No Limits Magazine from Wild About Cars
Profiling High Performance Cars and the Golden Era of Detroit Iron
- We Bring History to Life and Put Resources in the Hands of the Enthusiast -
Friday May 16, 2014
Fast Friday: Performance Car Chronicles 1957, '55 DeSoto, '61 Ford 390, '67 GTX 440, '86 Corvette Ads, Pontiac Paint Codes - and Much More!

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1957: the first crest of the performance wave!
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Did You Miss These?
Stories From the Past Week

80 More Lingenfelter Photos Added

Lingenfelter Record Shattering Corvettes

Performance Car Chronicles
Check Out Part One!

1951 Hudson Ad

1970 Pontiac GTO
Ram Air IV Road Test

1970 Pontiac Ram Air IV Test

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 Bel Air.

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!

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!

Get the 1957 Feel - Check Out These Stories:

To see 1957 Chevrolet Ads - Click HERE!

To see the 1957 Ford Brochure - Click HERE!

To see 1957 Rambler Rebel Tests - Click HERE!

To see a Chrysler 300 Road Test - Click HERE!


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1955 DeSoto Test

1955 DeSoto Fireflite Road Test

Motor Trend Magazine tested the 1955 DeSoto Fireflite in their April 1955issue. At the time the Fireflite was the top of the line DeSoto - this year the Hemi was up to 291 cid with a 4-bbl carb. Equipped with Powerflite 2-speed auto, the car's new engine cut 5 full seconds off the 0-60 time and 3 seconds off the 1/4 mile. They said: "The DeSoto held up remarkable well under the roughest tryouts . . ." See what else the testers had to say.

Click here to read more about the 1955 DeSoto Test!

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1961 Ford Galaxie 390 Test 1961 Ford Galaxie 390 Road Test

Motor Life Magazine tested the newly introduced 390 cid V8 in their March 1961 issue. The 390 replaced the 352 as Ford's top engine for that year - however it was only the 300 HP version not the 330 or 375 HP models that could get 'er done. While their car was equipped with a non-performance 2.91 axle, they were still impressed with the power. They touted the new brakes and improved handling as well. See what the testers had to say.

Click Here to read about the 1961 Galaxie 390 Test

1967 Plymouth GTX 440 Test 1967 Plymouth GTX 440 Road Test

Car Life Magazine tested the 1967 GTX 440 in their March 1967 issue. The article not only covered this new model, but extensively covered the new 440 cid engine that was its standard power plant (Hemi optional). They were impressed with the handling, comfort and acceleration of the car, but turned off by the quality control in manufacturer. (The dealer did remedy all ills). Regardless, they loved the car: "there is a great deal of virtue . . ." See what else they said.

Click Here to read about the 1967 Plymouth GTX Test

Hot Stuff from Wild About Cars!
1986 Corvette Ad Modern Muscle - 1986 Corvette Ads.

1986 was a significant year for Corvette: power was up, ABS was offered, and they had the Indy Pace Car! Check out these period ads and see the beginnings of the return to Corvette excitement that would only improve over the next decade!

Check out the 1986 Corvette Ads - Click HERE!

Pontiac Paint Codes 1946-1979 Pontiac Color Codes & Mix Codes in"Techipedia".

UPDATE: Three decades of Pontiac Paint Codes have been added to the Techipedia Pages. Each paint code links directly to the Ditzler website and will display each & every paint manufacturer's mix code for that color. Click on the color code name to be sent to specific paint mix code.

Click HERE to go to the Pontiac Paint Codes

Edelbrock Crate engines with EFI
Product News - Edelbrock E-Street Fuel Injection Now Available on a Complete Crate Engine

Edelbrock's E-Street EFI crate engine delivers up to 338 horsepower and 389 ft-lbs. of torque, along with modern and easy to use fuel injection, on a budget. This 350 cubic-inch engine is built from a brand new GM 4-bolt main short block with a 2-piece rear main seal. It features a cast iron crankshaft and connecting rods with cast aluminum pistons. This engine is the ultimate crate engine for any budget muscle car, street rod or truck build . . .

CLICK HERE to find out about these Hot Crate Engines!

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