Vin Number One Corvette Trio
1955, 1956, 1957 Corvette Vin Number One 001 Trio
Whenever any VIN #001 collectible car is up for auction, people tend to sit up and take notice. But when three VIN #001 vehicles are for sale at the same auction – and they just happen to be Corvettes from sequential model years – well, that is akin to finding a herd of unicorns for any Corvette aficionado.
America has had a love affair with the Corvette for more than 60 years. Originally conceived purely to be a part of General Motors’ Motorama exhibit at the 1953 New York Auto Show, the company’s first sports car was so well-received GM decided to make a production version to sell to the public. Only 300 Corvette convertibles were produced that year, with the hand-built “solid axle” sports car available in just one color: Polo White. The company got ambitious for the 1954 model year, building 3,640 units and offering three color choices. Apparently too ambitious: sales were slow.
1955 Corvette Vin #001
The slow sales prompted GM to only produce 700 vehicles the following year. That limited production makes the first of this special trio known as The Serial One Corvettes – a 1955 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster (Lot #1351) – even more exceptional. This Polo White beauty with a red and white interior was the first production Corvette equipped with Chevrolet’s now-famous small block V8, as well as a 12-volt electrical system. Discovered in North Carolina behind a Lexington residence more than 30 years ago, it was rescued by a young enthusiast for a mere $500. This car was uniquely built on a 1954 frame with modifications for V8 engine mount and fuel pump clearance. The body is basically a 1954 with firewall modifications for the heater hose relocation and the plunger-style windshield washer – the 6-cylinder equivalent firewall holes were simply plugged. This ’Vette’s V8 engine (265ci with Powerglide transmission) also included several distinctive features: a special grease lubricator on the distributor, an external Mallory capacitor, special ignition shielding with a very rare housing and the extremely rare original Hallett ignition shielding. This car received a professional frame-off nut-and-bolt restoration with all date-code and number-correct components, resulting in an NCRS Top Flight at a Chapter meet with a net score of 99.3 in 2008. This is the Vin number one Corvette from 1955.
1956 Corvette Vin #001
The 1956 Corvette Convertible (Lot #1352) in this threesome was the first to feature the ’Vette’s revamped body with its new “face” and now-legendary side coves; the taillight fins had also disappeared. This model was the first production Corvette ever equipped with Chevrolet’s V8 dual four-barrel configuration, had the model’s first power convertible top and power windows, and was the first to be fitted with two tops. This fully optioned assembly-line prototype was featured at the GM Motorama, and some believe it made an appearance on the Daytona test track as well. Dressed in a unique Motorama show color combination of Venetian Red with Polo White coves and solid red interior (including the dash), the car boasts a 265ci V8 with 3-speed manual transmission and is rated at 225hp with a special solid-lifter “Duntov 098” camshaft. This special Corvette has a pre-production prototype body sculptured in the Chevrolet Design Studio, and several of the panels were actually hand-laid because the press-molded production panels were not ready in time for the Motorama show. It is the only 1956 production body known to be built without the fender scoops. The car received a professional frame-off nut and bolt restoration using all date-code and number-correct components, resulting in an NCRS Top Flight at a Chapter meet with a net score of 99.5 in 2008. This is the Vin number one Corvette from 1956.
1957 Corvette Vin #001
Carrying on the design success of its predecessor, the virtually identical 1957 Corvette was noted for its performance and was the last to sport single headlights. This VIN #001 car (Lot #1353) was not only the first production 283ci Corvette, but the first production 283ci Chevrolet. The Cascade Green vehicle with its beige coves and beige and green interior was identified by mere coincidence in 1968, when its young owner, a college student, asked NCRS Technical Chairman Sam Folz to help solve a water leak problem. This ’Vette was born the second week of August 1956, with the majority of components dated July 1956, including the engine, transmission and differential. The common thought is that only 20 of the July 1956 engines were built. The car features a 283ci dual four-barrel engine with 225hp, Powerglide transmission, power convertible top, two tops, Wonder Bar radio, courtesy lights and windshield washers. The car achieved NCRS Top Flight at a Chapter meet with a net score of 97.4 in 2008. This is the Vin number one Corvette from 1957.
Source: Barrett-Jackson Auctions