1959 C1 Corvette

1959 Corvette Overview

Even Bill Mitchell, General Motors Design Chief, commented that the GM Styling practices of that era were too quick to “ladle on chrome with a trowel.” As the 1959 Corvette was nearing production, it was decided that, once again, the design teams would re-visit Corvette and clean up the overall appearance of the car.

Ironically, the 1958 ‘Vette, along with other Chevrolet models, had been the subject of more than a little criticism and ridicule for it’s excessive use of chrome plating and trim.As the previous model year began drawing to a close, Chevrolet basked ever so briefly in the fact that they had finally achieved sales and marketing success with the 1958 Corvette.

Model: 1959 Corvette
Generation: C1 Corvette
Type: 2 Door Convertible
Available Colors: Tuxedo Black, Frost Blue, Roman Red, Inca Silver, Classic Cream, Crown Sapphire, Snowcrest White
Engine: 283 ci. V-8 (fuel injected or carbureted) – multiple-horsepower options available
VIN: J59S100001 – J59S109670
Transmission: 3-speed manual (standard), 4-speed manual (optional), 2-speed Powerglide (optional)
Original Price: $3875.00
Units Produced: 9,670
Full Spec List 1959 Corvette Complete Specs

To the credit of all involved, the 1959 Corvette was “cleaned up” considerably.  For one, the chrome “suspenders” were removed from the design, providing Corvette with a more swept back look that was synonymous with speed.

For another, it was decided that the faux hood louvers would be eliminated, returning the Corvette to a semblance of it’s former self.

While these features were key identifiers of the 1958 Corvette, there was no question that the elimination of the excessive chrome would reduce weight and help increase performance.

Much like the exterior of the Corvette, the interior received minor, but significant updates as well.  Both the door handles and the armrests were repositioned and a small-item storage compartment was added beneath the passenger side grab bar.

In addition, both the driver and passenger seats were redesigned to offer increased lateral support of their occupants.  All tachometers now indicated up to 7,000 rpm and offered redline and safe limit indicators.   Sun visors were introduced to the 1959 Corvette as a new option and concave instrument lenses replaced the flat covers of the 1958 Corvette, thereby reducing sun glare (and other reflections) that might cause a driver to become distracted.

Interior of 1959 Corvette
Interior of 1959 Corvette. Note the T-handle on the manual transmission shifter and the storage compartment beneath the passenger grab bar.

Lastly, a T-handle manual transmission lockout was included to prevent drivers from accidentally putting their Corvettes in reverse.

As with the 1958 Corvette before it, the powertrain of the ‘59 Corvette was unchanged from previous years – with one exception: the addition of trailing radius rods.

These trailing rods were introduced to help counteract rear-axle windup, while also contributing to a softer overall ride and noticeably less rear end shifting while driving on uneven or irregular surfaces.

In addition to the trailing radius rods, Chevrolet began offering even stiffer springs as part of the heavy duty brakes/suspension option (RPO 684) that had been originally introduced as an option on the 1957 Corvette.

The addition of both of these new components helped produce consistently better handling and better handling also meant better overall performance, and the 1959 Corvette proved it at the test track.   With quarter-mile times of less than 15 seconds and a 0-60 mph time of less than 8 seconds, the 1959 Corvette was considered to be remarkably fast – and notably fast even by today’s standards.  The top end “fuelies” (fuel injected) Corvettes were rated at 290 horsepower with a top speed of 128 miles per hour, when mated with the 4.11:1 final drive.

DID YOU KNOW: The 1959 Corvette was the only production year where Chevrolet included an option of purchasing a turquoise soft top. Also, the 1959 Corvette marked the first year where consumers could purchase an all black interior. Lastly, 1959 marked the last year in which Chevy Corvette sold less than 10,000 units in a given model year.

The 1959 Corvette.
The 1959 Corvette.

Lastly, the braking system of the 1959 Corvette received some upgrades.

Several factory options including sintered-metallic linings (RPO 686) were introduced under the development of General Motors Delco-Moraine Division.

These new linings were comprised of three pairs of lining segments that were riveted to the primary brake shoe and five pairs of slightly thicker segments for the secondary shoes.

These sintered linings provided for smoother braking while requiring less time to heat up before providing maximum, effective braking.

1959 Corvette
1959 Corvette Sales Brochure. (Image courtesy of GM Media.)
Chevrolet sales of the 1959 Chevy Corvette totaled 9,670 units, a number that was just shy of the landmark 10,000 units that General Motors was now anxiously hoping to hit with it’s two-seater sports car.
Although Chevy was not yet making a significant profit from sales of the Corvette, it was no longer costing Chevrolet money either. The modest numbers continued to point in the right direction, and both Corvette designers and engineers believed that they were on the brink of surpassing the 10,000 units/year number.
Still, it was now clear that American car enthusiasts were finally embracing the Corvette as a serious sports car which meant that Chevrolet would continue moving forward with the development of an, as yet unrealized, second generation Corvette.
With prototype designs like the exceedingly expensive “Q-Corvette” and Bill Mitchell’s “XP-700” already envisioned, anticipation amongst General Motors executives, engineers and designers was on the rise.

