RM Auctions was in the Tampa Bay area this weekend to auction off the collection of antique and classic cars belonging to noted automotive collector Al Wiseman. Included in the auction was this very significant 1955 Corvette Roadster that belonged to Zora Arkus-Duntov, Corvette’s first Chief Engineer.
The specifics of the Corvette are a bit clouded as this isn’t just a Corvette that pulled from the assembly line and delivered to the Duntovs. This car is one of two 1956 Corvette prototypes built on a 1956 chassis with a 1955 body and it was actually titled as a “1956 Assembled Corvette”. Fitted with a fuel injected 283 cubic inch V8 as well as various new features, it was presented to Zora Duntov, but history is unsure whether he paid for the Corvette or if it was a gift. Documentation shows the car was titled in Zora’s wife’s name Elfi, and it is most likely that she was the car’s primary driver.
The Corvette stayed with the Duntov’s until 1962 when it was sold to Chuck Schank, an admiring neighbor who owned it until 1968. The car was for the most part unchanged except for a motor replacement. It was sold again in 1968 to Mike Casey who swapped the engine, repainted the car and took it drag racing. The Corvette’s fourth owner was James Dalesandro who returned the Corvette to its original Harvest Gold with the Yellow/Green two-tone interior. In his search for authenticating the Corvette, Dalesandro contacted Duntov who responded in a letter verifying the car’s original engine, transmission, and exterior color. Barnaby Brokaw of Omaha Nebraska purchased the Corvette in or around 1978 and displayed the car in his car showroom. At some point it made its way to the west coast before making its way to an auto museum in South Dakota before being acquired by Al Wiseman in the late 1990’s.
The car is fairly presentable but the paint is beginning to show its age. The chrome and trim is also in need of rehabilitation, but the interior is in good condition. In addition to the letter from Duntov certifying his previous ownership, the car also comes with articles and documentation on its unique heritage.
Terry Michaelis of Proteam Corvettes purchased the 1955 Corvette for $122,500. A buyer’s premium of 10% is added to make the total selling price of $134,750.
Two other significant Corvettes were also auctioned from Al Wiseman’s collection and they will be presented shortly.