Watch some old school fun in this ride-along video from the passenger-side seat of this racing 1956/1957 Corvette.
Dateline: 11.13.18 – Corvette racecars from the 1950s look absolutely prehistoric from our modern perspective. They were 100-percent mechanical beasts. This video beautifully captures the sights and sounds of this old world racing Corvette.
Back in the day, just like today, Corvettes had plenty of grunt and only needed improved suspension and brakes. That’s what Chevy’s RPO racing parts program was all about. Chevrolet general manager, Ed Cole, charged engineers Zora Arkus-Duntov and three-time Indy 500 winner Mauri Rose, with running the program.
Duntov oversaw the engineering in Detroit and tested the special parts at the GM Proving Ground, and Rose was the field engineer that worked with Smokey Yunick and various racers to field test and improve the parts. By the end of the 1959s, Corvettes were winning championships and were beginning to dominate.
Just for some contrast, I’ve included an in-car video from one of the C7.R Corvettes. Here’s Tommy Milner in the C7.R at Daytona in 2014.
Mr. Duntov took care of “his customers” that wanted to go racing!
Dateline: 5-27-17 (Download link is at the bottom of this story) – Before the ax fell in 1957 thanks to the AMA Factory Racing Ban,Zora Arkus-Duntov was planning to take a team of his 1957 Corvette SS Racers to Le Mans. The completed SS Racer was an embarrassment at it’s 1957 Sebring debut and in fact, the Corvette SS mule car showed more promise. The car was rushed in its construction and was actually being finished inside the transported on route from Detroit to Sebring, Florida. Management seemed to be more interested in having the car look good than a developed racecar. In retrospect, the car was terribly underdeveloped. Then, right after the race, GM signed on with the AMA Racing Ban and as Duntov liked to say, the program came to, “… a screeching halt!”
But two major elements from the Corvette SS project survived and eventually made a significant impact on Corvette racing. The finished Corvette SS Racer with its magnesium body was converted into a show car and went on tour with a jet age bubble top. The rough mule car was stripped of it’s cobbled together fiberglass body and the chassis went into storage, only later in 1958/59, to be bought for a nominal fee by then-new GM VP of Styling, Bill Mitchell so that Wild Bill could go racing. His racing effort could in no way look like it was a GM-sponsored enterprise. Mitchell’s racing indulgence became the Stingray Racer, which was the public face of what would eventually become the 1963 Sting Ray.Continue reading “
Vintage 1959 Corvette Sports Car Equipment Guide – PDF Download!” →