Chevrolet’s four factory entires at Sebring, 1957.


I am 300 pages into Karl Ludvigsen’s latest book, Corvette, America’s Star Spangled Sports Car. Most Corvette books seem to just hit the highlights. Not so Karl’s book. It chronicles the incredible effort made by a few dedicated performance enthusiasts attempting to point the world’s largest corporation, General Motors, in a new direction. This is hard to do. I worked for GM.


This is a great view of the car. Shear, windswept…exciting.


Before reading Karl’s book, I dismissed the Corvette SS as mostly a styling exercise. Chevrolet’s racing effort was too little too late, and certainly not comparable to European factory racing efforts. To those companies, racing was part of their DNA. But considering the corporate obstacles that Duntov and Ed Cole had to overcome to create the car, and the Herculean effort it took to field not only the SS, but three other corporate sponsored Corvettes, it was an unbelieveable success no matter what the outcome. Add to that, the undeveloped Corvette SS was competitive. And it was a styling exercise to boot.



Corvette SS Mule at Sebring

Corvette SS Preps for Race at Sebring 1957

This film features the Corvettes and shows Stirling Moss and Jaun Fangio test driving the SS Mule at Sebring. They were both fast in the SS, and praised it. Read all about it in Karl Ludvigsen’s book.

Corvettes at Sebring, 1957

The two production Corvettes did well at Sebring.

Building the Corvette SS

  1. Mel Francis

    Review of the car’s specs reveals that this was GM’s Cobra, five years before Ford could achieve the task by proxy!

    ’57 SS weight- 1850 lbs, ’62 Cobra weight- 2170 lbs
    SS- 300 bhp, Cobra- 271 bhp
    SS wheelbase-92″, Cobra wheelbase-90″

    This is the shortest wheelbase Corvette ever produced and probably handles just like a Cobra, with the extra 2″ wheelbase providing a tad more directional stability at speed.

    If Duntov had been allowed to complete the five cars under construction at the time of the racing ban, I’ll wager that they would have become as notable as the five Grand Sport Corvettes. Pure fantasy here, but I’d love to see a performance comparison lap between this car and a ’62 Cobra.

  2. Ken Pickering

    In the video “Building the Corvette SS”, I see some old friends (most now departed) from Design Staff including Clare MacKichan, Ed Donaldson, Bob McLean, Joe Gilson and Wayno Husko. Those were the days of building great cars that excited people!

    Ken Pickering

  3. Thanks so much for this great info and your impressions of my Corvette book in its latest format.
    It didn’t hurt that I was at Sebring in ’57 when the SS raced! Thanks to research at the GM Archive in my latest version I have been able to present a vast amount of new information, including the startling fact that GM Styling paid for the build of the Corvette SS body! No wonder they went to such extremes in trying to make it as presentable as possible!

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