See Also 

C1 ’53 54 ’55 ’56 ’57 ’58 ’59 ’60 ’61 ’62
Gen C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7

See full 1959 Corvette Gallery

1959 Corvette Specifications

1959 Corvette Main Specs

MODEL: 1959 Chevrolet Corvette
BODY STYLE: Two-door convertible, front engine, rear wheel drive
MANUFACTURING LOCATION: St. Louis, Missouri
CONSTRUCTION: Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP or “fiberglass”) body, steel frame with steel and chrome structural & chassis components.
VEHICLE NUMBERS (VIN): J59S100001 – J59S109670
VIN PREFIX: CQ: 283 CUBIC INCH, 230 HORSEPOWER, MANUAL TRANSMISSION
CR: 283 CUBIC INCH, 250 HORSEPOWER, MANUAL TRANSMISSION
CS: 283 CUBIC INCH, 290 HORSEPOWER, MANUAL TRANSMISSION
CT: 283 CUBIC INCH, 245 HORSEPOWER, MANUAL TRANSMISSION
CU: 283 CUBIC INCH, 270 HORSEPOWER, MANUAL TRANSMISSION
DG: 283 CUBIC INCH, 230 HORSEPOWER, AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
DH: 283 CUBIC INCH, 250 HORSEPOWER, AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
DJ: 283 CUBIC INCH, 245 HORSEPOWER, AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
ENGINE BLOCK NUMBER: 3737739 (EARLY PRODUCTION),  3756519
HEAD NUMBER: 3748770, EARLY PRODUCTION
3755550, EARLY PRODUCTION
3767465, LATE PRODUCTION
CARBURETOR NUMBERS: CARTER 2613S #3741089: 283 CUBIC INCH, 270 HP, FRONT CARB
CARTER 2614S #3741090: 283 CUBIC INCH, 270 HP, REAR CARB
CARTER 2626S #3744002: 283 CUBIC INCH, 245 HP, FRONT CARB
CARTER 2627S #3744004: 283 CUBIC INCH, 245 HPR, REAR CARB
CARTER 2818S #3756676: 283 CUBIC INCH, 230 HP
FUEL INJECTION NUMBER: ROCHESTER 7014900: 283 CUBIC INCH, 250 HORSEPOWER
ROCHESTER 7014900R: 283 CUBIC INCH, 290 HORSEPOWER
ROCHESTER 7017200: 283 CUBIC INCH, 250 HORSEPOWER
ROCHESTER 7017250: 283 CUBIC INCH, 290 HORSEPOWER
DISTRIBUTOR NUMBER: 1110891: 283 CUBIC INCH, 245 HORSEPOWER, 270 HORSEPOWER
1110914: 283 CUBIC INCH, 290 HORSEPOWER
1110915: 283 CUBIC INCH, 250 HORSEPOWER
1110946: 283 CUBIC INCH, 230 HORSEPOWER
GENERATOR NUMBER: 1102043: 283 CUBIC INCH, 230 HP, 245 HP, 250 HP, 270 HP
1102059: 283 CUBIC INCH, 290 HORSEPOWER, FIRST DESIGN
1102173: 283 CUBIC INCH, 290 HORSEPOWER, SECOND DESIGN
AXLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER AH: 3-SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION (3.70:1 RATIO)
AE: POWERGLIDE AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION (3.55:1 RATIO)
AN: LIMITED SLIP DIFF (3.70:1 RATIO)
AP: LIMITED SLIP DIFF (4.11:1 RATIO)
AQ: LIMITED SLIP DIFF (4.56:1 RATIO)
AS: LSD, HEAVY DUTY SUSPENSION AND BRAKES, (3.70:1 RATIO)
AT:LSD, HEAVY DUTY SUSPENSION AND BRAKES, (4.11:1 RATIO)
AU:LSD, HEAVY DUTY SUSPENSION AND BRAKES, (4.56:1 RATIO)
FJ: MANUAL TRANSMISSION,LSD. AND METALLIC BRAKES, (3.70:1 RATIO)
PRODUCTION ENDING VEHICLE: SEP, 1958: 100409, OCT. 1958: 100623, NOV. 1958: 101587, DEC. 1958:102641, JAN. 1959: 103962, FEB. 1959: 104921, MAR. 1959: 106033, APR. 1959: 107144, MAY 1959: 107934, JUN. 1959: 108702, JUL. 1959: 109437, AUG. 1959: 109670

