RARE COLD-AIR INDUCTION SYSTEM HIGHLIGHTS 60-PLUS YEARS OF PERFORMANCE DEVELOPMENT
Nineteen fifty-seven was a pivotal year for the Chevrolet Corvette. It was the first year for a four-speed transmission, while its Small Block V-8 grew to 283 cubic inches (4.6L) and offered mechanical fuel injection. Those “fuelie” models established a new performance benchmark by delivering one horsepower for each cubic inch of displacement.
It was also the first year Chevrolet offered options dedicated to enhancing the Corvette’s track capability. They included option 579E, known as the “airbox” package, and option 684, which was a heavy-duty suspension package commonly known as the “big brake” package. The airbox package featured a special sealed air intake system that drew cooler air from the front of the engine compartment. That denser, cooler air helped the fuelie 283 run stronger during long races.
Only 43 1957 Corvette models were factory-equipped with the 579E airbox option, and Chevrolet is displaying one of them this week at the SEMA Show. It appears courtesy of Hendrick Performance and is paired with the 2018 Corvette Carbon 65 Edition, which features an all-new cold-air intake system that will be offered from Chevrolet in the first quarter of 2018.
These first- and seventh-generation show vehicles demonstrate the progression in performance technology over the past 60 years and the ways Chevrolet continually pushes the iconic Corvette harder on the track to offer stronger production models.
1957 CORVETTE ‘AIRBOX’
- Wheelbase: 102 inches
- Curb weight: 2,849 pounds (base model)
- Engine: 283 cubic inches with mechanical fuel injection
- Bore x stroke: 3.875 x 3.000 inches
- Compression ratio: 10.5:1
- Horsepower: 283 @ 6,200 rpm (gross rating)
- Torque: 300 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm (gross rating)
- Transmission: four-speed manual
- Rear axle: Positraction with 4.11 ratio
RPO 579E ‘AIRBOX’ OPTION
- 283 fuel-injected engine with unique cold-air intake system
- 8,000-rpm tachometer relocated to the steering column
- Heavy-duty right-side engine mount
- Heater and radio were mandatory deletions
- Revised spark plug wire routing without regular-production shielding
RPO 684 HEAVY-DUTY RACING SUSPENSION ‘BIG BRAKES’ OPTION
- Heavy-duty, higher-rate coil springs and shock absorbers in the front suspension
- Larger-diameter front stabilizer bar
- Additional leaf spring and heavy-duty shock absorbers in the rear suspension
- Quicker-ratio steering
- Finned cast iron brake drums with metallic linings
- Vented brake drum backing plates
- Brake-cooling air scoops and ducts
- 15 x 5-inch steel wheels