RM Auctions is holding their Collector Cars of Fort Lauderdale auction this weekend. Over 30 Corvettes are scheduled for the auction with some of the featured lots coming from the estate of automobile collector John O’Quinn. One of these is Lot #740, a 1955 Corvette roadster featuring one of the most unique aftermarket accessories ever made for the early C1 Corvettes: A removable “bubble top” hard top.
The Bubbletop project began in 1953 when Eugene Kettering, Chief Engineer at GM’s Electra-Motive Division approached William Chaffee of Model Builders of Chicago and cited the limited headroom and visibility of the original Corvette with the top raised. Model Builders produced the bubbletop in 1954 which had a total production of just 25 units. The bubbletop was a pricey accessory at the time with a price tag of $500, while the cost of a brand new Corvette was $3,000.
In addition to featuring the bubbletop, this 1955 Corvette comes powered with the 265 cubic inch V8, producing 195 horsepower. Although this was the first year for the V8 Corvette, Corvette sales fell to just 700 units making the 1955 model the second rarest production Corvette in its 57-year history.
O’Quinn’s Bubbletop Corvette comes with the V8, three speed manual transmission and is painted Gypsy Red. Benefiting from a ground-up restoration, it includes virtually flawless paint, correct cloth soft top, great chrome, a correct and as-new beige interior and an AM radio.
The Corvette will be auctioned on Sunday, March 28, 2010 and is offered without reserve. Estimates for the sale are $100,000 – $150,000.
Other Corvettes being auctioned from the John O’Quinn collection include a black 1954 Corvette Roadster, and a 1964 custom GM style Corvette roadster designed by Bill Mitchell for Indianapolis racing sponsor Ozzie Olson.