Corvette sales for the 1955 model led many to question whether the Corvette would fail in the 1956 model or not. The 1956 Corvette came out fighting for its life with a barrage of new features that truly made it a sports car and breathed life into the Corvette from that point on.
Harley Earl approached General Motors management with his new Corvette model and that design was approved on the spot. The 1956 Corvette featured a new body style with the now famous bodyside “coves” ordered in chrome or painted a different color than the rest of the car, which gave the 1956 Corvette a newer sportier look and stance.
The 1956 Corvette also had an improved convertible top with power assist optional, real glass roll up or optional power assisted windows, passenger seats that moved fore and aft, factory-installed removable hardtops are offered for the first time, the exterior got exposed headlamps, seatbelts were a dealer-installed option, and simulated knock-off type wheel covers.
No more “Blue Flame Six” engine as the standard engine became the 265 cubic inch V8 with 210 horsepower with an optional 240 horsepower V8 engine.
The 240 Horse engine was quite a package back then as it had polished aluminum rocker covers, the dual four-barrel carburetion, aluminum racing-type air cleaners, special intake manifold, a full pressure lubrication system with full-flow oil filter, high power exhaust headers and dual exhaust system, shielded ignition, 12-volt electrical system, and the engine was precision balanced after assembly.
The transmission choices were a special high-performance 3-speed close-ratio Synchro Mesh or the optional Powerglide special automatic transmission
The sales on the 1956 Corvette increased to 3,467 and Chevrolet was back in the business of producing “America’s Sports Car,” the Corvette.