1955 Corvette has 195 horsepower V-8 engine
It was 60 years ago when the first Corvette rolled out of the General Motors factory in Flint, Mich. It was the first of 300 fiberglass-bodied Corvettes built in 1953. In order to expand production capabilities for the upcoming 1954 model year the entire Corvette operation was moved to St. Louis, Mo.
The good news was that 3,640 Corvettes were built in 1954. The bad news was that only about 2,500 were sold. Not very many buyers, it seems, wanted a sports car with a six-cylinder engine, side curtains in lieu of roll-up glass windows and no outside door handles.
So, for the 1955 model year Chevrolet offered a 265-cubic-inch, 195-horsepower Turbo-Fire V-8 engine or a 235.5-cubic-inch, 155-horsepower Blue Flame six-cylinder engine. All but a handful of buyers that year chose the V-8 engine. One of them was a contractor in Allentown, Pa.
The 1955 Corvette was offered in Polo White, Gypsy Red, Harvest Gold, Pennant Blue and Corvette Copper. An imitation leather interior was available in Red, Yellow, Light Beige and Dark Beige. The original buyer selected a 1955 ‘Vette with Corvette Copper exterior paint and the Light Beige interior upholstery.
In 1964, when the Corvette was 9 years old, a local dentist, Ray Peters, purchased the 1955 V-8 model and he proceeded to use it as his daily driver. The 2,650-pound, 13-foot, 11-inch-long Corvette rolled on a 102-inch wheelbase. No power-assisted anything was available on the 1955 model. But it was originally purchased with several options: Wonderbar radio, heater, white sidewall tires, turn signals, windshield washers, parking brake alarm and courtesy lights.
The Corvette saw daily use with the four-barrel carburetor drinking fuel from the 17.25-gallon fuel tank. Other liquid capacities include a 5-quart crankcase and a 17.75-quart cooling system.
Andy Peters, one of the dentist’s sons, who is now a Navy Captain at the Walter Reed facility, grew up with the Corvette. After his father’s death in 2001, Andy says his mother suggested that he give the car a good home. Peters had the Corvette trucked to his home in Virginia. Since then the odometer has turned over 100,000 miles and is nearing the 103,400-mile mark.
Now that the car is at his home he has the time to admire the 23-chrome teeth in the grille and the full wheel covers on the 6.70×15-inch tires, as well as the gold “V” in signature Chevrolet script on the bodyside, which identifies it as a Corvette with a V-8 engine.
With few exceptions Peter’s Corvette is virtually in original condition. When in the driver’s seat Peters can see the 140-mph speedometer and the well worn steering wheel. He could have the steering wheel repainted, but he won’t.
Peters reminisces, “My dad wore the paint off that wheel.”
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