1956 - A Pivotal Year
Larry Jewett - May 09, 2014 10:43 AM
The 1956 Corvette offered the side coves, making two-tone paint really appealing.Joe Greeves
1956 - It was just past the mid-point of what we know as the “baby boom”. The iconic Corvette was in its infancy as well, starting the fourth model year and not finished with the growing pains.
According to Mike Yager’s Corvette Bible, the 1956 model was actually a maturing point as the Corvette hit its stride as America’s “Real McCoy” sports car. It marked the first year for the hardtop and introduced the side coves (making two-tone paint, a popular choice for ‘50s cars) an attractive option and non-functioning fender scoops.
It made an elegant debut at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, but once it drove off from that, it was destined for the race track. Since it was a sports car, it was meant to be driven fast and opened the door for the legacy of the Racing Dentist, Dr. Dick Thompson. He won the 1956 Sports Car Club of America championship, setting the groundwork for Corvette racing that endures to this day.
Corvette lovers would see a lot more of these cars, whether on the race track or the street. Production was five times the previous model, reaching up to nearly 3,500.
A check of the Mecum auction results (www.mecum.com) finds that some examples can bring six figures at a sale, but that is the exception and not the rule. The best seller was a two-tone convertible with the optional 240 horsepower 265 engine, top of the performance line. The car brought $150,000 at the June, 2010 auction in St. Charles, Illinois. A modified 1956 sold for $100,000 in Anaheim, California. The most recent sales were a pair of convertibles in Dallas last year that brought $65,000 and $71,000.
The example of the 1956 Corvette shown is owned by Jerry Lyndon and photographed by Joe Greeves.