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.