Wednesday, February 08, 2012

What you did not know about the 1956 SR2 Corvette SS

The SR-2 (Sebring Racer) designation was given to three 1956 Corvettes. All of them left the factory as stock Corvettes, and were shipped to GM styling in Warren, MI for race modifications and cosmetic additions. This is the first of the three. In the spring of 1956, it was a known fact that the GM Head of the Styling Studio, Harley Earl, had a son Jerry who road raced a Ferrari. Management told dad he should be racing a GM car. Harley made a deal with his son: “If you sell the Ferrari, I will build you a special Corvette to race.”

This car, #2522, had the highest priority with no cost spared. Work began in May ’56 modifying the body, brakes and suspension. Special windscreens were installed for driver and passenger. The parking lights were removed allowing air to flow for front brake cooling. Fifty-five years ago this weekend, Earl debuted his SR-2 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI. Dr. Dick Thompson completed the six hour race with a respectable finish. Jerry Earl continued to race the SR-2 throughout the 56-57 seasons and sold the car in 1958 to Jim Jeffords. National race champion Jeffords painted the car purple to match the moniker, “Purple People Eater,” named after the 1958 song by Sheb Wooley.

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