1956 Corvette Pulled From Missouri Basement

5-1956-corvette-front-view-rare-find

There have been been some pretty cool barn finds being discovered lately. Our buddies over at Hot Rod recently featured one of those amazing finds. Longtime writer Jerry Heasley wrote about this 1956 Corvette story in April, 2016, and it’s a good one.

1-1956-corvette-duntov-cam-rare

Apparently, only 111 Corvettes were ordered with option code 469, which was the 2×4 barrel carburetors on the standard 265 cid engine, and code 449, the Duntov special high-lift cam that raised output to 240 horsepower. This complete and original Vette was hidden away in Jennings, Missouri, in the basement of the original owner.

2-1956-corvette-engine-bay

Original owner Harold Pohlmann ordered and this ’56 Corvette from Paul Luehrs’ Chevrolet in Mascoutah, Illinois. “He kept a record of every gas purchase from the time he bought the car new until the day he stored it in his basement garage in 1983 and never drove the car again,” according to new owner Bob Kunz.

6-1956-corvette-interior

Pohlmann did not order a radio, and thus the block-off plate. The four-speed is not correct but Kunz has the linkage for the original three-speed.

10-1956-corvette-notarized-invoice

Tragically, Pohlmann, in his 80s, suffered a terrible beating during a home robbery of his gun collection. “In order to take care of him in a nursing home, they had to sell everything he had.”

11-1956-corvette-order-form

Kunz, who is himself well known as a carburetor rebuilder, had to buy the entire estate, including Mr. Pohlmann’s house and an unfinished Crosley dragster in order to get the Corvette he really wanted.

8-1956-corvette-duntov-rare-find-rear

Kunz wanted a driver, and this virtually original car was just what he needed. Kunz changed the oil, adjusted the tappets, and pulled the carbs to completely rebuild them. Otherwise, he left the engine as is to preserve the original, numbers-matching 265. The new owner cleaned the interior and exterior of the car, and now drives it regularly.

13-1956-corvette-rare-find-trunk

When pulled from the basement, the car had about 41,000 miles on it. No one really knows why Mr. Pohlmann stored the car in 1983. He had replaced the original three speed tranny and the differential in 1962. The original differential is gone, but the original transmission and linkage came with the car.

1956-corvette-spare-tireOriginal spare!

Apparently, Pohlmann was an enthusiast of Duntov’s racing activities. Kunz found “all the times for Duntov and (John) Fitch and whoever drove these cars at Daytona and Sebring.”

14-1956-corvette-original-woodern-spare-tire-cover
Original spare tire cover too!

What an incredible find! Even if this car was just a plain ’56 Vette, it would have been special.  But to have the rare high performance options and full documentation really puts this find over the top. All of us dream of finding such an amazing old car hidden away and forgotten. Except for the terrible circumstances that made this car available to Bob Kunz in the first place, this is as close to a perfect car as you can get, if you are a true fan of barn find stories. We know the new owner is enjoying this car, and can only hope its original owner is doing okay, despite what happened to him.

WANT ADS

WANTED 1959-1961 (and) GM Cars Cad,Chevy,Corvair,Pontiac,Olds,Buick Wanted parts/donor car. I need a “Cantilever”,”Flying Wing”;”flattop” roof assembly. Contact

WANTED 70 to 73 Dodge cuda or challenger looking for a driver , small fixer upper if required Contact

WANTED 1970-1972 Honda N600 or Z600 Rough cars that need restoring or for parts Contact

WANTED Caterpillar Any Wanted Caterpillar , in any condition running or non running for restoration project parts machine Contact

WANTED 1972 Yamaha G7S (80cc) These are now referred to as “cafe racers”, although we never heard of such a term in 1972. Contact

Submit Your Want Ad

Comments

  1. St. Ramone de V8

    Wow! That’s an amazing car, and a great, but tragic story. Should be in a museum. Great find.

  2. J Lemay

    Wow. What a story. Punks need to go away forever for doing a home invasion.

  3. AMCSTEVE

    Where is the rest of the story? Did the perp go to jail? Is the original owner still alive? Where’s the car now?