1959 C1 Corvette Price & Options

CODE DESCRIPTION QUANTITY RETAIL PRICE
867 Base Corvette Convertible 9,670 $3,875.00
101 Heater 8,909 $102.25
102 AM Radio, signal seeking 7,001 $149.80
107 Parking Brake Alarm 3,601 $5.40
108 Courtesy Lights 3,601 $6.50
109 Windshield Washers 7,929 $16.15
121 Radiator Fan Clutch 67 $21.55
261 Sunshades 3,722 $10.80
276 Wheels, 15 x 5.5 (5) 214  $0.00
290 Whitewall Tires, 6.70 x 15 8,173  $31.55
313 Powerglide Automatic Transmission 1,878 $199.10
419 Auxillary Hardtop 5,481 $236.75
426 Power Windows 587 $59.20
440 Two-Tone Paint Combination 2,931 $16.15
469 283ci, 245HP Engine (2×4 Carburetors) 1,417 $150.65
469C 283ci, 270HP Engine (2×4 Carburetors) 1,846 $182.95
473 Power Operated Folding Top 661 $139.90
579 283ci, 250HP Engine (Fuel Injection) 175 $484.20
579D 283ci, 290HP Engine (Fuel Injection) 745 $484.20
675 Positraction Rear Axle 4,170 $48.45
684 Heavy Duty Brakes and Suspension 142 $425.05
685 4-Speed Manual Transmission 4,175 $188.30
686 Metallic Brakes 333 $26.90
1408 Blackwall Tires, 6.70 x 15 Nylon
1625 24 Gallon Fuel Tank

1959 C1 Corvette

1959 Corvette Exterior/Interior Colors

EXTERIOR TOTAL BODY COVE COVE TOTAL SOFT TOP WHEELS INTERIOR
Tuxedo Black 1,594 Silver 496 Black, White Black Blue,Black,Red
Classic Cream 223 White 89 Black, White Black Black
Frost Blue 1,024 White 361 Blue, Black, White Black Blue,Red
Crown Sapphire 888 White 420 Black, Turquoise, White Black Turquoise
Roman Red 1,542 White 805 Black, White Black Black,Red
Snowcrest White 3,354 Silver 535 Blue, Black, Tq, White Black Blue,Black,Red,Tq
Inca Silver 957 White 220 Black, White Black Black,Red

Exterior Color Templates

Interior Color Templates

1959 Corvette Powertrain Specifications

Description 4-barrel Carb Dual Carb Dual Carb w. Special Cam Fuel Injection
Fuel Inj w. Special Cam
Standard RPO 469 RPO 469C RPO 579 RPO 579D
Type: 90 V 90 V 90 V 90 V 90 V
Number of Cylinders 8 8 8 8 8
Displacement (cid): 283 283 283 283 283
Horsepower (gross @ rpm): 230hp @ 4,800 245hp @ 5,000 270hp @ 6,000 250hp @ 5,000 290hp @ 6,200
Torque (lbs.-ft. @ rpm): 300 @ 3,000 300 @ 3,800 285 @ 4,200 305 @ 3,800 290 @ 4,400
Bore Spacing (C/L to C/L) 4.4 inches 4.4 inches 4.4 inches 4.4 inches 4.4 inches
Bore x stroke (in.): 3.875 x 3.00 3.875 x 3.00 3.875 x 3.00 3.875 x 3.00 3.875 x 3.00
Redline (rpm):
Compression ratio: 9.5:1 9.5:1 9.5:1 9.5:1 9.5:1
Idle Speed (RPM) 475 in neutral w/3-speed 475 in neutral w/3-speed 475 in neutral w/3-speed 475 in neutral w/3-speed 475 in neutral w/3-speed
Engine Weight (Dry)
  Automatic 779 779 779 779 779
  Manual 678 678 678 678 678
Firing Order: 18436572 18436572 18436572 18436572 18436572
Cylinder Number System;
  Left Bank: 1-3-5-7 1-3-5-7 1-3-5-7 1-3-5-7 1-3-5-7
  Right Bank: 2-4-6-8 2-4-6-8 2-4-6-8 2-4-6-8 2-4-6-8
Recommended Fuel: 94-96 Premium Octane 94-96 Premium Octane 94-96 Premium Octane 94-96 Premium Octane 94-96 Premium Octane
EPA – Four-Speed Manual
Transmission – Average:
14.3 mpg (Motor Life) 14.6 mpg (Motor Trend) 10 mpg (Sports Car Illustrated)

