From an outsider’s perspective, the 1955 Corvette was simply a repeat of the 1953 and 1954 models. However, upon closer inspection, it was apparent that the car had been improved considerably. The single biggest improvement was the addition of the optional small block V-8 engine that Ed Cole had designed.
The addition of the V-8 engine resulted in 0-60mph times of just 8.5 seconds and quarter-mile times of only 16.5 seconds (which was a considerable accomplishment in 1955). The Corvette’s was now capable of reaching top speeds of nearly 120 miles per hour while actually getting better gas mileage (an average of 2-3 miles per gallon) than that of the standard “Stovebolt” six-cylinder engine.
As a whole, 1955 marked a pivotal year for the engineering behind the Corvette, despite the fact that sales continued to be an overwhelming failure. In 1955, only 700 were produced by GM for the model year and of these, only 674 were actually sold.