1957 Chevrolet Corvette
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a 1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1 with a 283 cubic inch, 270 HP V8 engine and four speed manual gearbox.
This is a highly desirable specification C1 Corvette. The 283 cubic inch engine with dual quad carburettors and solid lifters was the second highest specification engine available, only surpassed by the fuel injected cars with 283 hp.
This is a US market car that is understood to have lived its life in California prior to coming to Australia. Unfortunately, the early history of this car is not known and for Corvettes of this period it is not possible to get a Heritage Certificate or the factory build sheets which will tell you exactly when the car was built and the options the car was delivered with new. We did, however, find a Chevrolet Technical Service Bulletin dated 22nd May 1957 which recommended different spark plugs to be used for the Corvette. In that bulletin it is mentioned the new spark plugs entered into production on the 9th April 1957 and were first installed in the very car offered for sale here.
From our research into the history of the car we do know the previous to current owner, who lived in Orange County in California purchased the car from Corvette Mike in Anaheim, California around 2012. Corvette Mike subsequently looked after and serviced the car for him on a regular basis in his ownership. He was a real Corvette enthusiast and had searched for a really nice ’57 Corvette before he ended up purchasing this particular example. Living in California gave him plenty of opportunity to use the car on a regular basis and it was often taken to various Club events.
The current owner acquired the car in January 2017 from Corvette Mike and he subsequently imported it into Australia. There is an import approval on file dated 9th March 2017.
When the current owner purchased the car, the odometer read 9,490 miles. At that time the car was advertised as follows:
“The local CA example presented here has had an older frame on restoration and is equipped with that engine, as well as a 4-spd (added) manual transmission. It also has a 3.70 rear end, newer White soft top, wide White wall radial tires and brakes. It’s a very clean car with excellent paint and interior. And the classic color combo of Polo White with Silver coves and Red interior is sharp and suits it to a “T”. The engine runs strong and the transmission shifts great! It’s the kind of vintage Corvette that you wouldn’t hesitate to drive anywhere.”
As the advert indicates, the four speed manual gearbox is not original to the car, however we do know the car left the factory with a three speed manual gearbox. The four speed manual gearbox currently in the car is a Muncie four speed manual gearbox as fitted to the later C2 Corvettes.
Today the odometer reads 12,361 miles.
Overall this car still presents really well. The colour combination of polo white with silver coves and a red interior is in our opinion ‘just perfect’ for a ’57 Corvette. The car carries an older repaint and on closer inspection there are a few minor paint defects. There is a small paint chip on the front of the car and there are some small paint cracks in a few places, the result of the fibreglass body flexing. The car is fitted with the original style wheels and hubcaps which are shod with 205/75/R15 BF Goodrich Silver Cord radial white wall tyres. The external trim is generally in good condition and its presentation is consistent with the paint work.
The white soft top is in reasonably good condition with some minor wear and tear evident.
The interior appears to be mostly original. It still presents well. The dashboard is a real feature on these early Corvettes and on this particular car it is in good condition. All the instruments appear to be in good working order, except for the fuel gauge and the radio. The seats are in good condition and still provide ample support, though the driver’s seat is showing some wear as you will see from the photos. The carpets and the door cards are in good condition.
This Corvette is just a very nice driver quality car that one can use and enjoy just the way it is.
On our test drive the car exceeded our expectations. The car starts easily, even when the engine is cold and fairly quickly settles into a smooth idle. The big V8 makes a great noise and it makes a very positive first impression when you first start the car. Out on the road this car is in its element. The engine sounds fabulous and the car just wants to go! All you can think about is going to find the nearest road with a tunnel! The gearbox is smooth and shifts easily up and down the box.
These early Corvettes may not be as sophisticated as their European counterparts, but they are just as much fun and they certainly attract plenty of attention. When we were out photographing the car a number of people came over for a look and we got several thumbs up on our test drive! This is one very cool car.
Unmolested examples of these early Corvettes are becoming harder to find these days, even in North America. Powered by the desirable and sought after 283 cubic inch, 270 hp engine this model Corvette is rare, being one of only 1,621 examples built in 1957.
- Desirable early series Corvette fitted with the 283 cubic inch, 270 HP, V8 engine.
- One of only 1,621 1957 Corvettes fitted with the above engine.
- Sought after manual gearbox.
- Perfect period colour combination.
- Unmolested example.
The Chevrolet Motor Car Company was founded in Detroit, USA in 1911 by Swiss race car driver and automotive engineer Louis Chevrolet, his brother Arthur Chevrolet, William C Durant and investment partners William Little (maker of the Little automobile), former Buick owner James H. Whiting and Dr Edwin R Campbell (son-in-law of Durant). In 1912 they were joint by RS McLaughlin, CEO of General Motors in Canada.
The first Series C Classic Six prototype was ready months before Chevrolet was actually incorporated. However, the first actual production car was not built until 1913 when in the fall of that year the new 1913 model was introduced at the New York Auto Show.
The company was merged into General Motors in 1917 and subsequently became a division of that company. Chevrolet is an iconic American brand that is well known the world over.
The 1950’s and 1960’s were a time of great change in America and the automobile played a significant part in the American way of life at that time. Chevrolet is recognised as producing the great American family car, however, Chevys have also enjoyed much success in motor racing. The small block V8 is considered by many to be one of the greatest engines of all time and the Corvette is perhaps the company’s crowning achievement.
In the 1950’s sales were declining and brand manager Thomas Keating was eager to reverse course. The solution he came up with was a sports car. The project was code named “Project Opel”. General Motors’ chief stylist Harley J. Earl came up with the design and in January 1953 the EX-122 concept car made its debut at the GM Motorama in New York City.
The Chevrolet Corvette is without doubt America’s most popular sports car. Since its introduction in 1953, the Corvette has gone through many iterations and is an ‘automotive icon’ recognised throughout the world. The first generation, or C1 series cars, were produced from 1953 to 1962 and are often referred to as the ‘straight axel’ cars because independent rear suspension was not introduced until 1963 on the second generation or C2 series cars. The C1 cars can basically be divided up in four periods. The first series C1 was produced from 1953 until 1955, the second series C1 from 1956 until 1957 and the third series from 1958 until 1960 and the fourth series from 1961 until 1962.
In 1957 Chevrolet replaced the 265 cubic inch engine with a 283 cubic inch engine. This modified engine delivered an impressive 220 hp when coupled with a four barrel carburettor. Dual four barrels took it to 245 hp and improved internals took it up another notch to 270 hp. Better still, consumers could also purchase GM‘s newly developed “Ramjet” fuel injection system which yielded 283 hp.
In total Chevrolet produced 6,339 Corvettes in 1957 of which 1,621 were fitted with the 283 cubic inch 270 hp engine.
- Chevrolet Corvette C1
- 12,361 miles