It’s a Bitsa! 1956 Corvette SR Tribute

Sometime in 1956 (accounts vary as to exactly when), between 4 and 8 (accounts vary) Corvettes were converted to “SR” specification, mainly for the purpose of racing them. The few that remain (and some clones, and at least one clone that has been passed off as legitimate) are extremely expensive. But let’s say you really want one — what to do? The creator of this car decided to begin with an original first-generation Corvette chassis and then add whatever they could to create their own SR! It’s listed for sale here on eBay and so far is up to a very reasonable $35,500 without a reserve. The car is located in Sunderland, Massachusetts.

I love clones and tribute cars as long as they are disclosed as such. Thankfully, the current seller explains what this car is from the beginning of the ad, and goes into great detail as to how the car was constructed. For example, the body that was mounted on the original first-generation Corvette frame and suspension is the combination of a reproduction front clip and doors, rear clip, main body platform, gas tank, and a top compartment from wrecked or parted-out cars. It was originally put together in its current form between 2004 and 2008 and has been assigned a state VIN number as a result.

You may be wondering what exactly makes an SR Corvette cool? The most obvious modifications visually are the rear brake scoops, side-exit exhaust, and auxiliary front lights. Other added items (we’re not clear if all these made it to this particular car) were heavy-duty suspension, finned brake drums, a shortened steering column, a fast steering adapter, and moving the tachometer to the steering column, auxiliary rear shocks, and rear axle stabilizers. The wheels on the featured car are Wheel Vintique 16X6 rally-style and while not original SR items, look very period and great on the car.

While parts of the interior are original or replica 1956 items, subtle upgrades abound, such as the five-speed manual transmission from a 1987 Camaro, the conversion of the tachometer to electric operation, and an aftermarket heater. It sure looks nice to me!

The engine is actually based on a 1964 283-cubic-inch V-8 that was rebuilt about 15 years ago. It has a 1957 intake manifold with two matched, rebuilt (not original Corvette) four-barrel carburetors and features correct Corvette throttle linkages. An aluminum radiator, an alternator, and ceramic-coated headers have been added for reliability and performance purposes. The seller notes that the engine leaks a bit of oil at the rear crank seal. If you want a vintage Corvette to drive, this looks like a great ticket to fun! How do you feel about clones, tribute cars, and bitsas? Let us know in the comments; I’m looking forward to the discourse!


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Considering this car was built from scratch I’d say it’s a good replication of a great car with high build quality. Creativity is a good thing regardless of the subject and most times produces things people can enjoy. I like this one.

    Like 21
    • bobhess bobhess Member

      Forgot. Is there a definition of a Bitsa for us uninformed folks who only speak one language?

      Like 8
      • Euromoto Member

        I understand it to mean assembled from “bits a this, and bits a that.”

        Like 13
    • Bob BROWN

      Well Done !!!

      Like 3
  2. gbvette62

    The problem with clones is not the builder/seller being honest about what the car is. The problem is what happens a few years later, after the car’s been through a few owners, and the story or history of it gets passed from person to person. Suddenly, what was once a clone, someone’s claiming “it may be real, I can’t really say for sure”, or something similar. I don’t think that will ever be a problem with this car though, as there was a lot more to the SR1’s and 2’s, other than a brake cooling scoop for the rear brakes.

    It’s a good looking 56, and it would make a nice little toy to tool around in. If it were mine, I think I would have to pop a set of American Racing “Salt Flat Special” wheels on it, or some other wheel similar to the SR1’s original knock off Halibrand racing wheels.

    Like 6
    • bull

      It’s STILL NOT ILLEGAL to have money to buy goods/services AND BE STUPID yet in the USA.

      Remember “Caveat Emptor”???

      Let the Buyer Beware and quit worrying about other peoples stupidity!

      Like 4
    • Mike

      Maybe they should be forced to change the VIN, to reflect that it is now a fake. So there can be no misrepresentation.
      I mean, if a guy just wants to put MILADON valve covers on his car, that is easy to spot and fix. He is in no way trying to say that Arkus Duntov had them installed special at the GM Proving Grounds for a racing package. But when someone elects to make a complete makeover of a car so that it looks like a rare option, then, to me anyway, is creating a fake.

  3. Jeff

    From my reading of the auction, there is not one single piece on this car that is from, or accurately duplicates, any SR1 parts, other than perhaps the dual quad and the air scoops on the quarters (but I don’t know off hand what the originals looked like, so …).

    Ad says it is a standard C1 chassis (with none of the SR upgrades, some of which apparently could have been sourced from later Vettes), and a body cobbled together from multiple wrecks and repro parts. And a state issued VIN. So it does not even have 56 Vette tags. They may have it “registered” as a 56, but who knows what it really is, other than a miscellaneous parts basket?? If you were going to try to build a 56 SR1 tribute, why would you not begin with an ACTUAL 56 Corvette with ACTUAL 56 Corvette VIN and tags??

