1956 Corvette History, Features and Specifications

Today on the Vette Vues blog, we are looking at the 1956 Corvette’s history, features, specifications, and some great Corvette photos.

Just three years after its introduction, Corvette was under attack from within as Chevrolet and GM management considered disappointing sales. But it was under the protection of three very powerful advocates: Harley Earl, Chevrolet President Ed Cole, and engineer Zora Arkus Duntov. Earl, Cole, and Duntov were determined to establish Corvette as America’s premier sports car. But, critics said that the Corvette’s styling was already aging.

The 1956 Corvette represented the first major redesign of the original body style. The new sports car, the 1956 Corvette, body received a new redesigned with the cove inserts and smoother exterior lines. This first-generation Corvette now offered buyers outside door handles, roll-up windows in place of the rudimentary side curtains, and adjustable passenger seating. Options expanded to include power steering and a removable auxiliary hardtop that was virtually waterproof.

The total Production was 3,467 convertibles.

VIN: E54S001001 – E54S004640

1956 CorvetteFeatures:

  • New floor-mounted, close-ration “stick” shift provides the split-second up- and down-shifting gear control demanded by the pros.
  • New high-compression cylinder heads on Corvette’s 225 hp Turbo-fire special V8 engine up compression ratio to 9.25:1.
  • Eight-jet carburetion for takeoffs and additional horsepower is offered by Corvette’s new dual 4-barrel carburetors.
  • New styling matches Corvette’s advancements in performance.  Immediately apparent arc the new graceful fender lines, new side panel, and hood treatment.
  • Convenient roll-up regulators quickly raise and lower new windows.  Power window lifts available at extra cost.
  • Corvette convertible now offers a power-operated top as standard equipment and makes available a plastic all-weather hardtop at extra cost.

1956 Corvette Specifications

1956 Corvette Engine:

Horsepower in the base V-8 engine introduced the 1955 Corvette was boosted from 195 HP at 5,000 RPM to 210 at 5,600 RPM, with a corresponding rise in peak torque from 260 lb-ft to 270.

Valve-in-head design, 265-cubic inch displacement, 3.75: bore x 3.0″ stroke, 225 hp at 4200 rpm, Torque 270 foot-pounds at 3600 rpm.  Special high-lift camshaft, high-speed valve system with mechanical lifters.  Deep-ribbed cast aluminum rocker covers.  12-volt electrical system.

1956 Corvette Transmissions:

Transmission: 3-speed manual (standard) or 2-speed Powerglide (optional)

Choice of special high-performance 3-speed close-ratio Synchro-Mesh (2.2:1 low and reverse, 1.31:1 second, 1:1 high) with high-capacity 10-inch coil-spring clutch, or optional Powerglide special automatic transmission with floor-mounted range selector.  Rear-axle 3.55:1 ratio standard, 3.27:1 ratio optional with a 3-speed transmission.

1956 Corvette Colors:

Onyx Black with Red interior and Black or White top; Venetian Red with Red interior and Beige or White top; Cascade Green with Beige interior and Beige or White top; Aztec Copper with Beige interior and Beige or White top; Arctic Blue with Beige or Red interior and Beige or White top; Polo White with Red interior and White or Black top.

In addition to solid colors, the indented side panels are available painted to contrast or harmonize with over-all body color as follows:

BODY                     INDENT

  • Black                    Silver
  • Copper                 Beige
  • Green                   Dark Green
  • Blue                      Dark Blue
  • Red                       Beige
  • White                   Silver

Interior colors

Red, Beige, Beige-Red

1956 Corvette Options

RPO#DESCRIPTIONQUANTITY$ RETAIL
2934Base Corvette Convertible3,4673,120.00
101Heatern/a123.65
102AM Radio, Signal Seeking2,717198.90
107Parking Brake Alarm2,6855.40
108Courtesy Lights2,7758.65
109Windshield Washers2,81511.85
2906.70×15 Whitewall Tiresn/a32.30
313Powerglide Automatic Transmissionn/a188.50
419Auxiliary Hardtop2,076215.20
426Power Windows54764.60
440Two-Tone Exterior Paint1,25919.40
449Special High-Lift Camshaft111188.30
469265ci, 225hp Engine (2×4 carburetor)3,080172.20
471Rear Axle, 3.27:1 Ration/a0.00
473Power Operated Folding Top2,682107.60

