1956 Chevrolet Corvette
8-cyl. 265cid/210hp 4bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
1956 marked the first major facelift for the first-generation (C1) Chevrolet Corvette. The recessed, grate-covered headlights of the 1953-55 model were replaced with more pronounced headlights, while the chrome belt running down the side was ditched in favor of large, scalloped panels tracing their way back from the front fenders.
Out back, the rear corners lost their fins, and the taillights were integrated into the rear fenders. The rear license plate frame was also moved from a cut-in on the trunk to below the rear bumper, allowing the trunk to have a cleaner look.
Chevrolet further made the Corvette more livable with actual roll-up side windows as opposed to the clip-un units from the 1953-55 models. It also featured an improved convertible top and a power-operated top became optional. This meant the Corvette no longer technically qualified as a “roadster,” but instead as a “convertible.”
In the cabin, things were largely unchanged from the 1955 model, save for a new steering wheel design, and the shifter was moved to the top of the transmission hump with an updated frame around it.
Under the hood, the inline-six was phased out in favor of the carried-over 265 cid V-8, but there were now three versions. The base variant offered featured a single 4-barrel carburetor and made 210 hp. Buyers could also opt for a twin 4-bbl carb setup that put out 225 hp. The range-topping V-8 also had dual quads as well as a high-lift camshaft, resulting in an output of 240 hp.
General Motors made 3,467 Corvettes for the 1956 model year, making it the third rarest year in terms of production numbers. GM successfully made the Corvette more appealing to buyers from two ends. First, with proper roll-up windows and improved top, the Corvette was more livable and practical. Second, with the deletion of the six-cylinder engine in favor of an expanded range of V-8s, the Corvette was finally gaining more legitimate performance credentials.