Tragic circumstances led to the discovery of this “basement find” 1956 Corvette in Jennings, Missouri.
According to writer Jerry Heasley with Hot Rod Magazine, the original owner of this first-generation Corvette was a man named Harold Pohlmann.
He ordered it new from Paul Luehrs Chevrolet in Mascoutah, Illinois and apparently enjoyed the performance of his Corvette, putting 41,000 miles on the odometer in the first 17 years before parking it permanently in 1983.
Pohlmann was one of just 111 people who ordered his 1956 Corvette with option code 469, which included a pair of four-barrel carburetors atop the standard 265 cubic inch engine, and code 449, the Duntov special high-lift cam that increased horsepower to 240.
The car also had the radio-delete option and a three-speed transmission that was later replaced by a four-speed transmission.
“He kept a record of every gas purchase from the time he bought the car new until the day he stored it in his basement garage in 1983 and never drove the car again,” said new owner Bob Kunz.
Tragically, Pohlmann suffered a terrible beating during the theft of his gun collection that he kept at his home. To pay for his nursing home care, all his possessions had to be sold.
Kunz found out about the Corvette but had to buy the entire estate, including the house and an unfinished Crosley dragster, to get his prize Chevrolet.
Kunz didn’t want a trailer queen, so he hasn’t had to do much to the highly original car other than an oil change, an adjustment of the tappets, and a rebuild of the carburetors. He also cleaned the exterior and interior and now just enjoys driving the car regularly.
While the original three-speed and differential were replaced in 1962, the original transmission and linkage came with the car, minus the original differential.
How exciting it must have been for someone like Pohlmann to be in on the ground floor of the Corvette experience! After all, the ’56 was just the fourth year for Chevy’s new fiberglass sports car.
Kunz says Pohlmann apparently was an enthusiast of Zora Arkus-Duntov, noting that he found “all the times for Duntov and (John) Fitch and whoever drove these cars at Daytona and Sebring.”
Visit Hot Rod Magazine to check out all 17 photos of this amazing basement find.