1955 Chevrolet Corvette
Year of manufacture1955
To Be OFFERED AT AUCTION WITHOUT RESERVE at RM Sothebys' Hershey event, 5 - 6 October 2022.
- Offered from the St. Yves Collection
- Presented for sale for the first time in over 40 years
- First year of the V-8 powered Corvette, one of just 700 produced in 1955
- Equipped with a 265-cu.-in. “Turbo-Fire” V-8 engine rated at 195 horsepower
- Wearing an older restoration; finished in rarely seen Pinnacle Blue over blue upholstery
The Chevrolet Corvette needs no introduction. From its beginning as a space-age, fiberglass bodied concept car to the mid-engine examples of today, the Corvette’s influence on American cars and culture cannot be overstated.
In celebration of its 50th anniversary, General Motors showcased its styling supremacy with the introduction of four show-car-inspired, limited-production “dream cars” in 1953—the Buick Skylark, Cadillac Eldorado, Chevrolet Corvette, and Oldsmobile Fiesta. The first two years of production saw Chevrolet’s sports car equipped with just six cylinders. The tuned version of Chevrolet’s production, cast-iron-block, inline, six-cylinder was rechristened the “Blue Flame Six” for the Corvette. While certainly more muscular than the pedestrian version, the early Corvette’s performance left much to be desired. After an initial surge, sales slowed in late 1954, prompting the executives in Detroit to consider shelving the Corvette project altogether.
Fate would intervene in the form of a Belgian immigrant of Russian decent named Zora Arkus-Duntov. After viewing the Corvette concept car on display at Motorama in New York City, he applied for a job at Chevrolet specifically to work on the new roadster. His first order of business was to immediately improve performance by swapping the Blue Flame Six for a new 265-cubic-inch, overhead valve, V-8 engine producing a healthy 195 horsepower. This change proved monumental as it transitioned the Corvette from a sporty roadster to a genuine performance model and rescued the project from cancellation.
Surprisingly, the straight-six was still offered even after the advent of the V-8, however few are believed to have been built in 1955. Almost all buyers chose the $135 upgrade to the V-8 engine, which also initially required the addition of a Powerglide two-speed automatic transmission.
Wearing an aged restoration, the example presented here is one of these first-year, V-8-powered Corvettes. Originally finished in Sportsman Red over a Red interior, the car is now finished in Pinnacle Blue with blue upholstery. It is accompanied by a black vinyl soft-top, tonneau cover, and side curtains.
Well-specified with the potent V-8 engine, this example would make an excellent starting point for a full concours-quality restoration.
To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/hf22.