundings and nature.
The high bidder will also receive an autographed Ibanez PS120 Paul Stanley Signature guitar. According to Stanley, including the instrument with the sale is the perfect way to combine two of his passions. “The guitar is another part of my life, another aspect of who I am. So I thought that whoever acquire the car would have another piece of who I am,” he said.
“I want somebody to take this car and do whatever makes them happy with it, to enjoy it,” Stanley said. “That’s really the keyword, I think, for any collector of anything — joy. And for me, my life has always been about the joy I can bring to other people. So here’s a car and a guitar. Go enjoy.”