While not a lot of Changes were made, the 1959 Corvette had another Strong Year
In 1958 the Corvette seemed to have a rather busied chrome styling, but for the 1959 Corvette this seemed to be cleaned up rather nicely. Gone were the fake hood louvers and the chrome deck lid bars that often caught criticism for being too showy. Besides these changes the 1959 Corvette was not all that different from the 1958 model year, but it did offer some changes that made for another good year for the Vette; just not a blockbuster one as hoped.
There were little to slight modifications made on the 1959 Corvette on both the inside of the car and the outside of the car. Here are some of the more notable changes that were conducted to the super car for the 1959 run:
- Door Handles and Armrests: Both the door handles and the armrests on the 1959 Corvette were repositioned to make way for a shelf to be placed just below the passenger grab in order to allow for a small amount of storage.
- Seats: The seats of the 1959 Corvette were reshaped to offer some lateral support as their lack thereof had been a chief complaint from the previous year.
- Sun Visors: New to the 1959 Corvette were the addition of optional sun visors.
- Instrument Panel: All the instruments on the instrument panel received concave lenses versus flat lenses in an effort to keep reflection down.
- Transmission Lock-Out: A T-handle lock-out was added to the transmission of the 1959 Corvette so that the driver could not accidentally put the car in reverse gear while driving
- Brakes: Though optional, the RPO 686 package included newly sinterated-metallic linings developed by a division of GM known as Delco-Moraine. This option was made up of lining segments that were then riveted to the main brake shoes in three pairs and five pairs for the non-main or secondary shoes. The drums with this option were not finned and the new linings were not as harsh as the Cermetallic material and also required much less time to warm up for maximum breaking potential.
Though the engines stayed primarily the same, the 1959 Corvette continued the Vette tradition of impressing on the speed charts. While at the time it was not uncommon to see Corvettes do an under eight second 0 to 60 miles per hour run, the 1959 Corvette did it in just 6.6 seconds when it was tested by Road and Track. Further tests showed the car to have a top speed of 128 miles per hour and a stated 14.5 second quarter mile run at 96 miles per hour.
Even though both critics and the public gave the 1959 Corvette more acclaim than the previous year and the chrome madness was certainly toned down the sales did not reflect the love. While there was a slight increase from the 1958 Corvette tally, the 1959 model only sold a disappointing 9,670 units. This would make GM have to wait for the 60s to roll around before the Vette could sell those ever elusive 10,000 units in one model year. Still, the Corvette was making money for GM and in its short existence had proven that the car would be a winner and most likely a winner each and every year.