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Lot 149: 1958 Chevrolet Corvette C1
29 October 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
1958 Chevrolet Corvette C1
Reg. Number: UK Registered
Chassis Number: J58510385
Model: Corvette C1
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.
Chassis J58510385 is presented in the very rare colour combination of yellow with white inlets and a black interior. A matching numbers car, this C1 is an extremely rare fuel injection example. A car which needs to be seen to be appreciated, it is in outstanding condition throughout with an interior, body and engine bay that largely resembles a new car. Having been stored in climate controlled conditions for much of its like, few C1 Corvettes lie in this condition. Beautiful and great sounding, few Corvettes could be more desirable.