Amazing 1957 Chevrolet Corvette Super Sport Show Car

It isn’t unusual for manufacturers to produce one-off show cars, although the practice is less prevalent today than in years past. This 1957 Corvette Super Sport Show Car is a perfect example. The company created it to showcase emerging technology, and the Corvette eventually led a life of high adventure when its show days ended. The current owner recently performed a meticulous restoration on this classic, and it presents as well today as it did when it graced the show circuit. The time has come for it to head to a new home, so he has listed it for sale here at Mecum Auctions. It is located in Kissimmee, Florida, and he’s scheduled to go under the hammer on Saturday, January 15th, 2022.

For the 1957 model year, Chevrolet was set to introduce its new and state-of-the-art Rochester fuel-injection system into the Corvette range. The company wished to showcase this emerging technology in a way that would create the ultimate impact, so they decided to create the Super Sport. Its basis was a 1956 Corvette, which was serving time as a display vehicle at General Motors. The car was dispatched to the styling department and underwent numerous upgrades, including issuing a new VIN to designate it as a 1957 model. This Corvette rolled off the line wearing Venetian Red paint but was eventually refinished in a custom Pearlescent White mix with a Metallic Blue stripe. That was merely one of the changes that the department undertook. Others included lining the coves with brushed aluminum with dummy scoops and creating wider trim around the coves to create a more significant visual impact. Further notable changes include custom tail lights, and the original glass windshield was replaced with a custom cowl and a pair of Plexiglass bubble items reminiscent of those fitted to the SR-2 racing version. The styling department performed other subtle modifications, and the result was that this car generated significant interest when it hit the show circuit. It was common practice for these cars to be destroyed once their useful life had ended, but that wasn’t the case with this vehicle. Chevrolet eventually sold it to Shurley Wilsie, who was a partner in Wilsie-Kelley Chevrolet, located in Caro, Michigan. From there, things took a turn for the worse for this Corvette. It was competing in an illegal drag race in 1960 when the driver lost control of the car. It ended its journey parked against a telephone pole. The impact inflicted significant damage, and the Corvette eventually found its way to a junkyard. A new owner rescued it from almost certain death and placed the vehicle in storage in an unrestored state until he parted with it in 1997. The current owner purchased it at that point and undertook a meticulous restoration to return this classic to its former glory. It presents superbly, with no faults or flaws worth noting. The paint shines beautifully, and all of those original and significant design features remain intact. It rests on a U.S. Royal XP-140 narrow whitewall tires that feature Corvette crossed flags on the sidewalls. U.S. Royal produced only five sets of these tires, and this car wears the only set known to exist today. Such is the significance of this classic that the owner has commenced the process of obtaining an NCRS Heritage Award for the Super Sport. All that is left for the buyer to do is to display this classic at an NCRS national meet, and the organization will issue that Heritage Award in their name.

When it rolled off the production line, this Corvette featured the standard 265ci V8 available in 1956. It’s no surprise to find that the original motor was consigned to the pages of history, and in its place is the 283ci V8 complete with Rochester fuel injection. That gave this classic the distinction of producing one horsepower per cubic inch, making it a precursor to the ’57 Corvette’s claim as one of the first mass-produced engines to achieve this feat. Bolted to the back of this beautiful V8 is a three-speed close-ratio manual transmission. The company produced the Super Sport to showcase this new technology, so the attention to detail under the hood was second to none. The original aluminum valve covers were treated to a coat of shiny chrome, while the fuel injection system inhales via a one-piece chrome air cleaner. Various components under the hood were painted to match the stripe that runs the length of the car, while its creators added chrome to the horn relay and voltage regulators. The remaining items were cleaned and polished to their sparkling best. The owner’s restoration has recaptured this former glory, and the engine bay presents perfectly.

As well as being the first Chevrolet to be displayed with fuel injection, this Corvette has one other claim to fame. The custom interior includes leather upholstery on the seats, making this the first Corvette of any description with that feature. The leather is tanned in a rich blue that matches the longitudinal exterior stripe, and the designers carried this theme to the dash and door trims. The door trims themselves are a work of art. As well as the blue upholstery, the designers mimicked the aluminum finish of the exterior coves into each door trim and added three courtesy lights. The floors wear custom aluminum inserts with blue leather heel pads. This Corvette is the first to feature a console, and this one includes magnetic cup holders. The driver grips a custom solid-spoked wood-rim wheel, and they look through this at a bespoke tachometer. There are other features and detail changes throughout the interior. The best way to appreciate these is to examine the photos I’ve included at the bottom of this article. Every time you look at them, you will see something new.

Many one-off show cars from the 1950s and 1960s were crushed by their creators once their useful life had ended. A few notable exceptions to this rule exist today, including the Lincoln Futura (as the original Batmobile) and the Packard Predictor. We can add the 1957 Corvette Super Sport to that list, and many people will be glad that it survives in such fantastic condition. This car is a stunning example of what was possible if company management allowed its styling department to have free reign. It is impossible to estimate the eventual sale price on this classic, but I won’t be surprised if the bidding climbs into seven-figure territory. This auction could be one to watch.

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Comments

  1. Melton Mooney

    Wow! Extreeeeemely cool.

    Like 7
  2. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Gorgeous, that’s saying the least to describe this car. I’m sure it’s going to go for a pretty price too.

    Like 5
  3. Joe Haska

    I agree I can’t imagine what this car will sell for. In 2004 the F-85 Olds went for 3 plus million at B/J. I knew the seller of that car and was there, it was crazy. I knew that F-85 well up close and in person. I would rather have this car anytime. If I am any indication of what people think (who knows if I am) . This car could break records for any Corvettes.

    Like 6
    • Frank Sumatra

      I’ll bet this car came out of the Warhoops salvage yard in Michigan where many GM Show cars ended up to be rescued by Joe Bortz.

