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Lot 337A: Chevrolet Corvette Fuelie

The Scottsdale Sale, Bonhams & Butterfields (19 January 2012)

*283ci, 290hp fuel-injected V8 *Four-speed manual transmission

*Documented Boyd Coddington rotisserie restoration *One of the 745 fuelies built *Desirable, Roman Red color scheme

When Chevrolet introduced the Corvette in 1953, it had that dream car allure, but what was missing was some moxie  the Blue Flame Six paired to a Powerglide automatic was hardly sports car material. An infusion of V-8 power and three-speed manual for 1955 helped things considerably and helped give the Corvette a stay of execution. With a redesign and fuel injection over the next two years, the Corvette gave America its sports car contender.

A heavy 1958 facelift made for a flashier Corvette, but it was also a more competent Corvette. It grew nine inches in length, and the dashboard was redesigned to put all the instruments in front of the driver. For 1959, the hood louvers and chrome trunklid spears were removed for a cleaner look outside; inside, repositioned armrests and redesigned seats made the Corvette a better driver's car. A new performance upgrade for 1959 was the RPO 686 sintered-metallic brake linings, which smoothed out braking performance and needed less warming up for peak performance.

Five 283s were available in 1959, starting with 4 bbl. carburetor and 230 horsepower. Options from multiple carburetion, fuel injection, and/or solid lifters delivered up to 290 horsepower.

Performance for 1959 was light-years ahead of the Corvette from a few years before. Road & Track tested the 290-hp fuel injected motor with 4.11 gears and achieved 0-60 in 6.8 second and 14.9 seconds at 96mph in the quarter mile  performance that wasn't common in Detroit's sedans for a few more years.

This Roman Red Corvette is one of 745 built with the 283/290 fuel injected motor, making it among the most desirable Corvettes from the late-1950s. And even in a sea of red Corvettes, this one stands out: Boyd Coddington gave it a rotisserie restoration, so you know the attention to detail is first-rate. For example, the headlight buckets and doors  traditional weak links  have stellar fit and finish. Other details have not been overlooked either, from casting numbers to date codes (of which a list can be referenced at the car's display). Renowned experts Chuck Smith & Company handled the fuel injection chores for good long-term purr. And, of course, there's the four-speed transmission.

This 1959 Corvette comes with photo documentation and restoration receipts to show the time and expense taken to get things done right. But this is one of Boyd's cars, so it's easy to be see this is the Corvette in which to get your kicks.

Lot Details
Auction The Scottsdale Sale
Bonhams & Butterfields, Arizona, Scottsdale
Lot Number337A
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$90000
Hammer Price (inc premium)$105300
Condition rating0
Registration number
Chassis numberJ59S109258
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2