1955 Chevrolet Corvette - An Enduring Classic

This Flawless Example Of The First V-8 Corvette Is...

Richard Prince Mar 1, 2001 0 Comment(s)

Besides the giant leap forward in performance offered by the new V-8, '55 Vettes were also improved in a number of other ways. Reliability was increased by the change to a 12-volt electrical system. Body fit and finish continued to improve as it had throughout the previous year. And though installed in extremely limited numbers, a three-speed manual transmission was made available late in the model year. As in 1954, a number of exterior body colors were offered in 1955. In addition to Polo White, which was the only available hue in 1953, and by far the most common color in 1954, buyers of '55 Corvettes could opt for one of several different and vibrant colors. Up until April 1, when it was discontinued, Pennant Blue could be specified. After that date, buyers could order Corvette Copper, Gypsy Red, or Harvest Gold. Wheels were painted to match the exterior color with the exception of some Pennant Blue cars, which came through with Sportsman Red wheels. Convertible top color changed according to the exterior color, and top material changed somewhat haphazardly, with canvas being the only available material until around April, and both canvas and vinyl utilized thereafter. In general, Polo White cars got either beige canvas or white vinyl tops. Pennant Blue cars got beige canvas while Corvette Copper exteriors were paired with white vinyl. Harvest Gold was teamed with green canvas or green vinyl and Gypsy Red got beige canvas, white vinyl, or beige vinyl. Interior colors were only slightly less complicated. As in 1953 and 1954, Polo White was always paired with red. The other exteriors available in 1955 got a mixture of interior shades. Pennant Blue and Corvette Copper were fitted with dark beige, Gypsy Red with light beige, and Harvest Gold with a combination of yellow and green.

While some consider Polo White with a red interior the classic combination for the '53-55 Corvettes, many people are attracted to the beautiful colors then available. Harvest Gold in particular seems to really symbolize the time period and that, combined with its brilliant radiance, makes original Harvest Gold '55s highly sought after by collectors. The color of this car is precisely what induced owners Rene and Rob Tringali to purchase it. They first saw a '55 wearing this vibrant hue back in 1984 and missed buying that car by the smallest of margins. Over the ensuing years they remained on the lookout for another one, convinced that one day the right car would present itself. Rob stepped up the search a few years ago with the hope of finding a suitable car in time to present it to his wife as a gift for a big birthday that was approaching (we won't tell you which big birthday!). In 1997, the long hunt came to fruition when a disassembled but extremely original and complete Harvest Gold V-8 '55 was located in Massachusetts. According to Rob, it had been apart and in storage for over 30 years, but it was a genuine Harvest Gold car and all of the difficult-to-find, one-year only parts, including the ignition shielding, coil, and coolant shut-off valve, were still in it.

Rob is in the late-model collision repair business and does not do restoration work for others. However, he is no stranger to the art form and has restored quite a few award-winning Corvettes over the years. With the exception of spraying the exterior paint, which was done by son Rob Jr., Rob Sr. did all of the restoration work himself. He repaired bumps and bruises all around the car's body, rebuilt the engine and mechanicals, restored the chassis, refurbished the interior and did everything else necessary to transform his wife's birthday present from a state of disarray into what ranks as one of the finest restored '55 Corvettes in existence.


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