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Chevrolet Small Block V8 Power

1955 Chevrolet Corvette C1 Brochure Cover
A new focus for the Corvette arrived in the form of a thoroughly new V8 engine which would be known and loved as the "Chevy small block". More than what the Corvette needed, it was also a major milestone in automotive engines. The engineering was advanced and featured a compact design, overhead valves and low production costs. Whenever a list of the worlds most significant automobile engines is compiled, the Chevrolet small block is always included.

The 1955 brochure was justifiably proud of the exciting new addition to the Corvette:

A cyclone of power

with the new 195-h.p. V8 engine

A breath-stopping surge of power that surpasses anything you have ever imagined--that's the story of the Corvette's new 195-h.p. V8 engine. Here is a "dream" powerplant…ultra-compact, free breathing, super-efficient, the most modern valve-in-head V8 engine in the world…and it can be serviced by any Chevrolet dealer. Dual exhausts, a four-barrel carburetor, 8 to 1 compression ratio, and a high-lift camshaft squeeze latent energy out of every drop of gasoline…and careful counter-balancing of the entire engine after assembly keeps it smooth as a jet of steam.

1955 Corvette V8 engine, drawing by David Kimble Chevrolet small block V8 engine
Left: Cutaway drawing by David Kimble of the new small block engine. Below: As installed in a 1955 Corvette. Its weight of 531 pounds was 41 pounds less than the six cylinder, which aided handling.
1955 Corvette V8 engine
All but seven of the 1955 Corvettes received this wonderful new engine; the remaining very rare cars were delivered with six cylinder engines.

Additional colors were available. A few "Corvette Copper" (kind of a bronze) Corvettes were built along with Gypsy Red and a Harvest Gold. V8 engined cars would get a 12 volt electrical system; six cylinder Corvettes made do with a six volt system. An electric windshield wiper was also part of the V8 package.

700 Corvettes were produced in 1955. Chevrolet wisely did not repeat the overproduction mistake of 1954 and instead produced only what could be sold.

1955 Corvette For Sale

1955 Corvette, VIN, #44
Price: $160,000 (Trades Considered)
Exterior: Blue
Interior: Beige
Miles: 0
Location: Napoleon, Ohio

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1955 Corvette Convertible, VIN #44 of 700 produced, 265-195 hp, powerglide, numbers match. Pennant Blue paint with Tan Beige interior and Beige soft top (more)

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1955 Corvette Specs

Body Specs

Wheelbase 102 inches
Front Track 56.70 inches
Rear Track 58.80 inches
Length 167.00 inches
Width 72.24 inches
Height (at Windshield) 48.50 inches
Turning Circle 36.55 feet (right); 36.93 feet (left)
Steering ratio 16:1
Shipping Weight
(fuel and water not included)
2695 lbs. (Six Cylinder); 2665 lbs. (V8)
(No Radio / Heater)
Axle Ratio 3.55:1
Tire Size 6.70-15 4 Ply Rating

V8 Engine Specs

Type: V8
Valve Location: In Head
Bore / Stroke: 3.750 / 3.00
Displacement: 265 Cubic Inches
Compression Ratio: 8.0 : 1
Maximum Brake Horsepower: 195 @ 5,000 RPM
Maximum Torque: 260 lb. ft. @ 3,000 RPM
Crankshaft Material: Drop Forged Steel
Crankshaft Weight: 47.75 lbs.
Piston Weight: 18.77 oz.
Recommended Idle: 425 (In Drive)
Camshaft Material: Cast Alloy Iron
Oil Pump Type: Gear
Normal Oil Pressure 30 psi @ 1170 - 1200 RPM
Oil Pressure Gauge Electric
Crankcase Oil Capacity (less filter) 4 Quarts
Recommended Oil Grade Above 32°: SAE 20W or 30W
To 10°: SAE 20W
To -10°: SAE 10W
Below -10°: SAE 5W
Fuel Tank 17.25 Gallons
Fuel Filter None
Fuel Pump Mechanical
Fuel Pressure 4 - 5¼ psi
Carburetor Carter WCFB 2218S
Cooling System Capacity (without heater) 16 Quarts
Cooling System Capacity (with heater) 17 Quarts
Battery (six cylinder engine) Delco 15AA6-W (Six volt, 15 plate)
100 Amp-hour @ 20 hour rate
Battery (eight cylinder engine) Delco 25M50-W (12 volt, nine plate)
50 Amp-hour @ 20 hour rate
Ignition System
Coil Delco-Remy 1115086
Coil current rating 4 amps
Breaker Gap .016 - .021"
Ignition Timing 4° BTC @ idle
Ignition Timing Centrifugal Advance 16° @ 1800 RPM
Ignition Timing Vacuum Advance 13 ¾° @ 15" Hg.
Spark Plug AC 43-5R
Spark Plug Thread 14 mm.
Spark Plug Torque 20 - 25 lb.-ft.
Spark Plug Gap .033 - .038
Firing Order 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2

1955 Corvette Options, Prices

Code Description Production Price
100 Directional Signal 700 (100.00%) $16.75
101 Heater 700 (100.00%) $91.40
102A AM Radio, Signal Seeking 700 (100.00%) $145.15
290B Whitewall Tires, 6.70x15 n/a $26.90
313 Powerglide Automatic Transmission n/a $178.35
420A Parking Brake Alarm 700 (100.00%) $5.65
421A Courtesy Lights 700 (100.00%) $4.05
422A Windshield Washers 700 (100.00%) $11.85

Total Production: 700
Convertible: 700 (100.00%)

Notes: Base Corvette with six cylinder engine: $2,774.00. Qty: 7 | Base Corvette with 265 cu. in. 195 hp V8 engine: $2,909.00. Qty: 693 | All six cylinder 1955 Corvettes came with the Powerglide automatic transmission. Most of the 1955 V8 Corvettes also came with the automatic; towards the end of the model run a three speed manual transmission was available and approximately 75 1955 Corvettes were so equipped.


Code Exterior Quantity Interior Soft Top Wheels
Polo White 325 (46.43%) Red White/Beige Red
Pennant Blue 45 (6.43%) Dark Beige Beige Red
Corvette Copper 15 (2.14%) Dark Beige White Bronze
Gypsy Red 180 (25.71%) Light Beige White/Beige Red
Harvest Gold 120 (17.14%) Yellow Dark Green Yellow

Notes: Color quantities are estimates as reliable GM records are not available.

Note: Clicking on an image with this symbol (Boxes) will lead to a larger image.


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