Special Collection at Bloomington Gold: 1957 Corvette

Each year the Bloomington Gold Corvette Show designates one year’s Corvette for the designation "Special Collection".  This year the selected vehicle was the 1957 Corvette, celebrating as it is it’s fiftieth year.  A special air conditioned hall at the Pheasant Run Resort, St. Charles, Illinois, was home to the selected vehicles for the duration of the show.

Given special attention in the display were several editions of the famous racing 1957 Airbox Corvette.  Several examples of the 43 that were built were present.  These cars were equipped with both (Regular Production Option) RPO684 which included the heavy duty brakes and suspension, and RPO579E, which included an airbox which increased horsepower by capturing cooler, higher density air, forcing it to the fuel injectors; and additional hosing ducts to cool the rear brakes to restrain the performance when necessary.  23 Airbox Vettes are known to survive today.


The original owner, Bill Howe, was a Chevrolet dealer and amateur SCCA racer from Middletown, Ohio, who along with racing buddy Jack Knab, flew to the St. Louis Assembly Plant on May 16, 1957 to take delivery.  Then they drove immediately to Cumberland, Maryland, just in time to prepare for the National SCCA race being held on May 19.  As a testament to the vehicle’s prowess, amateur Bill Howe took third place, behind only Dick Thompson and Carroll Shelby!

The vehicle I have shown now belongs to Bill Connell and Joel Lauman of the Cincinnati area, who are in the process of finishing the restoration.  Let me point out that your Corvette Blogger and the gentleman who co-owns this vehicle are two very different Bill Connell’s, although we are both Scottish in origin.


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9 Responses to Special Collection at Bloomington Gold: 1957 Corvette

  1. jason manning says:

    I have a 57 airbox, and am thinking of selling, but need to find more info on it. Are there any sites that you know of?

  2. Michele says:

    My dad also had a ’57 Air Box Corvette. Please let me know what yours is appraised as. We also may want to sell. My name is Michele and my husband is Lou. My dad passed away.

  3. Bill says:

    CorvetteBlog knows of no websites dedicated to the Air Box Corvette, although it would make sense to have one.

    An attempt could be made to track the history of each of the cars.

    For those wishing to appraise or sell one of these rare beauties, CorvetteBlog recommends beginning with a check of the quarterly magazine, Keith Martin’s Corvette Market.

    A professional appraisal is likely well worth the expense.

  4. Jim Gessner says:

    I have followed these air box cars and other 684 heavy suspension and brake ‘race type’ Corvettes for some time. I know people looking for cars and parts. In late October 2007 we found another ‘air box’ car that was unknown. Would love to meet anyone with a car so you can meet the other people in our group. Bill has done a lot for the hobby by sharing his car with the world.

  5. larry says:

    can anyone tell me the correct placement of the f.i.script and cross flags on the front fender of a 1957

  6. Bob Mason says:

    I read the article in “Automobile” magazine on Peter Brock about how he sketched the drawings that would become the 63 corvette. The reference to the renderings caught my interest. I actually have two original renderings one dated 10-20-1957 using blue pencil a second dated 10-18-57 drawn in red pencil. one represents the 50′s model the second the 67 model. Any idea’s who I could contact to learn more about these drawings.

  7. shane spontini says:

    i have a 57 corvette fuel injection unit with air cleaner. i dont have the distributor. im looking to sell but im not sure what to ask. if anyone is interested or can give me some idea on what its worth please email me. unit tag # 7014520 fuel meter #7014522 air meter #7014521

  8. lyle davidson says:

    hey shane,
    give me a call about the 4520 unit thanks lyle davidson

  9. william Keogh says:

    anyone know if the Gorries Chevrolet of Toronto Ontario Canada 1957 fuelie race car raced in 1957 by Ed Leavans was an “airbox” car. It was all red in colour. Does it still EXIST ??? if so what is Vin#

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