1957 Corvette SS


Vintage GM video of Building the Experimental Corvette SS.
An inside look at the construction of the car; many shots of Duntov.

About the Corvette SS

Led by the gifted Zora Arkus-Duntov, a team of engineers created this ultra-lightweight racecar: 1850 lbs, approx. 950 lbs. less than the 1957 production Corvette. The car had a 283ci iron block with aluminum cylinder heads and Ramjet fuel injection that produced 307 bhp.

Duntov convinced Harley Earl that a race car based on the stock Corvette did not stand a chance against the Ferraris and Maseratis at Sebring. GM would have to develop a purpose built racer. On July of 1956, work begins on Project XP-64, a sports/racer built for the upcoming race in Sebring. The car is named the Corvette SS (Super Spyder), or Sebring SS. A clay model of Zora’s design is made, and shown to management.

The SS was developed in only six months. In 1958, after it’s racing career ended, the car was clocked at over 183 mph! Success at Sebring for this stunning racer was unfortunately not in the cards. Although the SS was extremely fast for its day, a series of mechanical problems forced it to retire after 23 laps in the 1957 Sebring 12-Hour race. Shortly thereafter, the ban on factory-sponsored racing efforts by the Detroit manufacturers spelled the end of the SS project.—Source: Mario van Ginneken, www.corvettes.nl


Stingray Racer 1959 at Elkhart Lake

The Stingray Racer shows up at 2:43. Many great shots. Several GM show cars are on display, including the 1958 Corvette XP-700.



Building the 1953 Corvette or “Who Needs No Stinkin’ Gloves?”
I knew they were hand built, but this video gives a whole new appreciation for what that meant. Unbelievable.


Exclusive Tour of GM’s Designer Center
Autoline After Hours. Ed Welburn is your host.

  1. Java Junky

    Once again you’ve blown my doors off.
    Thanks so much for keeping this coming.

  2. If you’re interested in 50’s GM design history and the development of the SS and Mitchell’s XP 87 Stingray “Racer” in particular you might check out my new book on the subject, Corvette Sting Ray, Genesis of an American Icon. Lots of original studio art and GM photos, some never before seen. It can be ordered direct from BRE or on Amazon. Peter Brock


    Great job on the change, I also like the graphics and the way it is laid out. Beautiful.
    The SS and Stingray stories and videos are very interesting.

    I asked Bob Cumberford about the designers on the SS a couple years ago. He said he was there but did not partake in the design, that it was Harley Earl’s baby.
    You might ask him about it as he did an article that was published, sent it to me but I cannot find it.

    I see that I can contribute to the effort now and I will do that. I have an Opel Bitter CD now, I will send a couple of pictures and the design story as I was involved.

    All the best to all of the Deans garage pit crew,

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