Carburetor Engine Component Specifications

Description Standard 230hp RPO 469 245hp RPO 469C 270hp
Upper Compression Ring:
  Material Cast alloy iron Cast alloy iron Cast alloy iron
  Width .184 — .194 .184 — .194 .184 — .194
  Thickness .0775 — .0780 .0775 — .0780 .0775 — .0780
  Gap .010 — .020 .010 — .020 .010 — .020
  Ring Clearance .0012 — .0017 .0012 — .0017 .0012 — .0017
Valve Springs:
  Length & Pressure
     Valve closed [email protected] 69 — 79 lb. [email protected] 69 — 79 lb. [email protected] 69 — 79 lb.
     Valve open [email protected] 159 — 169 lb. [email protected] 159 — 169 lb. [email protected] 159 — 169 lb.
     Free length 2.08 2.08 2.08
  Damper:
     Number of coils 3.874 — 4.12 3.874 — 4.12 3.874 — 4.12
     Free length 2.00 2.00 2.00
Tappets:
  Type Hydraulic Hydraulic Hydraulic
  Material Steel Steel Steel
Carburetor:
  Make Carter Carter Carter
  Model 3756676
     front 3744002 3741089
     rear 3744004 3741090
  Type 4 barrel, down-draft 4 barrel 4 barrel
  Choke Automatic Automatic Automatic
Camshaft:
  Ramp inlet
     Opening .00474, 10° long .00474, 10° long .0067, 18° long
     Closing .00670, 15° long .00670, 15° long .0067, 18° long
  Ramp exhaust
     Opening .00474, 10° long .00474, 10° long .0107, 29° long
     Closing .00670, 15° long .00670, 15° long .0107, 29° long
  Tappet Lift
     Inlet .26581 .26581 .2625
     Exhaust .26581 .26581 .2625
  Valve lift
     Inlet  0.3987 0.3987 0.39375
     Exhaust  0.3987 0.3987 0.39375
 Valve lash (normal driving)
     Inlet Zero Zero .012 hot
     Exhaust Zero Zero .018 hot
  Timing Diagram Data:
     Inlet
       Opens (theoretical) 12° 30′ BTC 12° 30′ BTC 35° BTC
       Closes (theoretical) 57° 30′ ABC 57° 30′ ABC 72° ABC
     Exhaust
       Opens (theoretical) 54° 30′ BBC 54° 30′ BBC 76° BBC
       Closes (theoretical) 15° 30′ ATC 15° 30′ ATC 31° ATC
Clutch:
  Type Semi-centrifugal Semi-centrifugal Semi-centrifugal
  Number of coil springs 9 9 9
  Spring pressure (lbs.) 1620 Initial 1620 Initial 1620 Initial
  Drive Lug Lug Lug
  Lining area (sq. in.) 90.72 90.72 90.72
  Rated torque capacity (lb. ft.) 326 326 326
Air Cleaner:
  Make and Type AC oil wetted  AC oil bath  AC oil bath
  Capacity  –  1 Pint  1 Pint
  Filter Element Aluminum wire cactus fiber  cactus fiber
Oil Filter:
  Make AC, Full flow AC, Full flow AC, Full flow
  Capacity (Quartz) 1 1 1
Dual Exhaust System:
  Muffler Type Diffusion & resonance,
reverse flow
Diffusion & resonance,
reverse flow
 Diffusion & resonance,
reverse flow
  Body Size 24×4.06 24×4.06 24×4.06
  Manifold Center take down each branch serving two cylinders Center take down each branch serving two cylinders Center take down each branch serving two cylinders
  Exhaust Pipe Size O.D 2.0 2.0 2.0
  Tall Pipe I.D 1.81 1.81 1.81
  Suspension Individual, rubber insulated
mountings.
Individual, rubber insulated
mountings.
Individual, rubber insulated
mountings.
Fuel System:
  Fuel Tank Two stamped pans
seam welded
Two stamped pans
seam welded
Two stamped pans
seam welded
  Capacity (gallons) 16.4 16.4 16.4
  Mounting   Support by two straps attached to underbody behind seat Support by two straps attached to underbody behind seat Support by two straps attached to underbody behind seat
  Filler In body left side, to rear of driver’s door In body left side, to rear of driver’s door In body left side, to rear of driver’s door
Cooling System:
  Radiator core
     Make Harrison Harrison Harrison
     Type Cellular Cellular Cellular
  Size .20x.560 x 2.00 .20x.560 x 2.00 .20x.560 x 2.00
  Frontal Area (sq. in) 340 340 340
  Capacity 16.5 qts. with heater 16.5 qts. with heater 16.5 qts. with heater

