The following is a story by RTP-Corvettes member Ralph Navarrete.
My wife Clara and I were on vacation in France in the fall of 2007 and, as we usually do, we walked all over the place to get a bit of exercise between tourist spots. Imagine our shock and surprise when in the late afternoon of September 12, 2007, among the thousands of Peugeots, Citroens, and Renaults all over Paris, we saw a classic C1 Corvette parked on a side street, in front of a high school and right across the street from the famous Luxembourg Gardens, in Paris’s “left bank.”
We had not yet been
bitten by the Corvette
bug in 2007 and,
being in a hurry, we
only took two photos.
The outside looked in
pretty good shape for
a 50-year-old car, but
the interior definitely
The odometer showed 08880 miles, but who knows how many times the odometer had gone around? It looked like something right out of the Route 66 TV show.
What year is it? At first glance, the car is obviously a 1953, 1954, or 1955 since there is no cove (scooped out area) on the side as in the 1956-62 C1s. But here is the dead giveaway, check out the link below.
“Optioned for an extra $135, all but six of the 1955 Corvettes built included this bigger, stronger [V8] engine. As an identifier that these new Corvettes contained the larger engine, an exaggerated gold “V” was overlaid on the existing “CheVrolet” logo on the lower front fenders.”
“…about 75 cars were built with Corvette’s first manual gearbox. This was a new close-ratio three-speed manual transmission which was shifted via a stubby chrome shifter rod capped by a small, white ball and surrounded by a boot that was clamped to the floor by a bright metal ring showing the shift pattern.” [The white ball is there, but the metal ring seems to be missing from the picture I took.]
If authentic, this 1955 C1 V8 with the rare manual transmission would be worth a fortune. Maybe an American teacher at the high school owns it now. It would be interesting to find out its provenance; perhaps a US serviceman took it with him to Europe on a deployment long ago and sold it locally.
Even today, classic American cars are highly sought after by car enthusiasts in Europe.
So if you feel you must find this car on your next trip to Paris, Rue de Vaugirard is the place to start.
Comments from the Editor in the Newsletter of the Corvette Club of Northern Delaware, where this article was first published in January 2015 follow:
The recent horrible events in the “City of Lights” remind us how fragile indeed are the freedoms we all too often take for granted. Ralph’s travelogue is a happy example of what Americans have in common with the citizens of Paris. “Je suis Charlie” (ed.)