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News: Rare and Original 1955 Corvette

by Rob Loszewski
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With only 700 cars built, 1955 might well have been the last Corvette made. However, arch rival Ford’s Thunderbird caused Chevy to keep the Corvette alive and the rest is history.

by Ron Cherry
Special to The Union
June 20, 2014

1955 Vettes are rare in and of themselves. Only 700 were made. Of those, the National Corvette Restorer’s Society (the gurus of collectable Vettes) has less than 100 registered as still in existence. Compared to the first-ever Vette, the 1953 ½, it’s a low survival rate since more than 200 of the 300 of those built have survived. In fact, when Roy Braatz took his ‘55 Vette to the National Corvette Restorers Society convention for the ‘55’s 50-year reunion in 2005, only eight of them showed up. And his took a treasured Top Flight award, which says a lot about Roy and his Vette.

To say that the NCRS is a tough judge of cars is like saying the 2015 Corvette Z06 will be fast: a gross understatement. Their Top Flight award is “to recognize cars that have been preserved or restored to the highest level of achievement.” And Roy’s ‘55 Vette over-qualifies. As a former NCRS judge for 1953 to 1957 Vettes, Roy should know what makes his special. He said it is, “100 percent original, including every screw, nut and bolt. It doesn’t have one reproduction part. I understand that if you’re restoring a car now, you can’t get anything but reproduction parts. But I wanted to stand back and say (about my Vette), ‘It’s the authentic car.’”

Since he bought the car in 1980 from the second owner, he has replaced any incorrect part with a New Old Standard, or NOS, part (original part sitting on the shelf at some Chevrolet dealer). Having been a Chevrolet mechanic for years, he used to get them wholesale and they were nothing special. When he replaced the grill, it cost him $35. Now you would pay in the thousands.

Full Story: News: Rare and Original 1955 Corvette

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