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VIN VE55S001500

Car Year: 1955
Car's approximate birthday: August 5, 1955
Owner: Zora Duntov's Experimental 1955 Corvette
City: La Grange
State: Illinois
Country: United States
Purchase date: Undefined
Status: Current Owner
Nickname: VE55S001500
State: Restored
Exterior: Harvest Gold (17.14%)
Interior: Yellow (17.14%)
Softtop: Dark Green
Wheels: Yellow (17.14%)
Delivery Dealer Zone: Unknown
Delivery Dealer Code: Unknown
Options: RPO Option Percentage
Sold [%]
Sales Price
  02934-8 Base Corvette Convertible, V8 265ci 195hp (1x4 195hp) 99.00% 2,909.00
  100 Directional Signals   16.75
  101 Heater   91.40
  102A AM Radio   145.15
  290B Whitewall Tires 6.70x15   26.90
  420A Parking Brake Alarm   5.65
  421A Courtesy Lights   4.05
  422A Windshield Washers   11.85
  Total   0.0000%
(1 Cars)
Factory job nr.: Unknown
Export Car: Non Export Car
Car history:
Posted 04/02/2020

Seen at:

Pics 1-12

Seen at:

Provided the following story:

1955 Duntov Corvette

Dateline 11.24.15: There were only 700 Corvettes built in 1955, so that places
1953s production run of 300 units at number one in rarity and bumps 1955 to
second place. For a 21st Century Corvette collector buying a rare vintage
Corvette can cost a bunch of money, but if one had a time machine that would
make it a completely different story. With a time machine a fellow could go
back to the April 1965 issue of Hot Rod magazine and snag Zora Arkus-
Duntovs 1955 Corvette test mule for $3,500 or best offer.

The guy advertising Duntovs 1955 Corvette in the back pages of Hot Rod was
named Chuck Schank and was Zora Duntovs neighbor living at 1411 Cossitt
Avenue in La Grange, Illinois. Its been recounted, Chuck had admired Duntovs
1955 for some time, so in 1962 when Duntov offered Chuck the Vette he bought it.
Guessing by the wording in Chucks 1965 Hot Rod ad, he had invested an additional
$3,500 into the car restoring it.

Perhaps at this point it should be mentioned I stumbled onto Chuck Schank's
1965 Hot Rod ad early this morning while researching for another story.
Curiosity got the best of me, so I switched to researching this car. One thing
leads to another when one starts to dig up historical facts and oftentimes a
piece of the puzzle comes from out of nowhere. Researching this story as I
wrote, I remembered a Harvest Gold 1955 Corvette I photographed while at
the 2014 Mecum Anaheim auction.

Then my mind really started racing and I began to wonder if it was not the
same car. Lot S130 the Mecum 1955 Vette VIN reads VE55S001500. The
search ended when I could not find records of the VIN on Duntovs 1955.
Further research said Duntovs car never had a VIN number assigned to it
because it was a factory experimental. Interesting to note the Mecum 1955 is
one of approximately 75 V-8 Corvettes that were built at the end of the 1955
production run with a 3-speed manual transmission. The chassis on the Duntov
1955 is a pre-production 1956. A description of this car goes something like
the lyrics to Johnny Cash's song One Piece at a Time. The body was a 1955,
the frame a 1956 and the engine was a pre-production fuel-injected 1957 283
getting R&D miles well ahead of the year 1957.

The information RM Auctions presented in December 2007 when the Duntov
1955 crossed the block at $134,750 said Chuck kept the car until 1968. If
factual, that means at $3,500 or best offer the car did not move.

Fascinatingly the 1955 Duntov experimental Corvette was registered in Zora's
wife Elfi Duntov's name, and by all accounts Elfi drove the car far more often
than Zora. Notice in the photos of Elfi with the 1955, the car is Harvest Gold
and also shown in silver with a black competition stripe the custom paint job
was done at Chevrolet.

A letter written on June 5, 1973 by Zora Duntov confirmed Chuck did not sell
the 1955 until 1968. That was to Mike Casey who repainted it pearl white and
drag raced it until 1972. In 1972 the car went to James Dalesandro who
contacted Duntov to establish the cars provenance. In a letter Duntov wrote,
Yes, I was the original owner of your car. At the time it had a 283ci FI engine
equipped with ram-horn exhaust manifold. The car had a 4-speed transmission,
and the rear axle was 3.7 or 4.11. The exterior color was silver, but the interior
color, I do not remember. It may have been yellow. It was a pretty car. Your
car is not the 1955 Corvette used at the Arizona Proving Grounds that went
slightly over 160 mph. The car I used in Arizona had a 3-speed transmission.
The above is the extent of the information I have on your car. Shortly after
Dalesandro restored the car back to its original Harvest Gold paint with a
metallic green interior.

Barnaby Brokaw of Omaha, Nebraska, bought the car around 1978. It only had
39,795 miles on it at the time, and it was featured in the pioneer Corvette
magazine, Keepin Track of Vettes. After two more owners, Al Wiseman added it
to his huge collection in the late 1990s. It was displayed at Bloomington Gold
in 1999 in The Roar to Zora Field of Dreams display and also at the Amelia
Island Concours d'Elegance in 2005.

After the 2007 RM auction the trail goes cold on the whereabouts of the Duntov
experimental 1955 Corvette with no further information to be found.
For Sale: No

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