Image credits: © Chevrolet. GM Corp

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1

Chevrolet introduced the two-seat Corvette in 1953 and the Motorama-show-car styling was much admired however the lackluster powertrain left much to be desired. Chevrolet responded to this criticism in 1955 with an all-new overhead-valve V8. Styling became cleaner in 1956 and engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov and his team worked to improve its performance and competitiveness. During his first three years at GM, Duntov helped prevent the Corvette's early demise and was instrumental in convincing Chevy management to build exciting cars and prove them in competition to capitalize on the lucrative postwar youth market. He was not alone, as Chevrolet's engineering chief, Ed Cole, thoroughly agreed.

At the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1956, the Corvette was fitted with a fuel injection system. It was a Rochester Ramjet injection unit that solved the fuel starvation problem caused during high cornering with carbureted engines. Driver John Fitch and co-driver Walt Hansgen took a class win. That technology made its way to the production cars in 1957, with the 283 cubic-inch engine developing 283 horsepower, resulting in 1 horsepower per cubic-inch of displacement. Inspired by the fuel-injected Mercedes-Benz 300SL (a production car first), the Rochester Fuel Injected system of the Corvette benefitted from Duntov's insistence on measuring the mass of the incoming airflow into the Corvette's engine, the system still in common use today, rather than Mercedes' simpler speed-density system.

High-performance options were first introduced on the Corvette in 1956, including the 'Duntov' solid-lifter cam and 'Dual Quad' intake setup. This trend continued into 1957 with stronger parts designed, tested, and relentlessly perfected eventually making it into the pipeline for Chevy buyers and racers alike. Chevrolet vehicles soon claimed numerous speed records, including new marks set by Duntov in a camouflaged 1956 Chevrolet sedan at Pikes Peak in 1955. At the 1956 NASCAR Daytona Beach Speed Week, Duntov went over 150 mph in a lightly modified Corvette and more records were set by the three-Corvette team, with Duntov, John Fitch, and Betty Skelton driving.

The body of the 1957 Corvette was unchanged from the 1956 version, which had received a sleeker look that included roll-up windows and an optional hardtop. The base price was increased slightly to $3,176 and the V8 became the standard engine, with a choice of a three-speed manual or the 2-speed Powerglide automatic. Backed by a new T-10 Warner four-speed manual transmission, and posi-traction rear axle, the Corvette evolved into a true sports car. The four-speed unit arrived in May and was a $188 extra. The heater, the car's most popular option, still had not become standard equipment. Axle ratios went as low as 4.11:1 and the 'heavy-duty racing suspension' listed at $725. Standard equipment included dual exhausts, all-vinyl bucket seats, and a three-spoke 'competition' steering wheels. Five engine options were available beginning with ratings ranging from 220 horsepower up to 283 hp. The 283 cubic-inch Fuel Injected engine developed 250 horsepower with a milder hydraulic camshaft and Powerglide automatic transmission. With a manual transmission and the solid-lifter 'Duntov' cam, horsepower rose to 283, the magical 1 horsepower per cubic-inch figure. In addition to the Corvette's world-beating RPO 579E fuel-injected engine, the 1957 Corvette was also available with the Heavy-Duty racing suspension package including all the developments from the Sebring racing cars, including heavy-duty springs and shocks, an extra leaf in the rear springs, and finned brake drums with Cerametallix linings, vented backing plates, and cooling scoops, plus air ducts running into the rear fender wells and through the rocker panels to direct cooler air to the rear brakes. Larger 15 X 5.5-inch wheels, and a Positraction differential with three available gear ratios.

Development was ongoing and by mid-1957 the fiberglass 'Airbox' was introduced, helping to resolve unfavorable pressure differentials. It was mounted to the inner-fender panel on the driver's side, drawing cooler, higher-density air from a space cut out of the left side of the radiator support. On both sides of the radiator were special ductwork that helped direct cool air to the rear brake drums. The front brakes were cooled with special air ducts built into the backing plates of each drum.

The 'Airbox Fuelie' was capable of sprinting from zero-to-sixty mph in 5.7 seconds which was faster than anything else on the road.

At the 1957 Sebring race, four Corvette sports cars were entered including a magnesium-alloy bodied Corvette SS powered by a 4,638cc engine complete with lightweight aluminum cylinder heads. Another example was an SS development mule powered by a standard Corvette engine but clothed with a plastic body. The 4.6-liter Corvette of John Fitch and Piero Taruffi was positioned in first place on the starting grid. Since there was no qualifying session, the starting positions were decided according to engine size. The next three places were Corvettes followed by two 450S Maseratis.