    Like 2
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Jeff, I’m guessing this is a case of they did what they could afford…and what they liked best about an SR. Note, the seller is not trying to pass it off as a real SR, just their own interpretation. It’s possible, considering the origins of the components, that they have returned parts to the road that would never have made it any other way.

      Like 9
  4. Euromoto Member

    So…I just had a good look at the eBay pictures. As I’ve noted before, my moniker suggests my preference for cars European but, here is yet another American hot rod that I can really get behind. I love the look of the tri-color white on black on red and those exhaust exits behind the doors are bad-ass. The drivetrain seems built right and backs up the claims of the cosmetics. Tribute? Maybe stretching the definition. Bitsa? Seems like it. “Parts basket” (as suggested by Jeff)? Undoubtedly. The bid at the time of my posting is 40K and change. I don’t see that it is a reserve auction. I’m sorely tempted to place a bid, but I’ll wait until tomorrow when the Martinis wear off.

    Like 5
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Bingo. Look at it as a hot rod or custom, and it starts to make more sense. Euromoto, I’m not sure the effect of the Martinis will wear off!

      Like 5
  5. Jerry Bramlett

    This is going to be a tough sell. Investors want a stock original, flippers want a Resto-Thingo, Sunday drivers want a completely-sorted car, and rebuilders want rare parts they can strip. But almost nobody wants a Corvette that wasn’t created by GM and now has a state-assigned VIN.

    The builder minimized his construction cost by creating a car from pieces. Unfortunately, that also minimized the resale value. I wish him luck… I think he’s going to need it.

    Like 1
  6. moosie moosie

    Rough crowd here today, The car is listed as to what it honestly is and yet some people find things to criticize about it. Not everyone wants a museum show piece to sit and admire in their own private little place. As far as price, I dont think its too far off considering the economy at present. If it were mine I’d much rather have a bit more motor under that hood, say like a 1970 style LT-1. Everything else is fine as is. I like it .

    Like 16
  7. Larry

    There appears to be a significant number of C1 and C2 chassis out there… probably from people resto-rodding their original cars with custom chassis. I suppose using the original body adds value but it’s still unfortunate to lose originality.

  8. danny mathers

    wow!!!!!!!! when i was young had lots of money and no sense I found a REAL BARN FIND 56 vette in Tottenham near orangeville in a barn covered in dead rats and maybe some other things dragged it home behind my 37 chev truck it was an old race car some research later no drive train there was 454 wickrd 4speed and smothers bros axles olds rear 514 gears .conclusion should have left itb there. Dannys toys

    Like 1
  9. chrlsful

    these R the 1st of the Itilianate rears (to match the frnts) but not the nice cove dash (pass/drivers sides), a nice ‘binical’ tho. Not much care bout the rest as its a C1 & lill to Dis – like. This & a later vette are the ones I enjoy… In some ways want the blueflame in any of them…

    Like 1
  10. Martinsane

    Nice looking rig.

    Does it seem counterintuitive to have the exhaust vent right in front of those brake cooling side vents?

    Like 2
  11. Hemistroker

    I applaud this person, he built a car to take him back to when he was a kid and probably saw 1 in Hot Rod or some other magazine, or maybe he actually saw 1 on a track and thought “when I get older I want one of those! “ maybe he built a model of it even. well now he did it and he is honest about the fact it’s not a numbers matching original but take that to a Saturday car show and there will be some little kid that goes “ that’s so cool, I want one just like it when I can drive. Isn’t that what we really want when we participate in this hobby/ addiction to take us back to a simpler time? This was a labor of love, he knew he would never recover the cost and time but did it because he finally could and that little kids smile was back every time he drove it

    Like 8
  12. Mike

    Quit calling these cars TRIBUTES! And quit changing these cars. They are FAKES. Plain and simple.

    Like 1
    • Blue

      Don’t you think any buyer of this car will know it is a clone, just as we all did? The only reason I would want the real thing is for investment, to tool down the road, this one will do.

      Like 1
  13. Blue

    Please help me understand the quest to find 60 year old cars in original condition? A 60 year old anvil is subject to metal fatigue! I would guess it is rarity. Let me tell you why I think some parts are so rare, in an otherwise pristine car:

    Let’s take the 1967 – 1978 Chevelet smog air pumps, we took them off and tossed them, along with the stupid stock exhausts, wheels, air cleaners, etc. Any parasitic part was trashed. I personally did so to three new high valued cars; a ’67 397/375 Chevelle, a 67 427/435 Vette, and a 68 L88 Vette. The first two were totalled, the last sold at a profit.

    Rereading the last sentence tells us the number we wrecked and sent to be crushed adds to rarety. If I were to buy one today I would expect it to have been modified, at least to the extent it would still pass dragstrip inspection. Which this one would.

    Like 2
  14. Blue

    I forgot to add this is excellent review! Thanks, and realize not many people could do what you did if they were standing by it, and you did it from a few poor quality photographs. That is amazing!!!!

    Like 2

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