Some classic Chevys are unique, and some are valuable. This fully restored, Matador Red, '56 Chevrolet 150, owned by Stillwater, Oklahoma Pontiac/GMC/Buick dealer Ron Shirley, is as unique as it is valuable.
In 1956, Chevrolet's thinly disguised "race package" was more commonly referred to as the "Business Coupe." These vehicles, which were the plain vanilla, alter ego to the Chevrolet "Police Package" cars, were available in the two-door post body style only. They featured radio and heater delete, rubber floor mats instead of carpeting, and an item known as a "package tray," which consisted of a piece of 3/8-inch fiberboard where the back seat was originally intended to be.
Of course, the big news was the engine options that could be had with these cars. You could have everything from a 202-cid straight-six (if you really did use the car for "business") all the way up to the powerful, 245hp, 265-cid "Corvette V-8 Engine Option," which came complete with a 650-cfm Carter AFB carburetor, dual oil-bath air cleaner, and dual exhaust-if you really meant business! Ron's 56, however, which was privately restored by a collector in Wisconsin, and then brokered through a close friend of Ron's who knew he was looking for one of these cars, is somewhat unique due to the fact that this '56 Business Coupe features a two-speed Powerglide transmission, rather than the more commonplace Muncie four-speed gearbox.
The '56 also came equipped with tinted glass. Evidently the original owner wanted to be comfortable while waiting in the staging lanes between rounds!
As far as the rest of the car, it's done as a textbook restoration. The underside of the '56, and its entire powertrain, including the 3.31:1-geared rearend, have been correctly restored, right down to the original chalk marks and production markings.
The underside of the body is painted in red zinc oxide primer, just like it was when it rolled off the assembly line. The car even has the correct BFGoodrich Silvertown bias-ply blackwall tires mounted on 15x7-inch, five-lug steel safety rims sporting a set of the ever-popular Chevy Bow-Tie "beenie" hubcaps. It's all there!
The '56's sheetmetal is smoother than a baby's...well, you know what, and is re-painted the correct shade of DuPont Matador Red. All N.O.S. body trim was used in the restoration. The '56's interior features non-descript black and white upholstery and door paneling, a 110-mph speedometer, and a standard issue, white, six-cylinder-style steering wheel. The trunk area is outfitted with the correct spare, jack, lug wrench, factory jacking instruction sticker, and a fresh new, black rubber floormat.
Ron's '56 is so technically correct that it scored 995 out of a possible 1,000 points at the 1999 Indianapolis Super Chevy Show. This is one classic Chevy shoebox any hardcore Tri-five collector would love to own. That is, if you can afford the price of admission. According to its owner, this baby is valued at over 40 grand, and we believe it!