1956 Corvette Trivia

  • The 1955 Corvette finally achieved “true” sports car status with the introduction of 265 cubic inches, 195 hp V-8 engine, and the 3-speed manual transmission.
  • There are 13 vertical bars or “teeth” in the grill of the 1956 Corvettes.
  • How to tell the difference between a 1956 Corvette and the 1957? One of the few ways to distinguish between a 1956 and 1957 Corvette (without opening the hood) is to look at the inside rearview mirror. On the 1956 model, it adjusts with a thumbscrew, and on the 1957 Corvette adjustment requires a wrench to loosen the locknut.
  • A rare option was the special high-lift camshaft which provided an (unofficial) output of 240 hp!

1956 Corvette Photos

Corvette was celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2003. Our photos are from the Bloomington Gold – 2003 Gold Year special display.

1956 Cascade Green Corvette with the 225 hp, dual fur barrel carbureted 265 ci V-8.  The Cascade Green was the least chosen color that year, with only 290 made.
1956 Cascade Green Corvette with the 225 hp, dual fur barrel carbureted 265 ci V-8. The Cascade Green was the least chosen color that year, with only 290 made.
This 1956 Red/Beige Corvette is equipped with RPO# 449 which is the option code for a Special High Lift Camshaft and RPO# 469 which is the option code for Dual Four-Barrel Carburetors.
This 1956 Red/Beige Corvette is equipped with RPO# 449 which is the option code for a Special High Lift Camshaft and RPO# 469 which is the option code for Dual Four-Barrel Carburetors.
This 1956 Corvette includes an optional hardtop, heater, courtesy lights, 3-speed transmission, dual four-barrel carburetors, and is numbers matching.  It is Cascade Green with the 265 ci/225 hp engine.
This 1956 Corvette includes an optional hardtop, heater, courtesy lights, 3-speed transmission, dual four-barrel carburetors, and is numbers matching. It is Cascade Green with the 265 ci/225 hp engine.
Our Red and White 1956 Corvette has the AM Wonder Bar radio option ($198.90) and a heater ($123.65).  The standard red and white model came with a red interior and a 3-speed transmission.
Our Red and White 1956 Corvette has the AM Wonder Bar radio option ($198.90) and a heater ($123.65). The standard red and white model came with a red interior and a 3-speed transmission.
The Arctic Blue was chosen 390 times on the 1956 Corvette.
The Arctic Blue was chosen 390 times on the 1956 Corvette.
The 1956 Corvette was a transition year beginning with a new body style, more optional equipment including a 3-speed manual transmission, and an additional hardtop.  The 1956 Corvette is Aztec Copper.  There were 402 Aztec Copper Corvettes produced in 1956.
The 1956 Corvette was a transition year beginning with a new body style, more optional equipment including a 3-speed manual transmission, and an additional hardtop. The 1956 Corvette is Aztec Copper. There were 402 Aztec Copper Corvettes produced in 1956.
This Onyx Black 1956 Corvette was used as a daily and drag raced on the weekend until 1970.  After sitting for 30 years,  it received a ground-up restoration starting in 2001 and was finished in 2003.
This Onyx Black 1956 Corvette was used as a daily and drag raced on the weekend until 1970. After sitting for 30 years, it received a ground-up restoration starting in 2001 and was finished in 2003.

Here are some other articles relating to the 1956 Corvette


We are always adding to our blog and updating our past articles. Check out our Recent Blog Posts


Vette Vues Magazine has been in continuous monthly print publication since 1972.

Each issue is jammed packed with Corvette information covering C1 to C8. Each monthly issue has features, reviews, tips, restorations, clubs, events, racing, auction results, model cars, classifieds, products, services, and more. Enjoy the latest Corvette news, as well as some great historical facts.

Also as a bonus, subscribers get a free classified ad every month for your Corvette Parts for Sale, Corvette Literature, Corvette Models, and Corvettes for Sale!


Share with your family and friends…