Although the cars built from 1953 to 1955 introduced the Corvette to America, it was the 1956 second series that truly earned the title “America’s Sports Car.” The clean good looks of Harley Earl’s new body design struck a chord with the American public, and it quickly outsold the older style by three to one. In addition, Zora Arkus-Duntov and Chevrolet Engineering had dramatically altered the personality of Chevrolet’s sports car with powerful small-block V8 engines and improved handling.
For 1958, the Corvette featured greater comfort, and its appearance was revised with the first quad headlights. 1958-only touches including a louvered “washboard” hood treatment and twin chrome decklid strips, consistent with the increased use of chrome. Performance continued to be emphasized, and the 245-hp, dual-quad 283 ensured the Corvette was competitive, with quarter-mile times in the 15-second range.
Chevrolet produced 9,168 Corvettes in 1958, and it was the first and only year in the C1 generation that yellow was available; only 455 were produced. Yellow was not offered on a Corvette again until 1965. And while most people assume that all 1956 to ’61 Corvettes had a contrasting color in the cove, it was a $16.15 option, and only 37% had it. Of those, only 190 of the Panama Yellow cars had white coves.
Displaying a full professional restoration completed in 2008 by Rick Adams, owner of RadAir in Minnesota, this fine Corvette received a 97.9% score for its originality and quality, earning the coveted Bloomington Gold Award in 2008.
As expected of a show-quality restoration, the Corvette’s fit and finish are outstanding. The car is one of 2,436 dual-quad 283s, with hydraulic lifters for easier maintenance. It has a 4-speed transmission, Positraction rear axle, signal seeking radio, courtesy lights and charcoal upholstery, as well as both tops. Award-winning and rare, this Corvette is an excellent example with a striking Panama Yellow finish.