In 1956, Ed Cole, then General Manager of Chevrolet, decided Corvette could be
saved from extinction due to lagging sales by promoting the car as a performance car which could be raced in production classes.
The first of these Corvettes was to debut at Daytona Beach for acceleration and top end speed trials, the 12 hour race at
Sebring, and also possibly Le Mans. The effort succeeded in setting records at Daytona, a class win and reasonable finishes
at Sebring, and a significant increase in sales which helped preserve the Corvette as the American sports car.
car was purchased on February 1, 1956, by Chevrolet Engineering from Chevrolet St. Louis and delivered through Don Allen Chevrolet
in Miami, Florida. Frank Burrell then drove the car to Sebring for modification into race configuration. This car appears
to be the only factory production 1956 Corvette to participate in the race. The other cars utilized 1955 frames with prototype
or production bodies.
The car was modified with a number of RPO options which included: 37 ½ gallon fuel tank with
special quick fill; shortened steering column; heavy duty front and rear springs; 3/4" front sway bar; special shocks with
Houdaille dampers on the rear; Halibrand magnesium quick change wheels; Firestone Super Sports 170 tires in 670 15 and 710
15 sizes; Bendix cerametallic brake lining and finned drums; Lyeth Engineering limited slip differential; and an enlarged
rear wheel house. Also unique to the car are the special air intake scoops for the rear brakes, the early metal “elephant
ear” scoops, plexiglass windscreen, and passenger side canopy cover.
PICTURES: 1956 Corvette Sebring Racers
1956 Sebring 12hr Race Results