Thursday, August 26, 2021

Nan's 1956 Corvette

In October of 2021 we sold Nan's 1956 Corvette.

We have owned Corvettes since 1966, when I bought my 1959 Corvette while a student in college.  Over the years we have owned seven Corvettes, cherishing each one.  

We purchased this 1956 Corvette in 1998 and owned it for more than 23 years. 

The restoration project was a complete frame-off affair with the goals of creating a car that looked true to the most classic Corvette style (in our opinion, the 1956 and 1957 model years), while making the car safe, comfortable, and as updated as possible with modern technologies.

The result is a car with the following features:

  • A beautiful, straight, body graced with 1965 Corvette Nassau Blue paint set off with White Pearlescent body coves and dash;
  • The engine is a new GM Fastburn 385 crate engine, topped with the GM RamJet Electronic Fuel Injection;
  • The transmission is the 700R4 (overdrive) unit re-manufactured by Bowtie Overdrives, including the classic look shifter;
  • Power Disc brakes are found on all four wheels, actuated by a dual-chamber, power-assist booster on the master cylinder;
  • Power steering is provided through a Chevy rack and pinon setup adapted to the original front suspension;
  • Real wire wheels, with knockoffs, are on all four corners and even the spare -- Dayton Wire Wheels provided these wheels for the car;
  • Cooling comes from an oversized aluminum radiator with an electric cooling fan thermostatically activated when needed;
  • The removable hardtop, in matching Nassau Blue, was provided by GlassWorks, the premier hardtop shop for vintage Corvettes;
  • All the chrome and stainless parts were purchased new, or re-chromed, or polished as appropriate;
  • A modern serpentine belt system drives the aluminum water pump, power steering pump, alternator, and A/C compressor;
  • A single white leather hide was used for the interior so that all the leather parts match -- seats, doors, dash rail, the 15" steering wheel, and even the trunk;
  • All the instrument gauges are restored originals and they all work perfectly;
  • 100% of the electrical wiring is new -- provided by Lectric Limited (arguably the best in the business).
Conveniences include a Vintage Air A/C system, power windows, dual-speed wipers, and three-point seat belts. Total mileage since restoration is under 1,100 miles. 

 This car won a “Peoples Choice” award in 2016 and won first place at the “Vettes for Veterans” car show in 2017 for first-generation Corvettes.


The body was removed from the frame and completely restored and painted 1965 Corvette Nassau Blue, with Pearl White coves and interior accents. 

Eagle-eyed Corvette aficionados will notice the "Fuel Injection" emblems on the sides of the car and remark, "Fuel injection wasn't available until 1957."   They, of course, are correct.  But we love the look of the coves with the FI emblems (we think the coves look naked without the emblems), so we installed fuel injection to make everything compatible! See below for details.


The interior was created from a single hide of white leather – seats, door panels, kick panels, dash rail, 15” steering wheel (made possible due to the power steering -- see details below), and even the trunk.
The instruments are restored originals (except for the tachometer -- which is electronic to be compatible with the electronic fuel injection), each in their correct location and all of them in working order.  The speedometer is a restored original and correctly geared for the transmission and rear end. The dash knobs are restored originals or correct replacements.
100% of the electric wiring was replaced with new harnesses provided by Lectric Limited -- a premium wiring provider.
The wipers are dual speed, cable driven units.  The hood release and emergency brake handles are restored originals, both in perfect working order. The car came from the factory with power windows -- but the original units have been replaced with modern electronics. The horns are restored originals. Even the cigarette lighter works!

The original seat frames were replaced with custom fitted seat frames from Glide Engineering -- giving the seats a much better ride.
The seat belts are over-the-shoulder three point units for greater safety.

Vintage Air supplied the heater / defroster / air conditioner in their "compact" unit.  The air conditioning works great!





Engine and Drive Train:

The engine was purchased new from GM Performance. We chose the 350 Cu In Fast Burn 385 HP engine with Vortec aluminum heads, hydraulic roller cam, angle spark plugs, and four-bolt main bearings (Part # 12499710).  
We topped it off with the GM Performance Ram-Jet electronic Fuel Injection system (Part # 12498032) and the GM MEFI ECU and wiring harness. The car comes with the diagnostic module for the EFI.
A 700R4 (overdrive) transmission backs up the engine, then drives a 3.55 Positraction rear end housed in the original rear axle.  The Corvette traction bars (that ride above the rear axle housing) were restored.
Sanderson "block hugger" headers exit the exhausts into standard Corvette exhaust system with all stock Corvette pipes and hangers.

A serpentine belt system drives the alternator, aluminum water pump, power steering pump and the A/C compressor.

A panel to hold all the relays and electronics are housed in their own unit that is easily removed for maintenance.


The removable hardtop, in matching Nassau Blue, was provided by GlassWorks, the premier hardtop shop for vintage Corvettes.  There is no convertible top.  

The headliner is white, to match the interior of the car.  The white color not only matches the interior, it aids in light reflectivity giving the interior a brighter look with the top installed and helps keep the interior cooler than a darker color would.

Here are some photos of the hardtop on the car:

Wire Wheels:

The wheels were provided by Dayton Wire Wheels – these are “real knock off” wheels, and include a 5th wheel for the spare. They are Model "KW156", which means 15" by 6" wide, with the 72 spokes cross-laced.  The kit includes an Octagon wrench and lead hammer.
Notice that special Corvette Logos are in the center caps of the wheels!  

The set of wheels includes the spare!  In these pictures you can see that these are real knock-off wheels.

We even had custom Corvette Logos fashioned for the knock off caps!



Our 56 Corvette won a "People's Choice" award at one of the Corvette Racing corrals we attended (in Le Mans, France -- from photos of course -- the car did not go to France!) in 2016.

It also took 1st Place at the 2017 "Vettes for Veterans" Car Show in San Diego for 1st generation Corvettes.

Our beautiful 1956 Corvette now lives in British Columbia with its new owner.  We hope he enjoys the car even more than we did!

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