Model: Corvette Convertible
Origin: St. Louis, Missouri
Production: 1956-1957 | 6,339 (57')
Engine: 283 cu. in. 4.6 L V8
In 1951, Nash-Healey began selling a small, yet expensive two-seat sports car. GM’s chief designer, Harley Earl, based his “Project Opel” on the Nash-Healey but wanted to offer a more moderate priced version. Debuting on January 17th, 1953 at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel, as part of the kickoff to that year’s GM Motorama, the Corvette was named after a small, extremely maneuverable naval escort ship. It is also known as the EX-122. Originally designed as a show car, the Corvette generated enough buzz for GM to make a production version to sell to the public, which they did on June 30, 1953. 300 hand-built polo white Corvette convertibles were produced for their first 1953-model year.
The 1957 Corvette and others of this “first generation” of models were often referred to as the “solid-axle” models since the independent rear suspension was not introduced until the “second generation” versions in 1963. Also, the 1957 model was one of the first mass-produced engines in history to reach 1 bhp per cubic inch with Chevy’s advertising campaign using a “one hp per cubic inch” slogan for the 283 bhp, 283 cu in Small-Block engine.
An optional fuel injection system was made available in the middle of 1957, and this rare model comes fully equipped with it. A 4-speed manual transmission was also available after April 9, 1957. The Corvette has been produced through seven generations.