Forget Rule #1: 1956 Chevrolet Corvette

1956 Chevrolet Corvette

The number one rule that my father taught me about car buying was to never buy anything with a bent frame. He did it once and even though “professional” tools were used to fix the frame, that thing was never quite right. Well, it looks like someone is in for treat with this 1956 Corvette then. It suffered a front end collision back in the seventies and was stuck in a barn in anticipation of a restoration. That never happened and the owner ended up passing away recently so now it’s now back on the market. I can understand why people would want to save such a special car, but I would also expect anything with a bent frame and no engine to go cheap. So, it should be interesting to see what this Corvette ultimately sells for here on eBay. Any guesses of what it might go for?


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  1. Al Member

    questions as to VIN and year. No engine or trans. maybe a restomod too much missing or damaged to go original.

  2. Oldstuff 1941

    WoW…That is definitely a Big Project !… I’m inclined to agree with Al,…this would best be a restomod . The new technology being used at Frame shops makes this not so scary nowadays….Complete front caps are available from Eckler’s and others, with the front suspension upgrades also readily available from a few places.

    After buying, restoring and selling a few of these originals in a little better and complete condition that this one over the years, I learned that these were relatively simple cars to work on and build… This one would be a large undertaking, but I believe, would most likely be worth the time and money when finished.

  3. Anastos

    And everyone thought I was crazy bidding $800 on a completely in tact Cadillac with a funky 70s paint scheme that needed a bit of cosmetic love. This is already at $5k. Finishing it will not be a cheap date but you can certainly make it your own…

  4. Clay Bryant

    Been wrecked twice.58 on up front end on it now.

  5. Modifieddriver

    Let’s see here, a red car repainted green. Why someone would do that baffles my mind? Were Corvette VIN tags screwed to the car with Philips head screws? I don’t know the answer, but it would seem strange that it wouldn’t be riveted. Was this car an original ’56 with a later front clip? Or was it a ’58 with a ’56 VIN tag? Too much going on here that only a serious Corvette guru can sort out. To me, this car would be a good car for a body for another that was burned. I got involved with a VIN tag change on a ’65 GTO convert once. I learned a lesson the hard way.

    • dj

      Yep, it’s on there with screws. The VIN is stamped a few other places but without that little chrome tag, you’re in a mess.

  6. Barry T

    Not at any price no matter how low.

  7. JW

    The 50’s and 60’s Vettes are my favorites but I wouldn’t touch that pile of bolts. JMO !!!

  8. mike

    Junk it . What a waste of money

  9. jpvogl

    What a beauty. It would fit in nicely with the the inventory at Beverly Hills Motors. The defroster knob looks like it’s in pretty good shape, so at least there’s that.

  10. Art Fink

    Aside from the Stainless and a few restorable parts, there’s nothing much to salvage!!

  11. blindmarc

    Another one that will rot once the new buyer realizes how bad it really is.

  12. Randy Forbes

    Everything on it speaks 1958 (and later) to me; the remains of having quad hdlts, the taillights, but in particular__and the hardest to upgrade to__the instrument panel and how it sweeps down to the xmsn tunnel.

    That car IS A 1958 (or later)!

    Picture__linked__shows the instrument panel from 1956/1957:

  13. don

    the whole story sounds like a bunch of B/S ! buyer beware! nothing worth saving on this one!

  14. Dave at OldSchool

    it will blow through 10k

    Like 1
  15. JamestownMike

    Everything is savable but at what cost?? Ditch that outdated, rusty, bent frame and replace it with a brand new tubular/boxed frame with killer brakes and suspension! Looks like a 58, titled as a 58 but the vin makes NO SENSE!…….doesn’t seem to decode as a 56 OR 58!?! That vin seems really sketchy. Can ANYONE decode that vin?

  16. Mark E

    Can I just rant here? What is it with these people who smash their car up, and then hang onto the car but sell the drivetrain? Personally I’d either keep or sell the entire car but not part it out! >_<

    Ahem, where was I? Oh yes. You can (almost) always pull the frame straight but where are you gonna get replacement fiberglass body parts? And trim parts? And…need I go on?

    It would be a good start for a very ambitious custom restomod hot rod kind of thing but at the price it's currently at, it's too much for even that IMO…

  17. Tirefriar

    Just put an SBC in it and drive as is… ;-)

    • Rick

      Great idea, assuming you really like making right-hand turns.

  18. moosie Craig

    Junk, good for only a few parts,vin./title issues, 56-58 ? buy it and have the state confiscate it for vin./title issues when you go to register or title it, not even a ’58, no trunk spears. It needs to be put to rest (finally) Its a shame. :-(

  19. Chip H.

    Title questionable and has obviously been used extensively as a parts car, every square inch needs major work, no engine or transmission, yeah, I think I’ll pass on this one. I’m sure some nut with more money than brains will bid way too much for it, tho.

