For the first time, the Corvette that introduced fuel injection to GM heads to auction
The 1957 Chevrolet Corvette Super Sport that General Motors proudly paraded around the show circuit nearly 65 years ago was no ordinary Corvette. It was, in fact, a game changer—the first to feature high-performance Ramjet fuel injection.
Developed by the team of John Dolza, E.A. Kehoe, Donald Stoltman, and Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov, and manufactured by GM’s Rochester carburetor division, Ramjet fuel injection offered increased power and accelerator response, faster cold starts, smoother engine warm-ups, the elimination of carburetor icing, and better overall fuel economy.
The Rochester division tested two types of fuel injection methods: continuous flow, with the nozzle located directly outside each cylinder and spraying into the intake port; and timed, as in modern cars. The continuous-flow injection system was initially chosen due to its simplicity, and that’s what General Motors installed in the ’57 Corvette Super Sport that was unveiled at the New York Auto Show.
That famous Corvette will cross the block—for the first time ever—at Mecum’s 2022 Kissimmee Auction on Saturday, January 15, as one of the final cars in the 10-day event. The Super Sport’s historic fuel-injected 283-cubic-inch V-8 is rated at 283 horsepower and is mated to a manual three-speed gearbox. The engine features a one-piece louvered chrome air cleaner and factory-original chromed aluminum valve covers.
The show car, finished in Pearlescent White with blue stripes and brushed aluminum coves, has its original drivetrain, exhaust system, and blue-dyed leather seat covers, dash roll, and floor pan pads. The odometer shows 4372 miles. Among the Corvette’s notable features: a rally-inspired design with rear brake ducts, dual cut-down air-craft-style Plexiglass windscreens, custom tachometer, one-off solid-spoke wood-rimmed steering wheel, magnetized cup holders, unique door panels with armrests, safety lighting, tail lamps with unique divider trim, and one-off gas, clutch, and brake pedals. The car’s original U.S. Royal XP-140 whitewall tires, displaying the iconic Corvette crossed flags on sidewalls, are believed to be the only set of five in existence.
After the Super Sport completed the ’57 show circuit, it was sold to Ron Wilsie of Wilsie/Kelley Chevrolet in Caro, Michigan. It has been in the care of its current owner since 1997.
Faithfully and extensively restored to its original GM Motorama condition, it won the Presentation of Significant Cars Award at the 2017 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. It was also the recipient of the Historic Vehicle Association National Heritage award.
John Wiley, Hagerty’s manager of valuation analytics, says that since the Corvette has never been sold at auction, it is nearly impossible to determine its value before the bidders do. For comparison, a production 1957 Chevrolet Corvette with 283/283 fuel-injection V-8 has a #2-condition (Excellent) value of $136,000. The record for a 1957 Chevrolet Corvette is $605,000 for serial #1 at Barrett-Jackson’s 2016 Scottsdale Auction.
Could this one give it a run for its money? We’ll find out in 80 days.