1955-1957 Chevrolet Corvettes - Remember When...

Thoughts From The Automotive Past

Doug Marion Aug 29, 2009 0 Comment(s)
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Of the 700 Corvettes sold back in 1955, 693 were V8s. Dave & Fran Filson's 24,000-mile original is car No. 590. Some 25 years ago, they felt that only 200 '55 V8s remained. Their gem has its original Powerglide transmission and 3.55 gear ratio.

Forward by Alan Colvin
Back in the day, say 35-40 years ago, I lived my daily life mostly through the car mags...primarily through Super Chevy Magazine, which was then edited by Doug Marion. At that time, I was just a redneck Chevy guy in high school, but Doug Marion had seen and done it all and he talked about it in the pages of Super Chevy every month. My first car was a '57 Chevy, my second car was a '72 Monte Carlo Custom, and both were purchased and built because of Super Chevy project cars. I went to many Super Chevy events each year, including the giant one in Indianapolis, and I sold lots of parts at the swap meets. I even bought a current car I still own, a '71 GMC Sprint at the Super Chevy Indy event in 1984. Eventually Doug Marion and I met at a Super Chevy Limited convention in Dayton, Ohio, where my name was listed on the TOC as a Tech Expert. I think we also spoke to one another at SEMA one year. I also told my editor at Robert Bentley Publishers, John Kittredge, that Doug should be asked to proofread my Chevrolet by the Numbers books, which he later did.

Life is a funny thing. Here we are many years later...and I am the editor of a major magazine and now I have the opportunity to have Doug Marion, one of the most respected names in the Chevrolet hobby, write for this magazine. Doug was there at the beginning of the performance years and I have asked him to write some vintage Corvette stories for Corvette Fever. He must have a million of them-most of which should include historical facts and data-plus "how it was" back in the day. From drag racing and cruising the streets in the '60s, Doug was always paying attention to "hot setups" that guys built.

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The Filson's original 265 engine-rated at 195 horsepower is original-as are much of the engine compartment surroundings. There's nothing like seeing a real McCoy original, eh? Oh, if 'Vettes could only talk!

For example, Doug's Corvette days began 49 years ago on December 22, 1960, when his mom and dad bought their new silver '61, 270hp, four-speed, 4.11s. Doug got to drive it home-at age 16. He even remembers his first power-shift a month or so later, plus all of his early-on street races, plus his first run at the drags in mid-'61. Back then, Doug also did a ton of engine buildups as well as super-tuning too. He even drove many Vettes for owners who had no drag strip experience.

Well, I have said enough. I will now let Doug have the floor. Come on Doug...tell us like it was.

C1 Historics
A Quick Look Back At 1955 - 1957
Without question, the American automobile with the most storied performance history is Chevrolet's Corvette. Due to its ongoing, never-ending, 56-year evolution, today's street versions clearly surpass every 'Vette in the past-as well they should. But reading about Corvette's high performance history is something that should be ongoing. Ironically, because of all the year-by-year factory doings back then, it was easy to forget about all the original C1 owners' deeds and the fun of ownership they all had. Our C1 1955-1957 story is best told with photos and captions so buckle up and read on.




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