1959 Corvette History and Overview

The 1959 Chevrolet Corvette is a beautiful, nostalgia-inducing classic car that, for its time, was innovative in its technologies. A sign of true luxury, the 1959 Corvette has a lengthy history as a classic model regarded the world over. Its features made it popular in 1959 and make it a stand-out classic now.

The car’s physical appearance is what makes the 1959 Corvette a sought-after model. The 1959 Corvette is a remarkably customizable and rider-friendly car. It has an optional all-black interior, optional turquoise soft top, recontoured seat cushions, “sissy” bar, and the option between a 2-speed Powerglide Automatic Transmission or a 3 or 4-speed manual transmission.

1959 Corvette at a gas station

History of the 1959 Corvette

In 1953, Chevrolet started manufacturing the first generation of Corvette (C1) sports cars. This member of the “solid axle” generation received a warm, welcoming reception upon its debut and was a popular model until its discontinuation in 1962.

Common for automobiles at the time, the Corvette had a protruding grill and four exposed front headlamps. The 1958 model added a faux-louvered hood and chrome trunk spears. However, we do not find these details in the 1959 model. While mechanically unchanged, the 1959 model featured several interior changes from the ’58 model, including a storage area on the passenger side and revised instrument graphics. The instrument panel is more concave in order to reduce glare. The 4-speed shifter version also has a reverse lockout t-handle.

The ’59 Corvette’s outside rear view mirrors, electric clock, seatbelts, tachometer, and dual exhaust were considered standard equipment and were built into the car. They were previously simply add-ons. Sunvisors, an all-black interior, and a turquoise convertible top were optional. The ’59 is the only model from the 1958-1960 Corvettes to feature side-to-side (versus the usual up-and-down) seat pleats.

The 1959 Corvette’s MSRP was $3,875.00 for the base convertible. There were 9,670 of this model produced in 1959. Currently, a mint-condition 1959 Corvette sells for somewhere between $85,000 and $150,000. These classics are collectors’ favorites and are considerably rare to find.

5 Most Popular Features

Optional All-Black Interior

1959 Chevrolette Corvette all black interior

The 1959 Corvette had a lot of interior color options, including black/red, black/red/blue, turquoise, and blue/red. However, the all-black interior’s sleek, sophisticated design gives the impression of power and class. The best thing about these all-black interiors is that they do not show as much dust, dirt, or wear and tear over time, making them a popular custom feature on the sporty Corvette, especially when paired with a Crown Sapphire or Roman Red exterior.

Optional Turquoise Soft Top

The turquoise soft top is completely exclusive to the 1959 Corvette. The turquoise top came with the Crown Sapphire exterior color scheme (of which there were 888 produced in 1959) or the Snowcrest White body. There were a whopping 3,354 Snowcrest White models manufactured in 1959. This makes it the most popular exterior color option for the Corvette that year.

Recontoured Seat Cushions

One of the highlights of the interior of the ’59 Corvette is the recontoured seat cushions. Seats in the 1950’s were not what they are in 2017; many lacked the luxury of comfort. The redesigned seating structure and the recontouring of seat cushions add an element of comfort to the Corvette. Sporty cars built for performance in the 1950’s were simply for working, not luxury. Nonetheless, the seats in the Corvette are both comfortable and easy to get in and out of.

The Sissy Bar

The “assist bar” (as the General Motors press material called it in 1959) or “grab bar”, better known as “the sissy bar” to those who like to put the pedal to the metal, was installed on the passenger-side dash. A passenger could grip this bar for stability when the driver was maneuvering corners at high speeds. Although this would probably be considered a structurally hazardous feature by today’s standards (it would be painful to smash your body into it in the case of a high-impact, head-on collision), it was viewed as an innovative safety feature in 1959.

Automatic or Manual Transmission Option

The ’59 Corvette is a sporty vehicle designed with performance in mind, especially when considering the power of a manual transmission. However, this car was also able to work well as an everyday driver, especially if an owner were to opt for the automatic transmission. There were multiple options for automatic or manual transmissions.

The CQ was a basic three-speed manual transmission. The CR was a three-speed manual transmission with fuel injection. The CS was a three-speed manual transmission with a high lift camshaft and fuel injection. The CT was a three-speed manual transmission with dual four-barrel carburetors, and the CU was a three-speed manual transmission with a high-lift camshaft and dual four-barrel carburetors. As for the models with Powerglide automatic transmission, the DG was standard, the DH features fuel injection, and the DJ features four-barrel carburetors.

Getting Support for the 1959 Corvette

fire red 1959 Corvette

Most dealerships and mechanics’ shops are not readily equipped to handle maintenance and repair issues for classics like the 1959 Corvette. Many who own these cars do a lot of work on their own or know someone with the proper skills to work on classics. The most immediate go-to source for questions should be your owner’s manual. However, there are other sources for getting support for your Corvette, including the Solid Axle Corvette Club. You can also pose your questions in online Corvette owners’ forums.

Fun Fact

The Corvette was manufactured only as a convertible for its first ten years of existence. This means the 1959 Corvette is only available as a drop-top! In 1963, the Corvette Sting Ray became the first all-weather Corvette model. It doubled Corvette sales and became a popular year-round driver.

Overall, the 1959 Corvette is a classic both sporty and comfortable. It was viewed as a fun racer and functioned as an everyday driver. The car’s interior design elements are user-friendly and were, in 1959, the height of automobile technology. This car guarantees drivers a fun, luxurious ride, even if it’s just in a parade or classic car show.