This 1956 Corvette from the Ed Foss Collection is an unrestored example and has been driven just 2,299 miles. It was earlier included in the famed Ed Thiebaud Collection. Its factory-original dual-quad V-8 was the result of serious development undertaken by engineer Duntov to establish a high-performance image for Corvette.
The year 1956 was a watershed one for Chevrolet’s fledgling Corvette. Just three years after its introduction, Corvette was under siege from within as Chevrolet and GM management pondered disappointing sales, but it was also under the protection of three very important advocates: Harley Earl, Chevrolet President Ed Cole and engineer Zora Arkus Duntov. All three were determined to establish Corvette as America’s premier sports car, each in their own individual way. Stung by criticism that its styling was already aging, Earl looked to European marques for inspiration, most notably the Mercedes-Benz 300SL. He extended the Corvette’s front fenders and incorporated open headlights while shaving the taillight pods and molding the tail lights into the curving rear fenders. To emphasize the new forward-raking profile, he borrowed one of the key new features from his own 1955 LaSalle II show car: a horizontal body-side cove that allowed two-tone paint and was a Corvette trademark until the complete 1963 redesign. Thanks to an across-the-board budget increase, the new Corvette now finally had external door handles and glass side windows with optional power assist and an available auxiliary hardtop. Duntov’s efforts on the race track helped give the new Corvette competition credentials thanks in large part to a dual-carbureted version of the 265 CI engine introduced in 1955 and a special “competition only” solid-lifter camshaft. Duntov’s racing experience also translated into well-chosen suspension and brake upgrades that markedly improved the car’s handling. The changes resulted not only in a sensational class win at Sebring but a five-fold increase in sales; America’s Sports Car was coming of age.
This 1956 Corvette, number 3560, is not only a splendid example illustrative of Duntov’s thinking in that period; it is also astoundingly original. It still wears the Arctic Blue and Silver paint applied at the St. Louis factory, along with the original and beautifully preserved Red vinyl interior and Beige fabric soft top. In addition to being one of only 390 finished in Arctic Blue, this is one of just 111 1956 Corvettes ordered with the special RPO 449 “Duntov” Special High Lift Camshaft, which was available only with the RPO 469 265/225 HP engine equipped with dual inline Carter four-barrel carburetors. Recommended by the factory as being “for racing purposes only,” the combination produced an unofficial rating of 240 horsepower. In keeping with its decided competition flavor, this car also features a 3-speed close-ratio manual transmission, radio and heater delete and painted steel wheels wearing Blackwall tires and full spinner wheel covers. Its complete known ownership history records that the car was featured as a low-mile example in a 1969 issue of Rod and Custom Magazine. It earned NCRS Regional Top Flight status in 2005, scoring an impressive 97.2 points and has been selected for both Bloomington Gold Hall of Fame and Special Collection honors.