1959 Fuelie Corvette

Today, someone with a decent stash of cash seeking to buy a high performance sports or muscle car has a sizeable selection to choose from. Those wishing to confine their choices to U.S. shores can consider Vipers, Camaros, Mustangs, Firebirds, Corvettes, and a host of other vehicles. Then, of course, there's the foreign machinery - Porsches, BMWs, and so on.

The same was not true in 1959, when someone itching to rule the stop light drag racing scene or his local road race activity only had one viable choice. To be the leader of the pack he had to make a beeline for his nearest Chevrolet dealership and order up a fuel injected Corvette.

Of course, there were some credible and even a few incredible foreign sports cars available back then, but they were far more expensive and troublesome to buy and own. Road & Track summed this sentiment up in the January 1959 issue when they said of the Corvette: "It probably has more performance per dollar than anything you could buy and parts are obtainable without sending to Italy, Germany, or England."

Rochester Products' mechanical fuel injection system first became available on Corvettes in 1957 and it immediately set new high water marks for performance. That first year it delivered a then-revolutionary one horsepower per cubic inch when bolted to a high compression, solid-lifter 283.

The fuel injection system was improved in some subtle ways in 1958 and then again in 1959, the year our feature car was built. Besides giving more power and better drivability, the improvements also reduced the risk of severe fuel leakage and resulting engine damage (and sometimes even fire) seen with the earliest setups.

In 1959, as in all years up through '62, fuel injection was offered in two different states of tune. For reduced maintenance and greater civility, the lower output version featured hydraulic lifters, a mild camshaft profile, and relatively low compression. This option, which found its way into only 175 cars, delivered 250 horsepower.

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Source: Corvette Magazine

Submitted by Phil Ellison