Chevrolet pulled something amazing out of the hat for 1957: Fuel Injection. First run in 1956 at
the Sebring race, the Rochester Ramjet injection was an answer to Mercedes-Benz which featured fuel injection in the 1954
300SL. The innovation solved a fuel starvation problem caused by sloshing while cornering with carbureted engines under race
conditions. The fuel injection system, displayed in a cutaway drawing to the left, also enabled Chevrolet to boast of 1 hp
per cubic inch of displacement with the 283 cu. in., 283 hp engine.
To keep this development in perspective, consider this. Almost all of the high priced supposedly advanced
competition -- including Jaguar, Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini -- did not go with fuel injection until the 1970s or later.
The new system was complex and costly however. At $484.20, the one option added over 15% of the price
of an entire Corvette. Buyers found it irresistible however, with 1,040 checking the box on the order form. The complexity
also resulted in a high maintenance reputation.
Not up for debate is the way the market treats fuel injected Corvettes of the era. Corvette enthusiasts
went for it in a big way in 1957 and more so 50 years later as a collectable; the price premium for a "Fuelie" as they are
often called is significantly higher than their more mundane carbureted cousins.
1957 and subsequent Corvettes proudly wore their new technological identities on the front fenders
and trunk lids.
There was more good go-fast news for Corvette buyers in 1957. Just south of the clutch, a new four
speed manual transmission became available as of April 9, 1957. 664 1957 Corvettes were so equipped at an extra cost of $188.30.
Special four speeds had been installed in some race cars, so apparently the "More is Better" philosophy applied.
Also available in 1957: RPO 684, a racing suspension intended for serious racers. The cost was $780.10
and was installed on only 51 Corvettes in 1957.