Fuelie (Fuel Injected) Engine Component Specifications

Description (RPO 579 250hp) (RPO 579D 290hp)
Upper Compression Ring:
  Material Cast alloy iron Cast alloy iron
  Width .184 -.194 .184 – .194
  Thickness 0775 – .0780 0775 – .0780
  Gap .010 – 0.020 .010 – 0.020
  Ring Clearance .0012 – .0017 .0012 – .0017
Valve Springs:
  Length & Pressure
     Valve closed [email protected] 69 — 79 lb [email protected] 69 — 79 lb
     Valve open [email protected] 159 — 169 lb. [email protected] 159 — 169 lb.
     Free length 2.08 2.08
  Damper:
     Number of coils 3.874 — 4.12 3.874 — 4.12
     Free length 2.00 2.00
Tappets:
  Type Hydraulic Hydraulic
  Material Steel Steel
Manifold assembly, inlet:
  Material Cast aluminum Cast aluminum
Fuel:
  System Fuel Injection Fuel Injection
  Make Rochester Products Rochester Products
Fuel Filter:
  Make AC AC
  Model GF43 GF43
  Location Mounted on engine top cover Mounted on engine top cover
Camshaft:
  Ramp inlet
     Opening .00474, 10° long .00474, 10° long
     Closing .00670, 15° long .00670, 15° long
  Ramp exhaust
     Opening .00474, 10° long  .0107, 29° long
     Closing .00670, 15° long .0107, 29° long
  Tappet Lift
     Inlet .26581 .2625
     Exhaust .26581 .2625
  Valve Lift
     Inlet .3987 .39375
     Exhaust .3987 .39375
  Valve lash (normal driving)
     Inlet Zero .008 hot
     Exhaust Zero .018 hot
  Timing Diagram Data:
     Inlet
       Opens (theoretical) 12° 30′ BTC 35° BTC
       Closes (theoretical) 57° 30′ ABC 72° ABC
     Exhaust
       Opens (theoretical) 54° 30′ BBC 76° BBC
       Closes (theoretical) 15° 30′ ATC 31° ATC
Clutch:
  Type Semi-centrifugal Semi-centrifugal
  Number of coil springs 9 9
  Spring pressure (lbs.) 1620 initial 1620 initial
  Drive Lug Lug
  Lining area (sq. in.) 90.72 90.72
  Rated torque capacity (lb. ft.) 326 326
Air Cleaner:
  Make AC AC
  Type Dry Dry
  Filter Element Paper Paper
Oil Filter:
  Make AC, Full flow AC, Full flow
  Capacity (Quartz) 1 1
Dual Exhaust System:
  Muffler Type Diffusion & resonance, reverse flow Straight thru
  Body Size 24×4.06
  Manifold Center take down each branch serving two cylinders
  Exhaust Pipe Size O.D 2.0
  Tall Pipe I.D 1.81
  Suspension Individual, rubber insulated
mountings.
Fuel System:
  Fuel Tank Two stamped pans seam welded Two stamped pans seam welded
  Capacity (gallons) 16.4 16.4
  Mounting   Support by two straps attached to underbody behind seat Support by two straps attached to underbody behind seat
  Filler In body left side, to rear of driver’s door In body left side, to rear of driver’s door
Cooling System:
  Radiator core
     Make Harrison Harrison
     Type Cellular Cellular
  Size .22x.550 x 2.00 .22x.550 x 2.00
  Frontal Area (sq. in) 380 380
  Capacity 16.5 qts. with heater 16.5 qts. with heater

Manual Transmission / Gear Ratios

3-Speed Close Ratio 4-Speed (RPO 685)
1st Gear: 2.21:1 2.20:1
2nd Gear: 1.32:1 1.66:1
3rd Gear: 1.00:1 1:31:1
4th Gear: N/A 1.00:1
Reverse: 2.51:1 2.26:1

Powerglide Automatic Transmission RPO 313/ Gear Ratios

Drive 1.82-1:1
Low 1.82:1
Reverse 1.82:1

1959 Corvette Brakes, Wheels & Suspension

Front Suspension Unitized, Independant, Short and Long Arm
Front Springs: Own, coil
  Make & Type Chrome alloy steel .547 — .553
  Material & Gauges Total 9.75; active 7.94
  Number of Coils Outside 4.30; pitch 3.752
  Diameter Free 13.45; working [email protected] 1245 lb.
  Height 9.72
  Height Under Curb Weight 800 lb.
  Capacity At Ground
  Deflection Rate
     At Spring 300 lb.
     At Wheel 110 lb.
Front Shock Absorbers:
  Make & Type Delco, direct double acting
  Mounting Vertically from lower control arm through coil spring to front suspension crossmember
  Model Number 538F
  Valve Code 3.5G6/axr/P 1.25
  Piston Diameter and Travel 1.00×4.68

 

