Guide for the 1955 Corvette

Although vast improvements were made to its engine and speed, the 1955 Corvette still fell short of sales.
Written by Kaitlin May
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Jan 20, 2023
In comparison to its predecessors, the 1955 Corvette blew former models out of the water. With a “Turbo-Fire” engine outperforming the previous years’ “Blue Flame” engines by 40 hp, General Motors was sure their new prototype would live up to its initial hype.
With a smoother body, improved acceleration, and a stronger engine, the 1955 Corvette was stacked up to overshadow Ford’s Thunderbird. Despite concerted efforts, marked upgrades, and meticulous engineering, the 1955 Corvette still fell short of sales by an overwhelming margin.
Although the 1955 Corvette didn’t fly off the shelves at its launch, it signified a shift in momentum that contributed to the coveted Corvette models you see today.
If you want to get your hands on this classic collectible, the
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Ownership costs for a 1955 Corvette

The original price tag for a 1955 Corvette was $2,774, but the base model wasn’t the option most people were interested in. With the introduction of the V8 engine came perked ears and open wallets.
Sold as a separate item for $135, the -8 option packed in the power that the Corvette had promised from its unveiling. With the collectible appeal that the 1955 Corvette has today, you’ll be paying much higher prices to get one in your garage.
The cost will largely depend on the model’s condition. For example, a 1955 Corvette that’s in mint shape will tip the scales toward a much higher price, but this is how the average retail costs look today:
Type of retail
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Average retail
High retail

Where to buy a 1955 Corvette

Learning from past mistakes, General Motors produced just 700 of their 1955 Corvette models—only 674 of which were sold. Because of their rarity, you’ll have to lean on sites like
Classic Cars
to get behind the wheel of a 1955 Corvette.

What does the 1955 Corvette bring to the table?

After lackluster sales and a disappointing reception, the Corvette was on its way out to pasture—until the 1955 model induced its revival.
Fueled by a competitive fire to outsell Ford’s Thunderbird, General Motors pulled out all the stops to improve Corvette’s reputation. The secret sauce was in a new 265-CID small-block V8 that was primed to power Chevy’s passenger cars but ultimately became the “heart and soul” of the 1955 Corvette.
With an increased engine capacity of 265 cubic inches from 231 cubic inches, improved gas flow, and more efficient combustion, the 1955 Corvette was a vast improvement from the 1953 and 1954 models.
The V8 unit was lighter and more compact than previous models and included a short-stroke crankshaft which spiked the engine up to 6,000 rpm. The 1955 Corvette also pioneered the rocker arm, which improved the functionality of internal combustions, although it’s common to see in cars today.
Ultimately, the 1955 Corvette turned the model’s performance up enough notches to legitimize it in the eyes of customers. 

Strengths and weaknesses of the 1955 Corvette

No car is perfect, even if a classic Corvette looks that way from the outside. If you’re shopping for a 1955 Corvette, here’s what you need to know about its pros and cons.

The good: new-and-improved engine

From two-speed to three, the V8 was a game-changing upgrade for the 1955 Corvette that made every internal operation smoother. 
With “autothermic” aluminum akin to modern materials, hollow pushrods, and an intake manifold to distribute water, the 1955 model’s engine was ahead of its time—and lightyears ahead of previous Corvette versions.

The good: speed

One of the loudest criticisms of the dreamy sports car’s first iterations was their lack of speed, but the 1955 Corvette finally delivered. It was the first car to reach 150 mph at the Daytona Flying Mile Speed Trials. With a fortified bhp of 195, the 1955 Corvette went from 0 to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds—which was a considerable feat at the time.

The bad: drivability

​​Although engineers made good on their manufacturing promises for the 1955 Corvette, it still missed the mark when it came to drivability. The ride was smoother than the 1953 and 1954 versions, but there were still design flaws that made it tough to get behind for customers.
Without pinpointing a single cause, the consensus at the time was that something “still wasn’t right” about the Corvette

The bad: comfort

While the 1955 Corvette toed the line between a sports car and a personal car, it continued to be a cramped and clunky ride. The interior left a lot of space and comfort to be desired, which was a deterrent for sales.

The bottom line—which 1955 Corvette to buy

With older Corvette models, the pickings are slightly slimmer when it comes to purchasing options. Accessibility will be the greatest factor in which one you buy, but if you have your heart set on a certain trim level or color, those options could help guide your decision.
For the first time, the 1955 Corvette offered options beyond the standard model, including the 3.8 OHV I6 “Blue Flame” and 4.3 OHV V8 engine trim levels. If you opt for the innovative V8 engine, everyone will know it—it’ll be outfitted with a gold “V” on the “CheVrolet” logo.
Another new development was the introduction of more color options. These were some of the updated choices you may see on the market from the 1955 Corvette installment:
  • Harvest Gold with green trim and a dark green top
  • Metallic “Corvette Copper” with a dark beige interior
  • Gypsy Red with a white vinyl interior and red saddle stitching 
Whether you’re looking to restore an old classic or show off a Vette in pristine condition, it’s helpful to peek at classic car forums or discussion boards to help point you in the right direction.

How to save money on car insurance for the 1955 Corvette

Despite the inevitable higher rates for
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With Jerry’s insights and cost-saving tips, you can save an average of over $800 per year—which means you can focus your funds on keeping your 1955 Corvette in top shape.
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