Michigan: GM unveils '57 Chevy tribute

Team Chevy Celebrates 50 Years of '57 Chevy With Special NASCAR Paint Schemes Jimmie Johnson of the No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo SS Unveils NASCAR Race Car Commemorating an American Motoring Icon BROOKLYN, Mich. - One of the most recognizable...

Team Chevy Celebrates 50 Years of '57 Chevy With Special NASCAR Paint Schemes

Jimmie Johnson of the No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo SS Unveils NASCAR Race Car Commemorating an American Motoring Icon

BROOKLYN, Mich. - One of the most recognizable cars in American motoring history reaches a notable milestone this year, a milestone which NASCAR, Chevy and Motorsports Authentics proudly celebrate. The 1957 Chevrolet, a car which turns 50 years old this year, will be commemorated at August 19's 3M Performance 400 Nextel Cup race at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) by at least 11 Team Chevy drivers. Unveiled by Jimmie Johnson at MIS today, a Monte Carlo SS race car featuring decals with cues from the iconic 1957 design is similar to the ones Johnson and other Team Chevy drivers will race during the August event.

On August 18, '57 Chevys along with many other historic vehicles will hit the streets during Metro Detroit's Woodward Dream Cruise. That same weekend, Team Chevy NASCAR Nextel Cup Series drivers Ward Burton, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Sterling Marlin, Mark Martin, Paul Menard, Tony Raines, Martin Truex, Jr., Kenny Wallace and J.J. Yeley will take to the track at MIS with their cars wearing special '57 Chevy paint schemes. To commemorate this special event, Motorsports Authentics will replicate their cars with die-cast models and offer apparel and novelty items related to the event.

"Many people who remember the 1950s and 1960s have emotional connections to the '57 Chevy," said Jeff Chew, marketing manager for Chevy Racing. "Ask someone that was living in the U.S. during that time period, and chances are they either wanted one, rode in one or even owned one. After 50 years, that emotional connection is still there and now resonates with car collectors all over the world. That's why Chevy, NASCAR and Motorsports Authentics saw fit to honor a car with such an iconic status."

The 1957 Chevrolet, introduced in late 1956, was the last of the 'Tri-five' Chevys (1955, 1956 and 1957) before the major redesign for 1958. At first, General Motors planned for the redesign for 1957. Luckily for fans of the '57 Chevy, production delays necessitated a carry-over of the design and the cosmetic enhancements the 1956 Chevy received, coupled with an extensive list of performance and comfort options, ensured the car's popularity in the following years.

Due to its light weight compared to other cars of the time and optional (and now legendary) small-block V8, it became a favorite for drag racers. Further enhancing its performance and elevating its cult status were hot-rodders who swapped the original engine for a Chevy big-block motor such as the 409-cubic inch powerplant from the early 1960s. The '57 Chevy also enjoyed NASCAR success, with General Motors building special cars to compete on the Grand National circuit.

"The '57 Chevy and NASCAR share a special link that makes these paint schemes particularly fitting," said Chew. "In 1957 the factory issued basic black utility coupes for NASCAR competition and gave them to many of the Chevy team drivers. Because of their black color, they were nicknamed Black Widows. Rex White, Jack Smith, Speedy Johnson, Frankie Schneider and Buck Baker all drove those cars and Baker won 10 out of 40 races that year en route to the NASCAR Grand National championship."

By the 1980s, the 1957 Chevy had become a popular collector car owing to its sturdy construction, ease of repair and availability of reproduction parts, not to mention memorable styling and the nostalgia factor. Hundreds of thousands of '57 models were built including two-door, four-door, convertible and station wagon body styles and their vast numbers allowed availability to those that wanted one. Many still remain, and having now reached legendary status, the model passes another milestone as it turns half a century old.

"Chevrolet is an icon in the motor industry and a cultural icon in the U.S.," said Ruth Crowley, president of Motorsports Authentics. "They are an integral part of the colorful NASCAR history with an extensive win record. We were thrilled to develop this concept with Chevrolet and to partner with the drivers, sponsors and teams to make it happen. In this day and age, 50 years is definitely worthy of a celebration and there's no place better to do it than in the Motor City."

For additional information on die-cast collectibles, apparel and novelty items from Motorsports Authentics commemorating the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the '57 Chevy, please visit www.goracing.com .

Motorsports Authentics, Inc. is the leader in the design, promotion, marketing and distribution of licensed motorsports merchandise.  The company's products include a broad range of motorsports-related die-cast replica collectibles, apparel, souvenirs and other sports-inspired memorabilia.  Motorsports Authentics markets and distributes product through a variety of channels including their Authorized Dealer network, the Racing Collectables Club of America (RCCA), QVC, GoRacing.com, Trackside at racing events, direct corporate promotions, mass retail and department stores, specialty dealers and select online retailers.  For more information about Motorsports Authentics, please visit the Web site at www.motorsports-authentics.com .

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Ward Burton , Jeff Gordon , Kenny Wallace , Sterling Marlin , Tony Raines , Jimmie Johnson , J.J. Yeley , Martin Truex Jr. , Paul Menard , Jack Smith , Rex White