Early in the race, the Corvette SS experienced brake issues and was forced to pit. It later withdrew from the race due to persistent overheating problems, although the official classifications show the cause to be failed rear suspension. After twelve hours of racing, the car of Dr. Dick 'The Flying Dentist' Thompson and Swiss co-driver Gaston Andrey was 12th overall, and first in the Grand Touring 5000 (GT 5.0) class. The corvette won the Production Sports Car title and another won the modified class. Although this race was on American soil, the Corvette was the only American built car to compete at Sebring.

Just 43 fuel-injected 'Airbox' Corvettes were purpose-built for racing in 1957. Shortly after the car's release, in June of 1957, the infamous and short-lived Automobile Manufacturers' Association (AMA) racing ban halted GM's factory racing activities. Despite GM's exit from overt factory-backed racing, cars and parts were funneled to capable privateers who continued to expand the Corvette's racing pedigree.

Additionally, the Pontiac Bonneville - also part of the GM lineup, was introduced in January of 1957 and came equipped with a Rochester mechanical fuel injection system. The 347 cubic-inch V8 developed 315 horsepower and provided a zero-to-sixty mph time of 8.1 seconds. A total of 630 examples were built with a base price of $5,782 which was $1000 more than a fuel-injected Corvette.


by Daniel Vaughan | May 2020

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1957 Vehicle Profiles

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Roadster

Chevrolet pulled something amazing out of the hat for 1957: Fuel Injection. First run in 1956 at the Sebring race, the Rochester Ramjet injection was an innovation that solved the fuel starvation problem caused by sloshing under high cornering with ....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Roadster

An Engineering Milestone: 283 Cubic Inches/283 Horsepower!
When Chevrolet unveiled the two-seat Corvette in 1953, critics loved the Motorama-show-car styling, but panned the lackluster powertrain (a Chevy six and a two-speed Powerglide auto....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: E57S 105626
Engine Num: F424 EG VC

This 1957 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible was offered for sale at the 2007 Christies auction of 'Exceptional Motor Cars at the Monterey Jet Center.' It is red with red interior and white soft top. The engine is a 265 cubic-inch V8 capable of produci....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: E57S101475

This 1957 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster was offered for sale at the 2007 Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction presented by RM Auctions, where it had an estimated value of $75,000 - $85,000. It was offered without reserve. It is fitted with a V8 engi....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: E575106130

This Corvette was rescued from the wrecking yard near Chicago by Lew Draper in 1962. Together with Doane Motor mechanics and Chevrolet parts, they built a B-production racer that Lew drove very successfully for the next couple of seasons. The car wa....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: E575106007

This 1957 Chevrolet Corvette features RPO big brakes, a 4.11 rear end, and a 283 cubic-inch Rochester fuel-injection system. It was originally a drag racing car in the Oakland Bay area in the 1960s and 1970s It began vintage racing in the Northwest....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Roadster

Chevrolet decided there was no need to change the handsome styling of the 1957 Vette, but they upped the performance by boring the V-8 to 283 cubic inch. This came in five versions offering 220 bhp up to an amazing 283 bhp, the latter courtesy of ne....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: E857104007

This is a very unusual car. It was made for racing and it is the earliest known of the 43 legendary RPO 579D 'air box' factory built production line race cars. Race modifications to the car consisted of heavy duty springs, heavy duty shocks and bra....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Roadster

When Chevrolet unveiled the two-seat Corvette in 1953, industry critics loved the Motorama-show-car styling, but panned the lackluster powertrain (a Chevy six and a two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission).....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 6338

This is the only known original GM production; fully race optioned 270 horsepower 1957 Corvette. It is currently believed that Chevrolet's Zora Arkus-Duntov oversaw the production of only 43, RPO 684, 1957 racecars, and apparently this is the only on....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: E57S104387

For 1957, the 283 cubic-inch lightweight and durable small block engine was complimented with competition options such as a Racing Suspension package with high performance sintered metallic brake linings. Wide wheels, Positraction rear axles in three....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: E57S102540

This 1957 Corvette is fitted with RPO 579 B/E 283 horsepower V8 engine with Rochester fuel injection system. It is an original California black-plate car with a rust-free chassis. It was given a frame-off restoration and is finished in Venetian Red....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: E57S102825

The Corvette, under the guidance of Zora Arkus Duntov, was rejuvenated slightly for 1957. Styling changes were minimal, but the list of powertrain and comfort options was continually ever-growing. There were new colors, power accessories, and creatur....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Roadster

This 1957 Corvette Airbox is one of only 43 such vehicles produced by General Motors.....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Roadster

