1955-1957 Chevrolet Corvettes - Remember When...

Thoughts From The Automotive Past

Doug Marion Aug 29, 2009 0 Comment(s)
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This official '56 Corvette ad says it all. A lot was said in six lines.

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The '57 fuel-injected Corvette SS was built as an engineering study prototype to road race, and it did at Sebring. But it was soon pulled from the '57 24 Hours of Le Mans and mothballed when GM pulled out of factory-assisted racing-per the AMA edict. Two years later, at the '59 Daytona 500, Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov was clocked in a pre-race lap on the new track at 155 mph.

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The European six cylinder road racing cars were no match for a new '57 Corvette and Chevrolet Marketing decided that would make an effective ad campaign. During the next 5 to 7 years, many '56-'57 Corvettes were updated by-owner with powerful 327 engines giving them absolutely blistering acceleration due to a 2,800-pound curb weight.

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28 years later, in 1987 at the Monterey Historics, the '57 SS drove many non-competition laps. Zora Arkus-Duntov is seen here in the yellow helmet riding shotgun.

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This photo marks a salute to all high performance, early V8 owners who made performance modifications. This looks like a rare air box, FI '57 but it's actually Tom Parsons' '56 built to the hilt. He could never find a '57 so he built a '56 to his liking. The engine is highly modified and the F.I. doghouse was also modified back in the day by Bill Thomas and Hayden Proffitt for more top-end power. The underside of the hood has a huge autograph-put there by the late Dale Earnhardt of NASCAR fame.

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Back in the late '50s and early '60s, the No. 1 Chevy V8 performance induction system was the factory 2x4 aluminum intake setup that came on '57-'61 245- and 270hp 'Vette engines and '57 passenger cars. The '56 2x4 induction version had a cast iron intake manifold and was very rare.

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