Rear Suspension Outrigger mounted semi-elliptical leaf springs
Rear Springs: Own, coil
  Make & Type Own, semi-elliptic
  Material Alloy steel
  Length & Width 51×2.0
  Spring Slips Clinch type = 3, Bolt type = 1, Total = 4
  Number of Leaves 4
  Leaf Thickness Number 1 & 3 = .282, Number 2 = .313, Total = 1.159
  Capacity At pad = 575 lb., At ground = 725 lb.
Rear Shock Absorbers:
  Make & Type Delco, direct double acting
  Mounting Stem attached to slotted holes in flanged “U” shaped rear crossmember, eye attached at bottom to an anchor bolt on rear spring “U” bolt and shock absorber anchor bolt plate
  Model Number 560P
  Valve Code 4D6/oxh/j 1.25
  Piston Diameter and Travel 1.0×6.69

 

Brakes:
Type: Servo – 4 Wheel Hydraulic (Heavy Duty, RPO 684 Optional)
Power brake type: None
Drum diameter, front (in.): 11
Drum diameter, rear (in.): 11
Effective area (sq. in.): 157 (121 with Heavy Duty brake option)

 

Wheels/Tires
Wheel Type (Standard): Short Spoke Disk, Pressed Steel
Tire Size 6.70 — 15 — 4 Ply Tubeless (standard), 6.70 — 15 — 4 Ply White & Blackwall (optional)
Front & Rear Wheels: 15″
Tires, type: Rayon Cord
Revolutions at 30mph: 760
Inflation (cold) 24 lbs. Front & Rear

 

Steering
Type: Semi-reversible recirculating ball
Make: Saginaw
Ratio: 16.0:1
Wheel Diameter (in): 17
Turns, Stop to Start
Turn Diameter (curb to curb) 36.5 ft. right — 37 ft. left (outside front), 38.5 ft. right — 39 ft. left (outside front)

1959 C1 Corvette

1959 Corvette Exterior Dimensions

1959 C1 Corvette Hardtop Dimensions

Exterior Dimensions (Hardtop) Interior Dimensions (Hardtop)
Wheelbase: 102 Inches Headroom: 35.1 Inches
Overall Length: 177.2 Inches Shoulder Room: 49.4 Inches
Total Body Width: 72.8 Inches Hip Room: 59.6 Inches
Overall Height: 51.5 Inches Leg Room: 45.1 Inches
Front Track Width: 57 Inches
Rear Track Width: 59 Inches
Min. Ground Clearance 5.9 Inches

1959 C1 Corvette softtop Dimensions

Exterior Dimensions (Soft top) Interior Dimensions (Soft top)
Wheelbase: 102 Inches Headroom: 35.3 Inches
Overall Length: 177.2 Inches Shoulder Room: 49.4 Inches
Total Body Width: 72.8 Inches Hip Room: 59.6 Inches
Overall Height: 51.6 Inches Leg Room: 45.1 Inches
Front Track Width: 57 Inches
Rear Track Width: 59 Inches
Min. Ground Clearance 5.9 Inches

 

Capacities
Passenger Capacity: 2 Passengers
Curb Weight (LBS/KG):
  Manual 3,033
  Automatic 3,135
Interior Passenger Volume (cu.ft):
Interior Trunk Volume (cu. ft): 4.474
Fuel Capacity (gallons): 16.4
Engine Oil Capacity (qts.): 5 (capacity of crankcase less filter – refill)
Coolant Capacity (qts.): 16.5 (with heater)
Battery: 12 volt, 54-plate, 53AH

1959 C1 Corvette

1959 Corvette Performance

Performance Results Standard RPO 469 RPO 469C RPO 579 RPO 579
3-Speed Transmission
Performance weight (lbs.) 3204 3214 3214 3191 3191
Pounds/gross horsepower 13.93 13.12 11.90 12.78 11.00
Pounds/cu.in. piston displacement 11.33 11.36 11.36 11.24 11.24
 Gross horsepower/cu.in. displacement .813 .866 .954 .883 1.025
 Power displacement (cu.ft./mile) 228.7 228.7 228.7 228.7 228.7
Displacement factor (cu.ft./mile) 142.94 142.94 142.94 143.34 143.34
 0 – 60 mph (seconds) 9.2 7.6 –
 Top Speed (mph) 103.1 112
Powerglide Transmission
 Performance weight (lbs.) 3305 3314 3288
 Pounds/gross horsepower 14.37 13.53 13.15
 Pounds/cu.in. piston displacement 11.68 11.71 11.62
 Gross horsepower/cu.in. displacement .813 .866 .883
 Power displacement (cu.ft./mile) 219.5 219.5 219.5
 Displacement factor (cu.ft./mile) 132.83 132.47 133.52
 0 – 60 mph (seconds)
 Top Speed (mph)
4-Speed Transmission
Performance weight (lbs.) 3217 3227 3227 3204 3204
Pounds/gross horsepower 13.90 13.17 11.95 12.82 11.05
Pounds/cu.in. piston displacement 11.37 11.40 11.40 11.32 11.32
Gross horsepower/cu.in. displacement .813 .866 .954 .883 1.025
Power displacement (cu.ft./mile) 228.7 228.7 228.7 228.7 228.7
 Displacement factor (cu.ft./mile) 142.18 141.74 141.74 142.76 142.76
 0 – 60 mph (seconds) 6.9
Top Speed (mph) 113.6 118.7

