C O R V E T T E
The Model-Saver In its struggle for survival, Corvette’s unlikeliest ally was its arch rival and pretender to the throne of American two-seater king, the Ford Thunderbird. Launched in 1954, Thunderbird was aimed at the same market as Corvette. Worse, it was getting it. In 1955, there were sixteen thousand Thunderbirds sold, compared to less than five thousand Corvettes. In business, when something isn’t working, there’s always a tendency to say, let’s cut our losses and walk away , a tendency which increases as one gets far- ther away from those whose baby is on the chopping block. Some upper manage- ment factions at GM were for killing the Corvette. What stymied the cancellation was the fear that it would leave the market wide open for the T-Bird.
It’s what you don’t see on this 1955 Corvette that’s the key factor; namely, the 265-cid, 195-horsepower overhead V-8 engine under the hood. 4,700 Corvettes were sold that year.
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