Lot #5054 - The earliest-known Corvette race car. This Daytona Beach "NASCAR Unit" was created by Chevrolet Engineering for NASCAR stock car racing, and was probably a dual branding effort between Chevrolet's Ed Cole and NASCAR's Bill France. This effort was part of Ed Cole's push to save the Corvette from extinction (700 sales in 1955) and Chevrolet's first effort in creating a brand image of speed and performance lasting through seven generations of Corvettes. This Daytona Beach NASCAR 1953 Corvette Convertible is one of two, a 1953 and a 1955, that were built/rebuilt by Chevrolet Engineering to be equipped with dual-quad high-output 1956 engines, 3-speed close ratio transmissions, heavy-duty rear end assemblies, plastic tonneau covers, small racing windshields and relocated gauges per Mauri Rose. Work was done by Chevrolet Experimental Shop and Garage, subject title: "Rebuilding of NASCAR Corvettes for Stock Car Racing," dated November 3, 1955. This project was under the direction of Ed Cole and the conversion was under the supervision of three-time Indy 500 winner Mauri Rose. Delivered to Smokey Yunick's shop Daytona Beach, FL, in early February 1956 in time for promotional NASCAR photos with Bill France Jr. and Joe Hawkins, and the subsequent February 12-26, 1956, Annual Winter Daytona Beach Classics, which included the 7th Annual International Safety and Speed Trials and Stock Car Races (race number 27). Prior to rebuild by Chevrolet Engineering, this 1953 VIN #211 and a 1955 Corvette VIN #399 were raced by NASCAR's legendary Thomas Brothers (Herb & Don), Junior Johnson, Jimmy Massey, Ralph Liguori, Johnny Dodson and Gwyn Staley at the Bowman Gray Stadium, Martinsville Speedway and Raleigh Speedway in 1955 (race numbers 55, 62 and 92). After the February 1956 Daytona Beach races, this car returned to the grit and grime of the legendary North Carolina NASCAR race tracks, primarily Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston Salem, where it was driven by Pee Wee Jones, Bobby Myers, Gwyn Staley, Junior Johnson, Ralph Liguori and Jimmy Massey with race numbers 3, 16, 27 and 116. In 1958, Mr. Leslie Gray Tuttle purchased #211 from NASCAR and received the GM MSO and became the first titled owner of #211, and over 50 years later, Mr. Tuttle provided conclusive evidence that helped identify #211 as the original NASCAR Daytona Beach and Carolina racer. Documented with Chevrolet Engineering department build orders, newspaper articles and vintage photos from private collections, Chevrolet and NASCAR archives. This is the earliest-known Corvette to run NASCAR sanctioned events and the earliest-known Corvette to ever race, thus a pioneer of speed and a fascinating chapter of Corvette and NASCAR history.