London,The Jack Barclay Showroom
3 December 2002
1957 CHEVROLET CORVETTE ROADSTER WITH HARDTOP
Registration No. Not registered
Engine No. F1010FG
Black with grey coving, red vinyl interior and a black hard top
Engine: V-8, 283ci., 220bhp at 4,800rpm; Gearbox: automatic Powerglide; Suspension: independent front, rear, semi-elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: four wheel drum. Left hand drive.
America was without a true sports car until Chevrolet introduced the Corvette at the 1953 Motorama Show and started production that year. The Corvette was immediately popular, although surprisingly not many were sold. The early Corvettes were lower and sportier than any other car on the market, but they still lacked the innovative technology necessary to break open the market. Starting in 1955, Corvettes carried a V-8 engine which improved their performance, but their styling badly needed updating. Ford was producing the Thunderbird and it both out-styled and out-performed the Corvette. In order for Chevy to combat the T-bird and beat Ford in the sales wars, they needed to transform the Corvette into a serious sports car. In 1956 designer Harley Earl made a full-scale clay model of the new Corvette that was immediately approved by GM management. It was the car of the American dream. The distinctive coves were taken from a 1955 Motorama exercise called the La Salle II and became the trademark of the 'Vette through the fifties. Many other greatly needed improvements were made, such as a better fitting and optionally motorized convertible top. The rear fenders were brought forward, thus exposing the lights. Chevy used real glass windows and even offered a power option. Every part of this car showed classic beauty, as it was styled more creatively than its predecessors, yet not as crazily as the Corvettes to come.
Believing that great looks are not everything, Chevrolet made vast improvements under the hood as well. For 1957, the engine became the hottest of all. It was bored out to 283 cubic inches with three options. The base engine had 220 horsepower and with fuel injection it produced 250bhp, while with dual 4-barrels it generated 283hp. In May of that year the fuel injection option was increased to 1:1 horsepower to cubic inch ratio. The 1:1 was just what Chevrolet needed to beat the competition, both in the market and on the track.
The car on offer has resided in an overseas collection for more than a decade, and comes to the UK for sale. It presents very well, the interior is unmarked and the paintwork blemish free, however at the time of cataloguing Christie's has not had the opportunity to run the car, and so would advise that it be carefully recommissioned for the road prior to use.
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