blank 05/21/14 03:03PM 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, NHRA Nationals, readers pics, Super Stock Racing

1957: The First Crest of the Performance Wave!
Guest Blog from Wild About Cars

1957: the first crest of the performance wave!

1957 Chevrolet FI Makes 1HP per CID

In 1957 Chevrolet touted the magical "1 HP per cu. in"
in their ads for the fuel injected Be lAir.

212 MPH Ford GT

Ford's brochure for the Thunderbird listed the Supercharged
300 HP option. NASCAR versions made better than 340 HP!

Pristine 1966 Toronado

Don Garlits' A Fuel Dragster in action in 1957.
In that year, an A/FD ran over 166 MPH.

1957 Rambler Rebel

The Rambler "Rebel" powered by the company's
327 V8 (no relationship to Chevrolets') could
out accelerate a "Fuelie" Corvette!

This article courtesy of Wild About Cars

    • The The Wild About Cars Website and Logo: Copyright 2006, 2008, 2011 Wild About Cars, LLC - All Rights Reserved.

by Wild About Cars staff - reprint with permission only

Detroit shows up with bigger V8's and lots of carbs!

In an all out effort to win on the NASCAR and USAC circuits as well as in the top stock classes at the drags, the Big 3 Manufacturers kept up a steady pace of development on their power plants.

If we look at the top engines offered in 1957, what we see is truly astounding. In just a few short years from the introduction of modern V8s, the manufacturers offered the following:

  • By 1956 at Ford, their little 239 cu. In. Y-block V8 was enlarged to 312 cu. in. In 1957 it could be ordered with two optional induction systems: a dual 4 bbl carburetor developed by Holley, with a solid lifter cam rated at 265 HP or a single 4 bbl carb solid lifter engine that used a McCullough VR-57 supercharger that was rated at 300 HP - but in racing trim, it developed a lot more.
  • By 1957 Chevrolet's 265 V8 had grown to 283 cu .in. it was now available with a dual Carter WCFB 4 bbl system and the famous 'Duntov' solid lifer cam for a rating of 270 HP, Or it was available with the Rochester fuel injection system developed for Corvette that raised the horsepower to to the magical 1 HP per cubic inch mark (283 HP).
  • Pontiac's engine was now enlarged to 347 cu. in. The "Trophy A" engine sported a 3–2 bbl carb set up and a solid lifter camshaft. This was good for 317 HP and used heavily in NASCAR. Oldsmobile's 303 cu. In. engine of 1949 was now a stout 371 cu. In. with the legendary J2 option of 3 – 2 bbl carbs rated at 300 HP. There was also a J-2R version with a special high lift-long duration cam version rated the same as the street car - but outlawed by NASCAR because of its dominating performance.
  • Chrysler was coming off stellar 1955/56 NASCAR seasons where the privately operated Kiekhaffer Chrysler 300s had dominated the series. His "Mercury Outboard" sponsored racing team won 16 consecutive races in the 1956 season (a record that still stands). In 1957, Chrysler released the 392 cid  Hemi in the  300 C and the Dodge version of the Hemi – D500 354 cu. in. with dual 4 bbls rated at 340 HP. Plymouth had a wedge head (poly) engine of 350 cu. In with dual 4 bbls rated at 290 HP. ALL had wins in NASCAR in 1957.
  • Even American Motors and Studebaker had high performance offerings, with the Rambler Rebel capable of performance matching the fuel injected Corvette and Studebaker's Golden Hawk featuring a supercharged V8.

1957 NASCAR Season

  • Ford had 13 wins with their 312 cid 300 HP cars – for 4 different drivers
  • Chevrolet had 16 wins with their fuel injected 283 cars for 3 different drivers
  • Oldsmobile had 4 wins with Lee Petty, Richard's dad.
  • Pontiac had a win with Cotton Owens.

Buck Baker, driving a 283 cid 283 HP Chevrolet was the NASCAR Champion that year with 10 wins.

Drag racing in 1957

With the growing popularity of stock cars at the drags, NHRA, in 1957, expanded the Stock classes from 4 to 6 and created the "Super Stock” category (S/S). Top Stock Eliminator at the 1957 NHRA Nationals was a 1957 Pontiac Star Chief with the 317 HP package hitting a speed at the end of the quarter mile of 97 MPH.

Nitro burning Chrysler Hemi engines were consistently running in the high 150 MPH range and were crowd favorites at the numerous southern California drag strips. In February, the team of Cook & Bedwell with a Chassis Research frame and a nitro burning 354 cu. in. Chrysler Hemi stunned the drag world with a run of  166.67 MPH at Lions Dragstrip in long Beach California . . .

To read more about the 1957 Performance Year - Click HERE!

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