1956 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster (LHD)
With the first example rolling off the production line in 1953, Chevrolet’s Corvette has gone on to achieve automotive legend status and recently celebrated its sixtieth birthday, a remarkable achievement. The Corvette has always remained true to the original concept of combining exceptional performance, stunning looks and plenty of luxury at a price most enthusiasts can afford. When the model entered its fourth season in 1956 it was time for a fresh new face and the Corvette underwent its first major restyle that year, taking on a bolder, more aggressive shape with numerous distinctive features including the signature side ‘coves’, recessed tail lamps and integral exhaust tips. The interior was also jazzed up, with a new three-spoke steering wheel and full instrumentation there was a decent heater for the first time and proper wind-up windows. In keeping with Chevrolet’s performance aspirations, the six-cylinder option was dropped and all 1956 Vettes were powered by V8s, the standard 265-cid normally equipped with twin Carter four-barrel carburettors and rated at 225 horsepower. For even more grunt, Zora Duntov’s engineering team developed the new Ramjet fuel injection system that lifted output to a healthy 250 horsepower, this figure rising to 283 ponies when equipped with Duntov’s special solid-lifter cam in place of the regular hydraulic cam. The standard transmission was now a three-speed manual gearbox, with the option of a four-speed M22 unit or Powerglide auto. The new Corvette went as well as it looked, with Road & Track magazine recording a 0-60 mph time of 7.3 seconds and the quarter-mile in 15.8 seconds in standard guise – both mighty impressive figures for the day, exceeded only by Latin exotica costing considerably more. From its appearance at Daytona Beach in February, where Zora Duntov broke the 150 mph barrier, to the Sebring 12-Hours the following month, the Corvette began earning its reputation as a bone fide sports car, something used heavily in Chevrolet’s promotional material that year. Held in high regard by Corvette aficionados for the purity of its shape, the ’56 Vette was a landmark year and every one of the survivors (from the original production run of 3,467 cars) is a bone fide collectible today.