- Offered with original two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission
- Powered by aftermarket dual-quad carburetors and a 5.7-liter V-8 engine
- Radio and heater delete for a lighter road presence
Selling on Friday
1956 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster
The redesigned 1956 Corvette was the year that the model truly began to earn its name as America's Sportscar. The inline six-cylinder engine was phased out in favor of a more powerful V-8 with three carbureted options. The body was revised to ditch the fins and incorporate the now-iconic coves running along the breadth of the side panels and the roadster was transformed into a true convertible with roll-up windows and a factory-option power top. The elevated body and true performance chops catapulted the Corvette into stardom. Although early-model C1 Corvettes have become desirable over time, their sales were relatively sluggish at the outset. The C1 Corvette didn't really see rubber meet the road, so to speak, until 1956 when the Corvette C1 received its first major revision. The fins were sliding out of fashion and were removed in favor of taillights that were integrated into the stylish rear fenders and the license plate descended below the rear bumper to elevate the curve of the trunk. The grated headlights were replaced with slightly protruding headlights that were rimmed in chrome. In an inspired stroke of design brilliance, deep coves were scalloped into the side panels of the car and ran from the front fenders and tapered to the rear. This design feature would become a truly iconic look for Corvette that set it apart from all the competition.
Most importantly, and integral to the Corvette's future legacy as America's sports car, Zora Arkus-Duntov's dream of transforming the Corvette into a true, race-worthy sports car finally began to gain traction with the shift to only V-8 examples in 1956. The straight-six option was discontinued to accommodate the 4.3-liter V-8 engine, which ranged in power from 210, 225 to 240 horsepower when it was equipped with dual-quad carburetors and Duntov's high-lift camshaft. The standard three-speed manual transmission remained available along with the new, popular two-speed Powerglide automatic. Handling also improved significantly in this model. Additional factory options for 1956 included the power-assisted convertible top, removable hardtop, power windows, the then-innovative Delco car radio and the aesthetic option of two-tone paint with the contrasting coves. 1956 was a truly transitional and transformative year. A few holdovers would remain for this year alone, including the attractive dual-cowl dash that would travel to a center stack over the gauges by 1957. Only 3,467 examples were produced for the 1956 model year, making it the third rarest year in Corvette history. By 1957, the Corvette had made such a name for itself that the production number for the year had almost doubled to 6,339 units, but it was the 1956 model year that laid the groundwork for its surge in popularity and increased sales.
When this particular 1956 Chevrolet Corvette came to the attention of Dennis Collins, it had been an on-again, off-again family restoration project since 1980 and had been either in the owner's shop or in a museum for the last 44 years. The father-son restoration team had taken the painstaking time and significant expense to refinish the car in lacquered paint. Robed in Corvette's Venetian Red, with contrasting beige coves, as could be factory-optioned back in 1956, the presentation is absolutely beautiful. The car has both a factory-option power top and a white removable hard top. Below the alluring hood lies a formidable later, replacement 5.7-liter, small-block engine on the bottom while the top end of the motor appears to be all-original to the car. This is mated to replacement dual-quad carburetors and the original two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission. Service records from 1970 to 1978 accompany the sale of the car. A correct cosmetic restoration of America's sports car in the desirable 1956 production year, this is an absolutely ideal example of the Zora Arkus-Duntov dream embodied.