      Like 5
      • Clay Bryant

        As per your inquiry, my initials are CB. You wouldn’t happen to have an R for a middle initial?

    • Will Fox

      Joe, that Olds that sold @ BJ was one of four built in `54. It was actually called the “F88”. Only 3 of the original 4 are known to exist today. Too bad Olds never got the green light to build such a competitor to Chevy’s Corvette!

      Like 3
      • John

        Will Fox,
        How did the F88 lose 30 years or so of history.?
        Ended up in Palm Springs in boxes, correct ?
        Found at EL Cords home ?
        I have a letter that talks of another brand new early 56 custom vette being hand delivered at the factory from Zora and Harley, right from the newly built design studio, could this be like this car?
        Respectfully,
        John

        Like 2
  4. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Wow, Mecum is killing it with the uber rare C1 ‘vettes

    Like 3
  5. Joe Haska

    Will, You might be right F-88 ,F-85 , the only thing I would say , I was very much in the middle of things when the Car was being sold at B/J. The owner was Gordon Apker, he has since passed away. He and I were friends for about 40 years and he was an avid car collector, very wealthy and quite a personality in many ways. He paid about 150 grand for the car and basically did nothing to it but have the paint, color sanded and polished. What he do do was find every piece of memorabilia or literature he could find on the car. In short he marketed the car to the Nth degree. Craig Jackson also jumped on board and did the same thing. There was a tremendous amount of hype on this car even for B/J. The story about the 4 cars has been told many times. When you hear it allot , and think about it, it is sketchy to say the least. You might even say the marketing of the car was a little like a snake oil salesman sells his product. I would not goes as far as to say someone lied, but allot of the history of the car might not be a 100 % accurate. I am just saying check your facts before you believe everything about this car and its history. Some of it is more like folklore than fact.

    Like 5
  6. joenywf64

    Why would this car have to be restored with only 4300 miles on it? It should have been babied & stored like no other vette, except maybe the concept ones.
    I bet you would be less likely to get a ticket today driving this car with that “windshield” – than with having loud mufflers(& even radio!) back in the day on anything – i know – i got summons for both & had to spend a WHOLE DAY! in court for a loud mickey mouse radio with no subwoofer & $150 fine in the early 90s! I’m still mad as hell. lol
    Those tires have skinnier tread than my 4/$99 185-75r14 pepboys tires had.

    Like 2
    • Frank Sumatra

      I have to assume the “R” in “Rj” stands for “Richard” or as you are probably better known “Dick”

  7. Steve Clinton

    This car belongs in a museum.

    Like 4
  8. Last 1LE

    I would be great for this car to end up on display at the National Corvette Museum, to be seen and appreciated by tens of thousands of enthusiasts, rather than to disappear, unseen, into a private collection

    Like 8
    • John S Dressler

      Couldn’t agree more Last 1LE. Unfortunately, this one will likely end up in some guy’s collection as his most recent trophy never to be seen by mortal man again. The only way this one is likely to see the light of day again after it sells at Mecum is if someone like Jay Leno buys it. At least we’d see it again sometime on one of his Jay Leno’s Garage episodes.

  9. Last 1LE

    Oops! Quick correction to my above comment. It should read, “It would be great…” not, “I would be great…” I may be old enough to be a museum piece, but I am definitely not display worthy.

    Like 13
  10. john

    Does anybody know how and why GM, >> Zora and Harley built the vette for SCCA racing?
    Furthered by International racing?
    Trying to complete a 32 year research project.
    Respectfully
    John

    Like 1
    • Frank Sumatra

      International Motor Racing Research Museum, Watkins Glen, New York.

  11. John

    joenywf64,
    as Joe Haska stated which is spot on, sometimes it takes decades for true stories to surface with documentation.
    One rumor, but I think is true, one burned up, one was destroyed? on the other, other went from GM to Cords place in Ca. Mystery, not really.
    Respectfully,
    John

    Like 2
  12. scottymac

    Wonder how much Harley Earl and Chubbalay had to pay Powell Crosley to use the Super Sport name?

    https://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z15430/Crosley-Super-Sport.aspx

    Memory is fuzzy, seems there was a foreign car to use the name even before Crosley.

  13. Hound59

    Why in the world do Prototypes, Show cars, etc get destroyed? Is it so they can’t be replicated? Just wondering….

    Like 1
    • Jace F.

      Because most of them aren’t road worthy or don’t have any safety equipment installed. The car would also have to be crash-tested to be certified.

      Like 5
      • Hound59

        Thanks.

    • Clay Bryant

      I have one of the 15 BMWi8 prototypes, Won’t be destroyed. I’m knocking on 77 and it will be sold to a good collector soon at a very reasonable price, and I do mean reasonable. Piece of artwork to me.

      Like 1
  14. Chris

    I am in love. Sorry wife.

    Like 1
  15. Bob

    This is probably the COOLEST first generation Corvette still in existence! I am sure that it will bring the owner a very nice payday!

    Like 1
  16. CeeOne

    The 12 year old me really liked this car. Corvette’s enemy was weight. This car always looked heavier than it needed to be. The racing version, the SR2 had to be heavier than a stock car. The soon to be 77 year old me still likes the car, but doesn’t love it. This is a modified Corvette. Very different than the Pontiac Bonneville, the Olds F88 and the Buick Wildcat. Those were meant to compete with the Corvette. And the Corvette wasn’t selling that well, so they would not have had a chance.

  17. Jon.in.Chico

    The Chevy fuel injected 283/283 wasn’t the first engine with one horsepower per cubic inch … that achievement belongs to the 1956 Chrysler 300B with a 354 cubic inch hemi engine that put out 355hp …

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