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1958 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster with Hardtop
Registration no. not UK registered
Chassis no. J58S107319

Back in 1953, Chevrolet's launch of a two-seater sports car was a radical departure for a marque hitherto associated almost exclusively with sensible family transport. Based on the 1952 EX-122 show car, the Corvette made use of existing GM running gear and a shortened chassis frame, around which was wrapped striking Harley Earl-styled glassfibre coachwork. Motive power came from Chevrolet's 235.5ci (3.8-litre) overhead-valve straight six and, unusually for a sports car, there was automatic transmission, a feature that attracted much adverse criticism at the time.

Intended as competition for the T-Series MG, the Corvette cost way above the target figure, ending up in Jaguar XK120 territory but with an inferior performance. Sales were sluggish initially and the model came close to being axed, surviving thanks to Chevrolet's need to compete with Ford's Thunderbird. A V8 engine for 1955 and a radical restyle for '56 consolidated the 'Vette's position in the market. A facelift for 1958 saw the Corvette gain a quartet of chrome-rimmed headlamps and a host of other more minor styling changes.

By this time, the end of the 1950s, Corvettes had begun to establish an enviable competition record for the marque. Corvette Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov was a big fan of auto racing and it was he that was responsible for unlocking the car's innate potential and development it into a genuine race-winner. These racing successes repaid Chevrolet's investment with interest: Corvette sales improved significantly, ensuring the car's survival and enabling it to go on to become the world's best-selling and longest-lived sports car.

Like most American cars, the Corvette was available with a host of optional extras, with the result that seldom are two exactly alike. It is obvious that the first owner of this outstanding example was keen to extract increased performance from his Corvette, ordering it with the optional 283ci (4,639cc) V8 engine. This car was purchased from the USA by the current vendor in November 2015 and imported in December of that year (sales invoice and import documentation on file). The previous owner, a Mr Ross, had owned the Corvette since 1981. Treated to a comprehensive 'body off' restoration undertaken between 2018 and 2019, the car is presented in beautiful condition and comes complete with a soft-top and hardtop (see restoration photographs on accompanying USB stick). Sold only because the current owner is thinning out his collection, this beautiful Corvette is ready for the next fortunate owner to enjoy.

Bonhams 1793
101 New Bond Street
United Kingdom
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Bonhams Collectors’ Car department