  20. John

    It IS a 58. . . so that title and late speak huge complications to me . . . Smells bad. Kudos to the seller for posting great pics. The frame isn’t that scary, as those are around from restomod conversions. It is all the REST of the stuff that isn’t there that is scary . . .. $$$$

  21. jeff6599

    Certainly it is not a 1956 body due to missing fender top scoops and quad headlamp fender. 1958 is unlikely as well due to the wrong deck lid. But one could contact Macomb, Illinois to see what car that window tax sticker is registered to and to whom.

  22. bowtiecarguy

    Body style is the 58-62. This is a 1958 Corvette
    Key to identification of year is trunk lid and instruments since the hood is missing.
    Waffle hood and chrome trunk straps were only present on the 1958 models and generally hated. Look at the open trunk photo and the 8 mounting holes are visible even though the straps have been removed

    Tach and instruments are different in 58 than 59-62 and all the tachs were cable driven off the distributor. This tach is aftermarket likely because it was electronic after an engine swap. The four small gauges however are the 1958 style.

    I can’t make out all the letters and numbers of the VIN tag either. There is a data base of all the correct numbers for years of productions.

    My favorite picture is the side view of the bent steering wheel. You can almost hear the driver yelling HOLY SH*T!!! just before the crash

  23. bowtiecarguy


  24. bowtiecarguy


  25. bowtiecarguy

    Only 1958 had the little silver button in the middle of the small gauges

  26. Dolphin Member

    Once you buy a good frame, body, engine, transmission, suspension, interior, and miscellaneous other parts for it, then you’ve got something.

  27. JamestownMike

    I decoded the vin of E56S004160. According to my research, it appears to be a 1956 vin! There’s no V in front of the E which tells me it was born as a six cylinder car. Obviously the six cylinder was replaced with an eight cylinder by 1974 (or before) when the IL title was drawn up. E=Corvette 56=1956 S=St Louis, MO assembly plant 004160=Production sequence. Here’s the vin decode link

    • JamestownMike

      Here’s the other pic of title shown on the ebay listing. The 56 should be a 58. How does a 1956 vin end up on a 1958 car and get titled as a 1958??

    • Jack R

      First of all there is no letter in front of the year 56 or 58. Secondly 56’s had vin tag under hood on the steering column, not on the door jam. Screws would be correct for a 58. Thirdly, the entire body is a 58. LOOK AT THE DASH AND TAILIGHTS, all 1958. I suspect foul play perhaps 30 years ago and this is why it say hidden in a barn. That kind of damage 30 years ago was repaired with a new frame many times. t was a common place collision repair. Today it is a restoration. My verdict is the title and VIN do not match this car.

      • JamestownMike

        I disagree, do your research! In 1956, there’s a E in front of 56 (for a six cylinder Corvette)……..or a VE if it was a V8 Corvette. I agree, the car itself is a 1958. The 1956 vin obviously doesn’t belong to this 1958 car, so what good is the title?

      • gregmankin

        “Secondly 56’s had vin tag under hood on the steering column, not on the door jam. Screws would be correct for a 58.”

        This is exactly backward. The VIN tag on a 56 is on the door jamb attached with screws.

  28. gregmankin

    As the owner of a 56 for the last 45 years, let me state that this is not a 56. It is most probably a 58. ALL VIN’s for 56 begin VE56S (All 56 were V8, this is body code E, 1956 model built at St Louis Assy) followed by six digits. During the 56 production year the serial numbers began at 001001, the ONLY C1 year where this is the case. All other C1 model years, car #1 would be 000001. There were 3467 56 Corvettes produced. Again, if the 56 VIN listed is accurate, that VIN belongs to the 307th to last 56 built. Also, there is a comment about the ‘button’ seen in the center of the smaller gauges. This ‘button’ was also seen on all the small gauges on 53-57 Corvettes.

    • Jack R

      Randy is correct! Stay away from this vehicle!

    • JamestownMike

      I stand corrected, upon further research, it appears as if ALL 56 Corvettes were V8’s. 55 was the last year for the Blue Flame straight 6.

      • Clay Bryant

        Only sixteen 55 6 cylinder Corvettes.All other were 265s.

  29. Perfektommy

    What are you buying ? The body is shot . Red re done green . Front end wiped off maybe twice . Frame is bent . No drivetrain ???? !!!

  30. Perfektommy

    31 bids ?? !! WTF ?? !!

  31. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    think grandpa said if the “mane doesn’t match the tail “… like hell….

  32. Jack R

    I stand corrected Jamestown Mike – SORTA. There is an E which stands for Chevy Corvette. However, there is no EV for V8. 1956 Corvettes were ALL equipped with a V8 engine. I do know Tri-five passenger cars had a V for the first digit if equipped with a V8 engine. 1955 Corvettes were the last Corvettes to offer a 6 cylinder engine (only a handful were built with that option)

    • JamestownMike

      Jack R, please read my corrected post above. Posted Jul 17, 2015 at 6:22am.

  33. Shilo

    That frame is really bent. It took a really hard hit.

  34. JACK R

    I bought a new ’58 frame 4 years ago for $5K

  35. JamestownMike

    SOLD on ebay for $7,650 with 46 bids.

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