Experimental Corvette -- SS

General Motors recruited engineer and race car driver, Zora Arkus Duntov, to help them inject some performance into their brands. Duntov wanted to make the Corvette competitive with sports cars from Europe like Ferrari and Maserati. To gain respect it needed to win on the track. He organized a team to build the SS or "Experimental Corvette" and took it to Sebring.

More Videos...


Corvette SS at Sebring Race Day 1957
The Chevrolet Corvette 'SS' is an experimental magnesium-bodied car and set a new lap record at Sebring, Florida, in 1957. It has served as the forerunner of many Corvette sports/racing models. The Corvette SS raced for the first time at Sebring, where suspension problems and other mechanical defects forced its retirement after only 23 laps. General Motors was enthusiastic about the potential of the SS based on results from practice and lap speeds. Juan Manuel Fangio, the winner at Sebring in 1957, was impressed enough with the car to test the SS under practice conditions. The results was astonishing: Fangio completed a full lap a full 3:27.4 seconds faster in a car he had never driven before than other drivers could in cars they were experienced driving.





Corvette SS Preps for Race at Sebring 1957
The 1957 Corvette SS 'concept car', was built in order to race at the 24 Hours of LeMans. Two chassis were built, 'the Mule' and the car to be raced. Its first race would be the test for its preparations at LeMans. This race at the 12 Hours of Sebring would determine whether it could take on the world at LeMans. Famed engineer, Zora Arkus-Duntov, had lead a team of engineers to build this ultra-lightweight (1850 lbs) and powerful (307 horsepower) racing car. They were inspired by the Mercedes 300SL Gullwing and the Birdcage Maserati. To keep weight down, they used a magnesium body that surrounded a tubular steel frame with coil-over-shock front suspension, a de Dion rear axle and aluminum drum brakes. Its fuel-injected small-block V8 could turn out 307 horsepower at 6,400 RPM. Great Cars MR QT





Harley Earl - GM Designer Extraordinaire
Harley Earl, the larger than life, first head of styling for a major automobile manufacturer gave the world the joy of excess in color, chrome and steel. Recruited by GM in the late 20s to transform its drab autos and make them stand out from the offerings of its competitors, Earl transformed the industry and the American psyche. He invented the annual model change over, the concept car and put swagger and some Hollywood panache into a staid industry. While its hard to defend his buoyant designs as fine art, he captured the imagination of millions worldwide, especially in Post WWII America, who embraced the outlandish vehicles as proof that there will be a big and better tomorrow. He knew how to create and sell dreams. Which is what he learned from his neighbor, C. B. DeMille. S079





Fascinating 1936 Footage of Car Assembly Line
Filmed in 1936 at the Chevrolet Plant in Flint, Michigan.




Follow