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The Amelia Island Auction / 1956 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster Chassis no. E56S004079

Lot 220
1956 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster
3 March 2022, 13:00 EST
Fernandina Beach Golf Club

Sold for US$80,640 inc. premium

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1956 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster
Chassis no. E56S004079

283ci OHV V8 Engine
Single 4-barrel Carburetor
220bhp at 4,600rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
Independent Front Suspension – Live Rear Axle
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes

*Fitted with desirable 4-speed manual transmission
*Equipped with color-coded hard top
*Sporting Corvette with brisk performance
*An American classic excellent for rallies and tours
*Recent comprehensive service performed


Back in 1953, Chevrolet's launch of a two-seater sportscar 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 fiberglass coachwork. Motive power came from Chevrolet's 235.5cu in (3.8-liter) overhead-valve straight 6 and, unusually for a sportscar, 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 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 re-style 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 '59 were few, though one welcome change was the deletion of the previous year's fake hood louvres.

By 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 Duntov who was responsible for unlocking the car's innate potential and developing 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 sportscar. In 1956, 3,467 Corvettes were produced.


Equipped with a 4-speed manual transmission, matching red hardtop, red interior and white side scallops, this eye-catching Corvette is in lovely condition and a desirably optioned example of the C1 model. Out-front sits a potent 283 cubic-inch V8 fed though a 4-barrel carburetor, giving the light fiberglass bodied Roadster ample torque and horsepower. The car received a restoration addressing both mechanical and cosmetic aspects some time ago but is said to have been used minimally since. The paint and brightwork presents very well, as does the engine bay which has recently been detailed and sorted. The interior is also in very nice condition and features the classic Corvette essentials.

This car used to be identified under a 1957 Chevrolet Corvette chassis number, which was affixed to the door jamb. A recent inspection revealed that the chassis indeed is a 1956 Corvette, with a stamped 1956 chassis number. Therefore, it is possible that the bodywork stems from a 1957 Corvette, which of course is very identical to that of a 1956. The engine being a 283 cubic-inch V8 unit would also have been from a 1957 model-year Corvette, as the 1956 cars ran 265 cubic-inch units. 1956 and 1957 Chevrolet Corvette chassis were of identical dimensions, so it is quite common that these cars share parts now some 70 years after they left the factory.

This classic Chevrolet Corvette Roadster is ready for local shows or participation in vintage rallies, and with parts readily available, a recent comprehensive service performed and a quite simple construction, it offers the next owner an 'easy to live with' collector car.

Saleroom notices

Please note this vehicle is titled as model year 1957 with chassis no. E57S101876.

Additional information