    • Bob Kunz

      Perp commited suicide before going to jail. Owner passed away last year after being in a nursing home since Dec 2010. Never regained his senses, I still own the car today. Thank you for your interesT.

      Like 1
  4. Mr. TKD

    The owner’s story is tragic, but I’m happy to hear that this Vette is being driven. I hate to see cars just sit. What good is a car if you can’t drive it?

    • Bob Kunz

      Thank you for your interest in the little car. I like to say that you can’t drive a CD.

  5. JoeW

    I think this is my favorite Vette ever!

  6. Roselandpete

    Amazing.

  7. Barzini

    Buying the entire estate – including the house – to get the car shows how much he wanted the Corvette. Sometimes I won’t go look at a car if the drive is a little too far or the weather is poor. So there’s a lesson here for me.

    Great post.

    Like 1
  8. scot carr

    ~ Jennings, Mo. How far is that from the original Corvette assembly plant?
    Answer – a few city blocks.
    How far from infamous Ferguson? Jennings and Ferguson share a border.

    • Bob Kunz

      I Googled the distances. From 2451 Hord Ave in Jennings to Muscoutah IL is 37.5 miles The Corvette plant at Natural Bride and Union was 5.3 Miles. It spent most of it’s life just a little over 5 miles from where it was built. It will have it’s 60th birthday on June 11. (Delivery date on paperwork ) I plan on taking more pics in front of the dealership building then. It’s a church now.

      Like 1
      • DAVE johnson

        Great story Bob , you forget to tell about haveing it @ Butch s Bash +++++++++++ wish I would have got a pic of that car @ his house ! Thanks for the story . Dave J.

  9. Alan (Michigan )

    This any day of the week over the 4 mile anniversary car. No comparison whatsoever regarding the desirability.

    Love this car. The current owner sounds like someone I’d like to know. Both owners have my respect and admiration.

    Like 1
  10. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    I’m not worthy……why did the guy that bought the whole estate put it up for sale ?

    • Bob Kunz

      When I went to pay for the cars, yhey handed me all of the paperwork for both cars. I did not know at the time about any history. I thought that I could do a lot of things to the car. I knew then that I could only leave it as is. I have been trying to find someone that would be able to afford to leave it as is. I sold the house to the next door neighbors. They have rehabbed it. The Crosley is being built by a young fella around Kansas City. As much as I enjoy the car, it will eventually find another good home. I have been actively researching the 240 hp cars out there, and finding out just how rare these cars are.

      • David Wilk Member

        Bob – Thanks for writing here. I think it’s great that you have kept this car in its original state. Might the Corvette museum or some other museum be interested in it? It’s a beautiful and historic car. A sad story goes with it for sure. I think most of us who love cars hope your Corvette will remain as original as possible, and yet still be driven and enjoyed.

        Like 1
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      I see no reference to him (new owner) selling the Vette in the BF article or the Hot Rod article.

      Great story.

  11. Kevin Member

    A home invasion brought this car to light? What a horrible tragedy. I am glad that Someone with the same passion for the car took over ownership and I hope it will be well cared for. I hope the story lives on with car also to pay respect to the original owner who obviously had great taste. I think I read this is for sale? If so may I ask an asking price? I’m certian it’s out of my range but I won’t know if I don’t ask.

    Thanks and good luck.

    • Bob Kunz

      Kevin, thank you for your interest in the little car. We are trying to determine a value.

  12. Rocco

    VERY good story. I always admired the old V8 Vettes, and then to hear about this one being a 240HP factory car is just amazing.
    I’m like JoeW above. I think this is my favorite Vette ever.

    • Bob Kunz

      Thank you for your interest in the little car.

  13. Alan Brase

    Did this car have the ram’s horn exhaust manifolds from new? I was under the impression they were a 1957 innovation. Or was that also a feature of the 240hp engine? Me, I’d keep the 4 speed in the car and the 3 speed on the shelf. I have a 250 hp 283 1960 Corvette with 4 speed. For 37 years, today.
    Al

  14. Bob Kunz

    56 Corvettes all had the Ram Horn exhaust manifolds. The first design had a 2 bolt flange. The second design like mine are a 3 bolt. Thank you for your interest in the little car.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.