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. Perhaps not surprisingly, alterations for the next couple of years were few. 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. This manual transmission Corvette roadster benefits from many thousands of dollars were spent on its restoration in America circa 2000, since when it has seen little use. Imported into the UK in 2010, it offers stunning looks, incredible performance and is a real must to own for the Revival. Said to drive as good as it looks and described as in 'A1' condition, the car is offered with sundry restoration invoices, current MoT/tax and Swansea V5C document.
This Lot has been withdrawn. We expect it to be offered at our Goodwood Festival of Speed 2013 Sale.