While the 1956 Corvette is considered to be a C1 or first-generation model, it still marked the first reskin of Chevy’s fiberglass sports car, with several mechanical improvements as well.
Though only 3,467 Corvettes left the St. Louis factory that year, that number represented a huge turnaround for Chevy, which had managed to sell just 700 Corvettes in 1955 and was close to pulling the plug.
But the ’56 saved the Corvette with many improvements, including a new body design, roll-up glass windows with power windows optional, external door handles and locks, exposed headlights with chrome surround bezels (except painted bezels on the very early cars), and the iconic sculptured side cove that has come to symbolize the Corvette.
With so many updates and its relative rarity, it’s no surprise that a highly optioned 1956 is currently drawing lots of attention on ebay right now. With 30 bids placed and the auction not ending until Wednesday at 9 p.m., the offer has already climbed to $35,500, with the reserve still not met, however.
Hagerty says a #1 Concours condition ’56 is worth $105,000, with a #2 Excellent car worth $73,300, a #3 Good $42,500, and a #4 Fair $30,600.
Based on the current owner’s admission, the car “looks much better in pics the black paint is not that nice in person.” By the way, this Corvette’s original color of Cascade Green was the rarest that year, with just 290 receiving that attractive color. We think it would look nice with a repaint in that shade.
But despite that self-degradation by the seller, this Corvette does have a long list of optional equipment going for it, including Dual Quad 225 HP Engine, Powerglide Automatic Transmission, Power Windows, Power Folding Top, Auxiliary Hardtop, AM Radio, Windshield Washers, and Parking Brake Warning Light. The power windows are the rarest option, with just 547 so equipped, but the other options weren’t too rare as 3,070 had the Dual Quad Engine, a surprising 2,682 had the Power Folding Top, 2,717 had the AM Radio, 2,815 came with the Windshield Washers (with the reservoir being a simple blue bag made of vinyl and vinyl-impregnated cloth, according to the Corvette Black Book), and 2,685 checked the Parking Brake Warning Light. Hard to believe those last two were options, but the ‘50s were a much simpler time, weren’t they.
The ’56 marked several firsts, including the auxiliary hardtop, seat belts as a dealer-installed accessory, transistorized radio, dual point distributors, and dual four-barrel carburetors. Unfortunately, the seller can’t say for sure that the car came with dual quads, though he believes the fuel line location and three-bolt exhaust would seem to verify that. Currently, however, the car has been converted to a single carburetor.
Having all those options doesn’t necessarily translate into working condition today, however. “The car runs and drives,” the seller says, “but is NOT roadworthy” as the tires need to be replaced and the brake lights don’t work but come on when the headlight switch is pulled. Likewise, the headlights and turn signals aren’t operational, and the front is missing the wiring harness.
The interior of the car is its strong suit, with the seats, door panels, and dash already redone in tan, along with new carpet in place. Since the car has wiring problems, it wouldn’t be surprising if the gauges, though intact, weren’t operational.
What’s your opinion of this highly optioned Corvette that helped save the model for future owners?
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