- One of only 700 Corvettes built for 1955 and one of only 180 in Gypsy Red
- First year for the 195-hp, 265 cu. in. V-8 engine
- Powerglide automatic transmission
- Beige convertible top and red interior featuring optional pushbutton AM radio
The Chevrolet Corvette made a splash when it was introduced for 1953, but it soon became clear that the model, initially offered only with an inline, six-cylinder engine, would need refining to establish itself as a true sports car. At the insistence of Corvette engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov, a V-8 engine debuted for the 1955 model year, greatly improving performance. The new 265-cubic-inch small-block delivered a healthy 195 horsepower with help from a four-barrel Carter carburetor. The V-8 would prove a pivotal addition to the Corvette as it transitioned from a sporty roadster to a genuine performance model. However, it would take time for this formula—obvious in retrospect—to catch on; consequently, 1955 was the second-lowest year of Corvette production.
Even though the straight-six was still offered, most 1955 Corvettes left the St. Louis plant with the new V-8 engine, a $135 upgrade. A Powerglide automatic transmission was a required option for the V-8—costlier than the engine itself, at $178.35—until a three-speed manual transmission became available later during 1955 production. The V-8 also brought with it an upsized gold “V” logo worked into the stylized Chevrolet emblem on both front fenders.
The example offered here is one of only 700 Corvettes built for 1955 and one of only 180 in Gypsy Red. It is said to have benefitted from a frame-off restoration circa the early 2000s and has been well cared for as part of the Gene Ponder collection since September 2010. It features a beige convertible top and a red interior equipped with a pushbutton AM radio, a $145.15 option that also cost more than the V-8 engine upgrade. The car rides on period wide-whitewall tires mounted to red painted steel wheels with full covers. As is typical of cars in this collection, it remains well preserved. Included in the sale are various period manuals.