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1957 Fuelie - Divine Heritage

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  1. #1
    Blown, Stroked, & Sprayed

    Ed Blown Vert's Avatar
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    1957 Fuelie - Divine Heritage
    As General Motors basks in the praise their new halo vehicle is generating, as well as the revelations in the press about the groundbreaking, tentatively-named SS Corvette, the novice Corvette enthusiast should be aware of the label's performance genealogy.
    Though lulls during the record production late-'70s marked some of the Corvette's more lackluster performance years, it would be twenty years earlier that the Corvette-a once lowly in-line six-cylinder roadster intended to take on the likes of the Alfa Romeros and Austin Healeys-finally came into its own and grew into what would be hailed as the first performance-bred Corvette from the General.
    Plagued with the infamously domestic Blue Flame six-banger, Corvettes were something of whimsy-a cute, homebred Euro-roadster. Stamped with a dismissive reputation, the '53 and '54 droptops needed a shot of muscle-building steroids quick. Restyling the Corvette for the '56 model would be step one in the project's favor, but what would shake the program's core would be the use of the 265 small-block V-8 for the '55. With its new powerplant, the little roadster would tally up a series of racing wins, giving the fiberglass-bodied two-seater a new reputation-one for quick acceleration and nimble handling. those race winnings would draw hailed racing guru Zora Arkus-Duntov onto the scene.
    Duntov wouldn't alter the '56 styling for '57 but he would revolutionize the Corvette's source of motivation. A series of various engines would be made available, starting with boring the demure 265 out to 283 ci. Now at a base of 220 hp, the Corvette could be ordered with a dual-carbureted intake that would push the output to either 245 or 270 ponies. But it would be Duntov's use of GM's mechanical fuel injection that would proffer three different versions: one offering 250 hp and two at 283 hp, boasting "one horsepower per cubic inch." It would be this declaration that would launch the Corvette from quasi-obscurity into the sports car arena.
    But of those 1,043 fuel-injected Corvettes produced, only 43 came from the factory with RPO-code 597E. That designation signified the addition of a cold-air-injected airbox on the '57. This modification would boost the 283's power production closer to 300 hp. The system was the result of race car testing that proved the fuel-injected vehicles benefited from cold-air induction. Therefore, the particular 283s that were equipped with a solid camshaft were stocked with the bonus intake. An additional panel was installed on the driver-side inner fender, which would draw in fresh air beside the radiator core. A large conduit-like, rubberized ducting tunneled from the air cleaner to the intake.
    As these particular vehicles were intended primarily for competitive usage, most of the engine compartment's wiring was also equally modified. Radios and heater boxes were added weight that had no place on a race car, and thus, were eliminated. This diet caused the high-tension leads to be relocated further away from the exhaust manifolds as the radio shielding was noticeably absent. Inside the cabin, the airbox Corvettes also brandished a tachometer mounted to the steering column, leaving a large opening to be filled with an emblem similar to that found on the decklid. Along with the almost unheard of airbox option, this particular example boasts the RPO 685 four-speed manual gearbox and posi-traction with large 15x5.5-inch steel wheels with dog-dish hubcaps (RPO 276).
    This small history lesson wouldn't be possible were it not for Milton Robson of Gainesville, Georgia. His pristine '57 is, arguably, the best example of a dealership-ordered, performance-bred, airbox-equipped Corvette. Under the Venetian Red body is all the necessary equipment to take this roadster racing in 1957: RPO 684-code racing suspension upgrades that include "ceramic-metallic" lined brakes with finned drums and rubberized scoops on the inboard side of the wheels for improved cooling, stiffer front and rear leaf springs, larger shocks, a hefty front antisway bar, and a quicker-ratio steering box. Though a man of few words, Milton allowed us to photograph his gorgeous '57, one of 70 in his current collection.

    Photo Gallery: 1957 Fuelie - Divine Heritage - Featured Vehicles - Corvette Fever Magazine

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  2. #2
    member of the 11 sec club scramblerman's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    South side chicago

    2002 Z06 vette 405hp!!!!!

    beautiful car! Amazing that back in the late 50's fuel injection was around.

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