The year 1955 had a number of firsts for Chevrolet. Externally, the '55 Corvette was nearly indistinguishable from the '54, apart from the ever-prevalent gold-embossed "V" in the Chevrolet logo identifying the car as a V-8-equipped vehicle, but design changes were kept to a minimum. Extended exhaust-pipe extensions out of the rear fascia were incorporated, as well as minor changes to the external trim and color combinations. The '55 introduced a handful of new colors to the Corvette market, which was still dominated with orders for Polo White. Records at the time showed that only 625 Corvettes were sold with the venerable V-8, as the initial six-cylinder inline was slowly tapering out as the engine of choice.
Paul Catinella of Gwyned, Pennsylvania, took great care in selecting this '55, given that he had dreamed of owning one since the days of the Beach Boys, Route 66, and the fledgling years of rock 'n' roll. It's documented that nearly 275 '55s are left in the market, and Paul's Corvette sports No. 514 on the tag. The car was a gift for the previous owner's 50th birthday some time back, but sat unused for most of the time. The owner's wife listed the Corvette roadster in Hemmings where Paul found it. Upon purchase, he had the car appraised, verifying its value and justifying the price.
Paul had the drop-top's engine, transmission, and gauge and instrument cluster restored to factory-quality specs. All the work on the little Corvette was outsourced, as Paul wanted it to be handled by professional restorers. From New York to Utah, then to Texas and back to Pennsylvania, the car began to slowly return to its glamorous state. The cost and toil of shipping the vehicle or bringing in the parts for assembly, Paul proudly admits, was well worth the effort. He tries to drive and enjoy the Corvette as much as possible. Enthralled by its endless supply of torquey power and quick reflexes, Paul's face is permanently transfixed into a giant grin as he sits behind the wheel.
He boasts of his little hot rod, as it always runs great and takes top prizes at local shows around Pennsylvania. In 2002, it was featured at the Evolution display in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The '55 received a Top Flight from NCRS, and is scheduled to be featured at Corvettes at Carlisle and Bloomington Gold displays this year for the 50th celebration of the '55 Corvette. Paul's car collection features several masterpieces of American muscle and racing; but, when it's all said and done, he'd rather open up the garage door and cruise this infamous two-seater down the two-lane.