(0 – 60 and top speed times courtesy of ML – Motor Life, September 1959, MT – Motortrend, April 1959, R&T – Road and Track, January 1959)

1959 Corvette Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN)

VIN Range J59S100001 – J59S109670
J (First Digit) General Motors Identification Code for Chevy Corvette.
58 (Second & Third Digits) Model Year
S (Fourth Digit) Location of the Assembly Plant.  S – St. Louis, Missouri.
1XXXXX (Fifth thru Tenth Digits) Production Sequence Numbers

The last six digits begin at 100001 and run thru 109670, accounting for each of the 9,670 Corvettes built in 1959. Each Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is unique to an individual car. For all 1959 Corvettes, the location of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is located on the driver side door post. The VIN is also stamped on several locations on the Corvette frame.

1959 Corvette Factory Options

CODE DESCRIPTION QUANTITY RETAIL PRICE
867 Base Corvette Convertible 9,670 $3,875.00
101 Heater 8,909 $102.25
102 AM Radio, signal seeking 7,001 $149.80
107 Parking Brake Alarm 3,601 $5.40
108 Courtesy Lights 3,601 $6.50
109 Windshield Washers 7,929 $16.15
121 Radiator Fan Clutch 67 $21.55
261 Sunshades 3,722 $10.80
276 Wheels, 15 x 5.5 (5) 214  $0.00
290 Whitewall Tires, 6.70 x 15 8,173  $31.55
313 Powerglide Automatic Transmission 1,878 $199.10
419 Auxillary Hardtop 5,481 $236.75
426 Power Windows 587 $59.20
440 Two-Tone Paint Combination 2,931 $16.15
469 283ci, 245HP Engine (2×4 Carburetors) 1,417 $150.65
469C 283ci, 270HP Engine (2×4 Carburetors) 1,846 $182.95
473 Power Operated Folding Top 661 $139.90
579 283ci, 250HP Engine (Fuel Injection) 175 $484.20
579D 283ci, 290HP Engine (Fuel Injection) 745 $484.20
675 Positraction Rear Axle 4,170 $48.45
684 Heavy Duty Brakes and Suspension 142 $425.05
685 4-Speed Manual Transmission 4,175 $188.30
686 Metallic Brakes 333 $26.90
1408 Blackwall Tires, 6.70 x 15 Nylon
1625 24 Gallon Fuel Tank

Base Corvette Roadster (867)

  • The base price of the 1959 Chevrolet Corvette without any optional equipment.
  • This base option price included a 283 cubic inch, 230 horsepower V8 engine, 3-speed manual transmission, vinyl interior trim, and a soft top.
  • The 1959 Corvette’s exterior appearance is very similar to the 1958 except that it does not have the simulated hood louvers or the twin chrome trunk “suspenders”.

Heater (101) – An interior space/cockpit heater.

  • The 1959 Corvette heater has an “outside” fresh air type heater.

AM Radio, signal seeking (102)

  • A standard Delco, signal seeking AM radio with conventional volume and selector bars.
  • The AM Radios for the 1959 Corvette are transistorized.
  • Most 1959 selector bars for the signal-seeking feature included the word “Wonderbar”.
  • Models not equipped with this option received a painted block-out cover plate.

Parking Brake Alarm (107)

  • A warning light that illuminates/ indicates when the parking brake is applied.

Courtesy Lights (108)

  • Interior lights mounted on the interior of the car to aid in visibility when outside lighting is unavailable.

Windshield Washers (109)

  • A washer pump and dispensing nozzle mechanism that dispenses cleaner onto the windshield.
    The optional 1959 washer reservoir is mounted on the left side for all carbureted engines and on the right side for all fuel injected engines.  Right side mounted reservoirs are protected by a heat shield.

Radiator Fan Clutch (121)

  • A thermostatically controlled clutch that disengages the radiator fan during engine operation.
  • New to the 1959 Corvette, this feature allowed for increased horsepower and better fuel efficiency by disengaging the fan during “cool” engine operation.

Sunshades (261)

  • Also known as a sun visor, this fold down shade blocks sunlight during vehicle operation.
  • The 1959 Corvette was the first model to feature sunshades.
  • Included both driver and passenger sunshades.

Wheels, 15×5.5 (276)

  • Optional wheels that were one-half inch wider than stock.
  • Featured small, passenger car hubcaps instead of standard, full wheel disc covers.

