We knew that the 1956 Corvette that some have dubbed “the Corvette that saved the brand” should go for big money when it was auctioned at Mecum Kissimmee and we were not disappointed.
The hammer fell on Saturday afternoon with “The Real McCoy” reaching a high bid of $2.3 Million, catapulting the little white roadster with the rumbling V8 engine into the top five list of Corvettes sold at auction.
In its fourth year of production, the Corvette was relatively untested in competition, with some saying the Corvette still lacked the credentials that other sports cars had earned on the track.
Zora took the criticism to heart.
Begun as an Engineering Project, the mule known originally as #6901 was assembled under the guidance of Corvette engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov. Under the hood was a 307 ci V8 engine hopped up with the first known version of the “Duntov Cam” and dual Carter four-barrel carbs.
Zora identified Daytona’s Flying Mile record which then stood at a two-way average of just over 127 MPH as beatable. In February 1956 the 6901 mule Corvette shattered that record with a two-way average of 150.583 MPH. And in doing so just days before the opening of the 1956 GM Motorama at the Waldorf Astoria, he created a buzz that generated new found respect for the car.
But Chevy wasn’t finished yet with #6901 yet. Ed Cole announced that the mule would join a factory-backed three car team of production Corvettes for an assault on Sebring’s 12 hour race. With John Fitch leading the team and driving 6901 as the #1 Corvette in the race with Walt Hansgen, the Corvette faced its share of issues but persevered to win the class and finish ninth overall.
Chevrolet celebrated the class win with an advertisement that called #6901 “The Real McCoy”. The Corvette was finally bonafied with a class win at one of the world’s biggest races and would continue to be a force in national and international sports car race for the next 56+ years.
Here are photos of the Real McCoy from Mecum’s Kissimmee auction:
And we were also lucky to be behind the car as it moved from the expo hall to the main building for the auction: