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Lot 660
1955 Chevrolet Corvette Pilot Car


Selling on Saturday Evening

• The 7th ‘pilot line' Corvette of 1955 and the 7th V-8 Corvette ever produced
• Only two miles since its fresh ground-up restoration
• Never before shown and ready for competition and exhibition
• 1 of only 700 Corvettes built in 1955

265 cid OHV V-8 engine, four-barrel carburetor, Powerglide automatic transmission, independent front suspension, unequal A-arms, coil springs and stabilizer bar, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 102"

The Corvette is firmly embedded in our psyche as ‘America’s Sportscar,’ but the future icon was nearly canceled in its second year of production. Fortunately, the 1955 Corvette was retooled to equip the already stunning body with requisite power under the hood. With the introduction of the V-8 engine, the Vette sped into our hearts and onto the pages of history books. This particular example is only the 7th Corvette to ever cradle a V-8, which places it among the rare “pilot line” of the small, 700-model production year that would save the Vette from obscurity.

Chevy’s first-generation Corvette debuted at the Waldorf-Astoria in January of 1953 and immediately captivated audiences. It was thanks to the vision of GM’s Head of Styling, Harley Earl. Earl watched as service members returned with European sports cars from World War II and he immediately sought to fill the American market’s gaping chasm with his own Special Projects crew and Chief Engineer, Ed Cole. The fruits of their labor revealed every inch the American sports car of Earl’s dream, at least on the outside. The racy body, blessed with a curved front end akin to European sports cars, was animated with long-life headlights enmeshed in wire. The curvaceous bonnet swooped back into a compact tail with perched taillights that hinted at the promise of the decade’s fins to come, but with subtle, alluring flare. Designed with lowered rear springs that lent the aerodynamic look of taking flight, the powertrain offered a ride that was far from the feeling of flying.

In opposition to its sports car moniker, the early Corvette was merely equipped with a 235-cubic-inch, 150-horsepower six-cylinder engine. Only 300 units were produced in 1953 and the 3,640 units in 1954 delivered dismal sales. America’s future favorite sports car was almost tossed into the dustbin of history until GM engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov was thrown into the mix. Later dubbed, “father of the Corvette,” Zora campaigned for a V-8 under the hood as well as a manual transmission. The 1955 was introduced with the V-8 and the manual transmission would be added as an option mid-way through the production year. With the launch of the 265-cubic-inch OHV V-8 mated to a Carter four-barrel carburetor, the Corvette finally had the chops to truly compete in the sports car arena. GM merely tested the waters with the 1955, manufacturing only 700 units for the production year, which is the second lowest number Corvette has ever produced. The reception was overwhelming, and production immediately rose to 3,467 units in 1956; that number continued to rise, and the Corvette was catapulted into the stratosphere.

This 1955 Chevrolet Corvette ‘Pilot Car,’ VIN number E55S001007, is just the 7th Corvette produced in 1955 as well as the 7th Corvette to ever be produced with an eight-cylinder engine. Brought back to its former glory by first-generation Corvette specialist Irvin Patrick, this car has undergone the most correct restoration possible. Mr. Patrick has personally restored every serial #1 Corvette for 1955, 1956 and 1957. Since then, this rare beauty has only been driven a handful of miles and is ready to be shown and compete at the apex of its class. Robed in classic Polo White with a beige convertible top, it cruises on whitewall tires wrapped around chrome Chevy hubcaps with red trim. Inside the cockpit, the classic red vinyl, correctly crafted by Al Knoch Interiors, and white dash are beautifully offset by the sleek original instruments and a racy red, white, and chrome Corvette steering wheel. This rare, 'pilot line' Corvette, bearing the gold V for V-8 Corvette badging is the 7th V-8 Vette ever produced, but it’s poised to be first among any example in its class. Sure to garner important awards such as Bloomington Gold®, this historically important 'Pilot Car" is ready to drive, show, compete and enjoy.

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