#0091 - Chevrolet Corvette Fuel Injected Roadster, 1959
Photographed: Saint Michaels Concours d'Elegance, 2011. Owner: Al and Barbara Mason
Maturing in the Cask: The period of 1958 to 1962 saw steady improvements in quality as minor cosmetic changes came and went. We might look at this stage in Corvette history as a very long interim period during which the car was allowed to simmer and mature on the open market, turning a yearly profit for the first time in its development, while also gestating a few of the styling cues penned as early as 1957 that will eventually deploy as the 1963 Sting Ray.
Dimensions remained fixed through these five years, although horsepower certainly increased. 1958 was the break point between a more delicate, early Corvette and a decidedly heartier proposition—with nearly ten inches extra wheelbase, quad headlamps, and Rochester fuel injection joining the fray—and this formula would do very well on the whole. The only major addition was 1961's ducktail rear end, forming something of a bridge car between generations. But, for 1959 and 1960, steady was the word.
The 1959 Year: Keynotes for any Corvette follower have to do with reduction, as the 1959 model lost the frivolous louvres on the bonnet and flashy chrome strips down the rear deck lid. Minor instrumentation changes happened inside. The following year, even less would change, a different stitch pattern on the seats being the only physical difference. Apart from that, 1960 Corvettes were offered in a number of different colors, so if the paint on a given example can be confirmed original, it might then help in identification more reliably than any other feature of outward appearance.
A Classic Presentation: Our 1959 roadster is a gleaming example of the traditional Roman Red with a Classic Cream cove. The depth of paint, however, was so striking in person that I wonder if this car hasn't received a fair number of coats more than the factory would have given it, (showfield information cites a frame off restoration). Beyond, all of the detailing is immaculate, with the badging, emblems, and brightwork portraying spotless perfection and clarity. For this reason, I decided it would be hard to pass up photographing it simply because the visual impact is so great. In particular, I love the iridescence of the Corvette roundel, which on this day looked just that much more impressive.
WebCars.com: Featuring a complete year-by-year history of the Corvette including options pricing and trim choices.
Collectible Automobile, June 1992, 1958-62 Chevrolet Corvette: At Risk of Extinction, by James M. Flammang
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