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Lot 158: Chevrolet Corvette Roadster

Goodwood Revival Sale, Bonhams (15 September 2012)

Back in 1953, Chevrolet's launch of a two-seater sports car was a radical departure for a marque hitherto associated almost exclusively with sensible family transport. Based on the 1952 EX-122 show car, the Corvette made use of existing GM running gear and a shortened chassis frame, around which was wrapped striking Harley Earl-styled glassfibre coachwork. Motive power came from Chevrolet's 235.5ci (3.8-litre) overhead-valve straight six and, unusually for a sports car, there was automatic transmission, a feature that attracted much adverse criticism at the time. Intended as competition for the T-Series MG, the Corvette cost way above the target figure, ending up in Jaguar XK120 territory but with an inferior performance. Sales were sluggish initially and the model came close to being axed, surviving thanks to Chevrolet's need to compete with Ford's Thunderbird. A V8 engine for 1955 and a radical restyle for '56 consolidated the 'Vette's position in the market. In 1958 the Corvette was facelifted, gaining a quartet of chrome-rimmed headlamps and a host of other more minor styling changes. Perhaps not surprisingly, alterations for '59 were few. By this time, the end of the 1950s, Corvettes had begun to establish an enviable competition record for the marque. Corvette Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov was a big fan of auto racing and it was he that was responsible for unlocking the car's innate potential and development it into a genuine race-winner. These racing successes repaid Chevrolet's investment with interest: Corvette sales improved significantly, ensuring the car's survival and enabling it to go on to become the world's best-selling and longest-lived sports car. This beautiful Corvette roadster dates from 1957, the year that the 283ci (4,639cc) V8 engine was standardised, replacing the old 265ci unit. It is one of only 33 delivered with automatic transmission and the fuel-injected engine (three versions of which were available) newly introduced for 1957. A one-owner car for the first 50-or-so years of its life, the Corvette was seldom used and had not been on the road since the early 1980s. In 2008 the 'Vette was purchased by Daisy's Car, Delaware where a full restoration was carried out to '100 point' standard. Purchased by the current vendor in January 2012, it benefits from further works that have included a new bonnet and front wings, the existing ones being not quite right. A multi concours-winning car in the last two years, 'on the button' and ready to enjoy, this beautiful and rare Chevrolet Corvette is offered with current MoT certificate and Swansea V5C document.

Lot Details
Auction Goodwood Revival Sale
Bonhams, Chichester, Goodwood
Lot Number158
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£50000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£57500
Condition rating0
Registration number
Chassis numberE57S104521
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2