The Chevrolet Corvette is a classic American sports car. For nearly 70 years, the Corvette has been a staple on our roads and tracks, continuing to be an achievable dream for your average gearhead. Over the past seven decades, there have been several examples of sporty Chevrolets that have helped define the nameplate, including the one-of-a-kind 1957 Chevrolet Corvette Super Sport. Thanks to the folks at Mecum Auctions, you now have the opportunity to make this roadster the centerpiece of your collection.
The story of the extraordinary Corvette Super Sport begins with the average 1956 model, complete with Venetian red paint and a hydraulic soft top. Under the hood is a 265 cubic-inch V-8 engine mated to a three-speed manual gearbox. The car left the assembly line marked with VIN #E56S001589 and is said to have been used as a display vehicle in the former General Motors building in Detroit. That was until a shop order SO-90181 dropped from a brass major in March 1956. The order stated that a show car would be built for the 1957 season highlighting GM’s new Rochester Ramjet fuel injection system. The basis of the project was a small red car sitting in the lobby.
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The modifications began with a unique VIN number, as GM wanted the show car to represent the 1957 model year without removing the production VIN from circulation. From there, the red paint was replaced with pearl white, accented by dark blue stripes like the Corvette race car at Sebring that year. The racing derivative component doesn’t end in a line, as some of the adjustments to the Super Sport mirror those of the SR-2 racer. The airplane-style windshield is inspired by the SR-2, reflecting the same front cowl setup. The large side covers are also a cheeky nod to the racers, although the Super Sport has a larger cover than the rest of the production C1. Unlike the standard car, this cover is made of chrome brass panels instead of stainless steel. The large air vents behind the bay are meant to make the Super Sport look more racing, though that’s purely aesthetic. GM even went so far as to slightly massage the rear taillights, adding a unique trim divider not seen in other examples.
It’s not just a visual build. GM included a fuel-injected 283 cubic-inch V-8 engine under the hood, which has done just 4,372 miles since new. The engine itself was slightly raised for the show circuit, featuring a hotter camshaft, an off-road exhaust system, chrome-plated finned aluminum valve covers, and a very rare louvered one-piece chrome air purifier. For the collectors out there, the Super Sport engine retains its original first design fuel injector, complete with dual spider fuel distribution lines, as well as the original distributor with the rated label. The engine bay is further embellished with a blue painted generator, steering column, and wiper motor. The horn relay and generator regulator cover are chromed to boot. The engine is mated to a close ratio three-speed manual.
Inside the Super Sport, you’ll find some really awesome pieces of Corvette history. For example, this is the first Corvette to feature a center console, which every subsequent model has as a result. On top of that center console, you’ll even find two magnetic cups, which help keep your drink safe when it gets to your favorite street. There’s also a unique steering wheel that looks ready to run around Le Mans. The interior surface is decorated with a slick blue leather, which helps tie in the blue accents to the exterior. The whole package comes together to build something that looks pretty fast, which is never a bad thing.
Unfortunately, the Corvette Super Sport has done a lot of sitting still over the years. After debuting at the Coliseum in New York in January 1957, the car made several more appearances before being sold to private owners. At some point during the 1960s, the car found itself face-first on a telephone pole, leading to several more years of inactivity, according to Mecum. That said, the current owner acquired the car back in 1997, and has put the car through a complete restoration. Collectors have no fear, as almost every item installed by GM during the original manufacturing process can be saved and reused. Since the completion of the restoration, the Corvette Super Sport has even won the Presentation of Significant Cars award at the 2017 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
The Corvette Super Sport will be available as part of the 2022 Mecum’s Kissimmee auction, which will run from January 6 to 16. The auction house estimates that the car will fetch as much as $2 million, which isn’t too surprising. This is the first Chevrolet product to use the Super Sport nomenclature. Combine that with the beauty and historical significance of this car, and you’ve got a Corvette C1 that could define any American car collection.
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