After World War II, GIs returning after serving overseas in the years were bringing home MGs, Jaguars, Alfa Romeos and the like. In 1951, Nash Motors began selling an expensive two-seat sports car, the Nash-Healey, made in partnership with the Italian designer Pinin Farina and British auto engineer Donald Healey, but there were few moderate-priced models. Harley Earl convinced GM that they needed to build a two-seat sports car, and with his Special Projects crew began working on “Project Opel” in late 1951. The result was the hand-built, EX-122 pre-production Corvette prototype, which was first shown to the public at the 1953 General Motors Motorama at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City on January 17, 1953. With the release of the 1957 model, Chevrolet was really getting into its stride. A new body, a much better convertible top and glass wind-up windows, together with the single headlamp styling and the cove-side design, really brought the Corvette right up to date.
Production began in June of 1953 with the standard six cylinder 160bhp engine, but by 1956 this had grown into a V8 of 265cu.inch, developing between 180 and 220bhp according to the state of tune. A fibreglass body was fitted from the start; early cars could reach 105mph compared to the Ford Thunderbird’s 115mph but the Corvette had superior acceleration, and handled better.
Finished in the classic colour scheme of Roman Red with white coving, this beautifully restored matching numbers ‘Vette is fitted with the traditional V8 mated to a 4 speed manual gearbox –
with 230hp available the Corvette a thrilling driving experience. We note the C1 is supplied with a lovely Hartz convertible roof.
We love these Corvettes; fantastic looking with a wonderful sounding V8 – it comes as no surprise to see interest in this model increasing in recent times, and none more so than with this fine example.