Whitewall Tires (290)

  • Original tires were either U.S. Royal Air Ride, B.G. Goodrich Silvertown or Firestone Deluxe Champion.
  • All tires were wide-whitewall type, with whitewall widths varying from 2.5 to 3 inches.

Powerglide Automatic Transmission (313)

  • An “optional” two-speed automatic transmission developed by GM.

Auxiliary Hardtop (419)

  • An optional hard-top that replaced the standard convertible top.
  • Although the Auxiliary Hardtop is shown as an option, customers could swap the convertible top for the auxiliary hard top at no additional cost.  Of the 5,481 Corvettes sold with this option,  1,695 of them were the result of this substitution.

Power Windows (426)

  • Electronically controlled windows which could be raised or lowered during vehicle operation.

Two-Tone Paint Combination (440)

  • A second, optional paint color that was used to highlight the bodyside coves.
  • A total of 2,931 Corvettes featured the two-tone paint scheme in 1959.  Of these, 805 were painted Roman Red/White, 535 were painted Snowcrest White/Silver, 496 were painted Tuxedo Black/Silver, 420 were painted Crown Sapphire/White, 361 were painted Frost Blue/White, 220 were painted Inca Silver/White, and 89 were painted Classic Cream/White.

283 CI, 245 HP Engine (2×4 Carburetors) (469)

  • A “high output” version of the standard 283 CI, 230 HP engine.
  • 1,417 of the 1959 Corvettes were built with this engine.

283 CI, 270 HP Engine (2×4 Carburetors) (469C)

  • A “high output” version of the standard 283 CI, 230 HP engine.
  • 1,846 of the 1959 Corvettes were built with this engine.

Power Operated Folding Top (473)

  • Electronically controlled convertible top that could be automatically raised/lowered.
  • Unlike the 1953-1955 Corvette Roadsters, which had an optional top that could be attached to the car, this convertible top was an integral part of the design, allowing the 1959 Corvette to be classified as a true convertible.

283 CI, 250 HP Engine (Fuel Injected) (579)

  • A “high output” version of the standard 283 CI, 230 HP engine.
  • 175 of the 1959 Corvettes were built with this engine.

283 CI, 290 HP Engine (Fuel Injected) (579D)

  • A “high output” version of the standard 283 CI, 230 HP engine.
  • 745 of the 1959 Corvettes were built with this engine.

Positraction Rear Axle (675)

  • A “limited slip” rear axle that engages both rear wheels as drive wheels.
  • For 1959, this option required that the Corvette have a manual transmission.
  • Of the total 4,170 Corvettes built with this option, 1,362 had a 3.70:1 ratio, 2,523 had a 4.11:1 ratio, and 285 had a 4.56:1 ratio.

Heavy Duty Racing Suspension (684)

  • Modified suspension system featuring a number of performance/handling upgrades.
  • Included special front and rear springs and shock absorbers, a heavier front stabilizer bar, quick steering adapter, metallic brakes, finned brake drums, fresh air ducting to rear brakes (early models only), and front brake air deflectors.
  • Positraction rear axle, manual transmission and either the 290 Horsepower, 283 Cubic Inch Fuel Injected V-8 Engine OR the 270
  • Horsepower, 283 Cubic Inch Carbureted (2×4 Carbs) V-8 engine was required.

4-Speed Manual Transmission (685)

  • An optional four-speed, close ratio, syncromesh manual transmission.
  • This option included a “T” handle with positve reverse lockout – an option featured for the first time on the 1959 Corvette.

Metallic Brakes (686)

  • Optional sintered-metallic brake linings which increases braking effectiveness.
  • They comprised of three pairs of lining segments that were riveted to the primary brake shoes and five pairs of slightly thicker segments for the secondary shoes.
  • Drums were finless with this option but were flared at their open ends to enhance cooling.
  • The sintered linings made braking less harsh than the Cerametallic material and needed far less warming up to provide maximum braking effectiveness.
  • They were developed by GM’s Delco-Moraine Division.

Blackwall Tires, 6.70×15 Nylon (1408)

  • Optional black sidewall tires to replace the standard white sidewall.
  • It is uncertain how many Corvettes were ordered with this option.

24 Gallon Fuel Tank (1625)

  • Special fiberglass fuel tank that allowed for greater fuel mileage.
  • Replaced standard tank
  • Available only with the removable hardtop (due to spacing limitations created because of the increased storage space

1959 Corvette Dealers Sales Brochure

1959 Corvette Dealers Sales Brochure

Download this 1959 Corvette Dealers Sales Brochure for a quick look at the features of the car.

Download 1959 Corvette Dealers Sales Brochure

See Also 

C1 ’53 54 ’55 ’56 ’57 ’58 ’59 ’60 ’61 ’62
Gen C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7

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