As heritage-laden as the Z06 is, it’s by no means the only iconic high-performance Corvette. Chevrolet’s sports car has a long history of even-sportier trims, like ‘ZR1’ and ‘Grand Sport.’ But even amongst this hallowed crowd, there’s one Corvette that stands out strong: the one-of-one 1957 Corvette Super Sport. And soon, a lucky enthusiast will get the chance to buy this historic classic Corvette’s next owner.
The 1957 Corvette Super Sport started the SS badge’s history with a fuel-injected V8 roar
An ‘SS’ badge on a Chevrolet has always signified something special—something especially fast, that is. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, there was the Chevelle SS and Camaro SS. Then, in the ‘90s, Chevrolet launched the Impala SS. And up until a few years ago, you could buy the Chevrolet SS, a V8-powered, rear-wheel-drive sports sedan.
That ‘SS’ stands for ‘Super Sport,’ and it dates to the 1957 Corvette Super Sport, Road & Track explains. Although it’s technically based on a 1956 Corvette, this is the first Chevrolet to bear the ‘Super Sport’ script. And the special sauce starts as soon as you look under the hood.
The Corvette’s first major performance boost came in 1955 when Chevrolet swapped out the six-cylinder for a V8. And a year later, Chevy finally gave its sports car a manual. But the 1957 Corvette Super Sport has something no ‘normal’ 1956 model got—fuel injection.
Chevrolet built this car specifically to show off its “revolutionary new” Ramjet mechanical fuel injection system, Mecum says. Considering that the very first fuel-injected road car, the Mercedes 300SL Gullwing, was only three years old, ‘revolutionary’ is an appropriate word. And not only was Ramjet fuel injection more efficient and easier to live with than carburetors, but it also offered more performance, Hagerty notes. In base carbureted form, the Corvette’s 4.6-liter V8 made 220 hp; with Ramjet, it made up to 283 hp.
Theoretically, that’s enough for the 1957 Corvette Super Sport to go 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds. That’s respectable even by modern standards.
It might be a classic show car, but the 1957 Corvette Super Sport is ready to race
The reason for the ‘theoretically’ part is three-fold. Firstly, the 1957 Corvette Super Sport still has a close-ratio three-speed manual, rather than the regular 1957 model’s four-speed. Secondly, Chevrolet gave the show car some extra upgrades, including a performance camshaft and off-road performance exhaust system. So, it could have over 283 hp.
But, most importantly, the 1957 Corvette Super Sport never officially raced. After its January 1957 debut, GM showed it off a few times before selling it to a private owner, R&T says. It then reappeared in the mid-1960s after it crashed into a telephone pole. This one-of-one classic Corvette then sat around until 1997, when its current owner bought it and started restoring it. Its last major public appearance was in 2017 when it won an award at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
However, even before the restoration, the 1957 Corvette Super Sport was set up for the racetrack, and not just with a fuel-injected V8. It also has rear brake ducts, dual Plexiglas windscreens, a unique tachometer, and a console-mounted clip for rally pace notes. And in addition to the exhaust and camshaft, the V8 also has a one-piece louvered chrome air cleaner and aluminum valve covers. Plus, the Super Sport has aluminum floor panels, leather heel pads, safety lighting, and padded armrests.
The 1957 Corvette Super Sport has show car style, too
The 1957 Corvette Super Sport is also an early preview into later Corvette history. This is the first classic Corvette with a center console, for example. And it has magnetized cups with a matching thermos in the glovebox. Yes, this is a 1950s car with cupholders.
But being a show car, the 1957 Corvette Super Sport has some custom touches, too. The generator, steering column, and wiper motor are all painted blue to match the exterior stripes and interior leather. Those magnetic cups are blue as well. Meanwhile, the horn relay and generator regulator covers are chromed. Also, the side covers are wider than stock, and are made of chromed brass instead of stainless steel, R&T reports. And the wooden steering wheel, metal ribbed transmission tunnel cover, taillight divider, and pedals are all one-off designs, Mecum says.
This unique, iconic Corvette could be yours
As noted earlier, the Super Sport has been in its current owner’s hands since 1997. But on January 15, 2022, it’s crossing Mecum’s auction block in the 2022 Kissimmee auction. As such, it’s a unique opportunity to potentially win a truly unique classic Corvette.
However, it won’t come cheap. Due to its one-of-one nature and lack of auction history, determining its market value “is nearly impossible,” Hagerty muses. But for what it’s worth, Mecum estimates a final sale price of $1.75-$2 million. And keep in mind, a pristine 1957 Corvette goes for almost $200K these days, Hagerty notes.
Still, this is a chance to own a key piece of Super Sport history.
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