The 1957 Corvette was a continuation of the previous year design but now featured an overhead valve 283 cubic-inch V-8 that developed 220 horsepower. Dual exhausts, tachometer, vinyl-trimmed bucket seats and a three-spoke competition steering wheel w....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: E57S105940

The 1957 Chevrolet Corvette was available with optional Rochester Ram Jet fuel injection, which boosted horsepower to 283 BHP, giving it the magical 1-horsepower-per-cubic-inch mark. For the first time, a new 4-speed manual transmission was offered. ....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: E57S106241

This Corvette has a well-documented race history dating from the Santa Barbara road races in 1965. The Corvette has a 1965-1966 SCCA B Production race history and a 1966-1967 NHRA/AHRA D Production drag racing history plus a long vintage racing histo....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Convertible

Many consider the 1957 the best of the first generation Corvettes. It was a year of many firsts. Although launched in 1953, it was the upgraded 1956 model that clearly established that Chevrolet was indeed in the sports car business. Much sportier th....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Convertible

Chassis Num: E57S102166

Corvette styling for 1957 was unchanged from the previous year, but the big news was the optional fuel-injection. This allowed the Corvette to boast one horsepower for every cubic-inch, making it one of the fastest cars on the road with a top speed o....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Convertible

This Corvette is finished in Venetian Red and Shoreline Beige. It is one of 6,339 built in 1957 and had a base price of $3,176.32. Power is from a 283 cubic-inch engine offering 250 horsepower. The fuel injection setup was an additional $484.20 upgra....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Convertible

1957 was the first year that fuel injection was available in a Corvette. Horsepower and displacement were both 283 on cars with the 'fuelie' option. A 4-speed manual transmission, like the one in this car, replaced the 3-speed gearbox in April 1957. ....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Convertible

The performance of the 1957 Corvette at Sebring gained international attention and proved that the Corvette was a serious sports car capable of winning races. Sixty cars entered the race, but only 24 finished and three of those were Corvettes. During....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Convertible

This early 1957 Corvette has a fuel-injected engine and a factory-correct three-speed manual transmission. It's painted in a very rare colour combination - Venetian Red and Beige two-tone, with an original convertible top - and is believed to be one ....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Convertible

Chassis Num: E57S104676

The 1957 Chevy Corvettes came with a long list of options including power accessories, creature comforts, new colors, and a vast arrange of engine, transmission, gear ratio, and suspension configurations. The big news was the fuel-injected engines wh....[continue reading]

Roadster
 
Roadster
 
Roadster
Chassis #: E57S 105626 
Roadster
Chassis #: E57S101475 
Roadster
Chassis #: E575106130 
Roadster
Chassis #: E575106007 
Roadster
 
Roadster
Chassis #: E857104007 
Roadster
 
Roadster
Chassis #: 6338 
Roadster
Chassis #: E57S104387 
Roadster
Chassis #: E57S102540 
Roadster
Chassis #: E57S102825 
Roadster
 
Roadster
 
Roadster
Chassis #: E57S105940 
Roadster
Chassis #: E57S106241 
Convertible
 
Convertible
Chassis #: E57S102166 
Convertible
 
Convertible
 
Convertible
 
Convertible
 
Convertible
Chassis #: E57S104676 

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

$295-$3,460
1957 Corvette C1
$3,460-$16,800
1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 Base Price : $3,460

$2,100 - $2,700
$2,173 - $2,900

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Chevrolet
1962Chevrolet (2,061,677)Ford (1,476,031)Fiat (957,941)2,061,677
1961Ford (1,338,790)Chevrolet (1,318,014)Volkswagen (807,488)1,318,014
1960Chevrolet (1,653,168)Ford (1,439,370)Toyota (1,068,321)1,653,168
1959Chevrolet (1,462,140)Ford (1,450,953)Volkswagen (575,407)1,462,140
1958Chevrolet (1,142,460)Ford (987,945)Volkswagen (451,526)1,142,460
1957Ford (1,676,449)Chevrolet (1,505,910)Plymouth (726,009)1,505,910
1956Chevrolet (1,567,117)Ford (1,408,478)Meteor (1,408,478)1,567,117
1955Chevrolet (1,704,667)Ford (1,451,157)Buick (738,814)1,704,667
1954Ford (1,165,942)Chevrolet (1,143,561)Plymouth (463,148)1,143,561
1953Chevrolet (1,346,475)Ford (1,247,542)Plymouth (650,451)1,346,475
1952Chevrolet (818,142)Ford (671,733)Plymouth (396,000)818,142

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