Produced June 18, 1955. This was the first prototype Corvette ever made with a 3-speed manual transmission. Chevrolet executives had wanted to make the Corvette a true 2-seat “sports car” to compete with the Ford Thunderbird, which was being offered with a manual transmission. Previous to this time, all Corvettes were equipped with a 6 cylinder engine and Powerglide automatic transmission.
Car #1353 (this car) was pulled from the assembly line and a 3-speed manual transmission was fitted for examination by GM management. The driveshaft tunnel was cut open and the transmission attached to the 265 V8 engine. After initial testing, two other cars (# 1442 and #1551) were similarly equipped and further refinements were made to the linkage and clutch return spring bracket. The first production 3-speed equipped car is # 1578.
Car #1353 was later sold (likely to a Chevrolet employee) who is now unknown. In August of 1965 the car was sold to a gentleman in Cupertino, California who owned it until 1988 when it was sold to a well known national award-winning Chevrolet restorer near Portland, Oregon.
He knew the significance of this car and set out on a full frame-off, nut-and-bolt restoration to concours show level. Upon completion, he sold the car to a friend and fellow collector in Oregon, who showed it at the 2002 National Corvette Restorer’s Society (NCRS) Northwest Regional Meet where it received the “Top Flight” Award for excellence in restoration.
The car was kept in his home showroom until he died in 2013 and the car was acquired in 2018 from his estate by Monte Shelton of Portland. Shelton mechanically refreshed the car as well as having an extensive cosmetic reconditioning done to again bring the car to top show level. With Shelton’s recent unexpected passing, this Corvette is now being offered for sale.
The car now shows less than 60 miles since restoration and is spectacular. We invite you to bring your experts to examine this car. Besides being one of the finest restored 1955 Corvettes in the world today, its provenance as the first 3-speed equipped prototype make it one of the most significant C-1 Corvettes in existence and a car that cannot be duplicated at any price. It would be a centerpiece of any Corvette collection.
WE WILL HAPPILY SELL TO BUYERS WORLDWIDE AND CAN ASSIST WITH SHIPPING ANYWHERE.
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