1957 Chevrolet Corvette Garage Find

Prince Rogers Nelson was a year away from birth when this roadster rolled off the GM assembly line in St. Louis, Missouri. It would then be another 25 years until the musician once known as Prince pens his iconic song “Little Red Corvette.”  The lyrics to that song maybe just a little on the erotically suggestive side, so with just the tune in mind, let’s concentrate on the little red love machine found in a Craigslist post by super-sleuth Ikey Heyman.  Our subject car is resting in Marysville, Washington, and found here on craigslist.  Thanks, Ikey, and please note:  there is nothing wrong with your eyes or your computer–the photos uploaded with this listing are out of focus.

You see what I mean now.  If you’re a lover of C1 Corvettes though, the eye strain may be worth it.  This driver’s side view shows the only serious cosmetic flaw noticeable in the photos included in the posting.  Seller claims the frame is rust-free (no photos). Historically, the original concept for the Corvette by Harley Earl was to make out a low-cost roadster made mostly from off-the-shelf components from the Chevy passenger car line.  In 1957 (Note: BF found conflicting numbers), the total of Corvettes produced was 6,339.  When Seller indicates that this car is a rare one, one out of 6,339 tells us that any 1957 Corvette is pretty uncommon.  But the fact that only 664 were manufactured with the factory four-speed trans brings whole new math into the discussion. Hub caps look to be the original design.

(Really blurry, but the best available.) Chevrolet originally offered the first Corvettes with 6-cylinder engines but in 1955 offered the first V-8.  In 1957, there were seven different variations of the 283, varying from the base 220 hp to the 300 hp fuel-injected version and a variety of carburation and fuel injection offerings in between.  There were also two different compression variations: 9.5:1 (standard) and a 10.5:1 option.  With no engine block number data and a single 4-bbl carburetor, this looks like the 220 hp base 283 version.  It appears to be a decent combination of new parts provided when the Seller took off the tarp after 44 years with mostly well-patinaed survivor parts.  Seller notes the odometer reads 106,000 miles.

Corvette aficionados we contacted were adamant that the interiors of 1957 models came in only two stock colors: beige or red.  The upholstery here is rather compromised in several areas, quite possibly the result of uninvited nibblers.  The black seats, dash, and carpet could mean that the car has had an interior re-do in the past? If you look closely at the far end of the dash, there are two stickers affixed that are event stickers from drag strips. Those stickers plus the odometer’s 106,000-mile reading may be a sign that resto work was done before the 44-year tarp over. Readers, please add your thoughts.

A dash photo with evidence of the black paint worn off.  The gauge located on the upper right is not original.  Two-tone dash paint was common in 1957 with white below the point where the dash juts out and the body color above. Just had to include this dash photo with the white ball to get you thinking about the long trek to northern Washington state. In winter.  Happy Winter Solstice by the way.

Well, there she is, one of the “Baby you’re much too fast (oh, oh)” cars that inspired that song. Sure looks like all her smiley teeth are intact and straight.  Seller mentioned just slapping on some new whitewalls. While there is no way of telling the originality of the engine, trans, and rear end, we do know the title is clear.  FYI, Hagerty lists this Corvette in FAIR condition at about $39,000 plus 10% for the 4-speed, and $1,000 if that is the original Wonderbar radio.  GOOD condition–it bumps up the value to $55,800 plus enhancements. Seller’s asking price?  A robust, well-informed $42,000.  Hmm–not a big discount on the FAIR price with enhancements at all.  There’s hope, though– please cherish this piece of advice from Seller’s posting: “Do not text with stupid offers. Come look at it, then make a stupid offer.”  Well, then. Right to the point.

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Comments

  1. Brian73 Brian73 Member

    Thanks for the Prince references in your write-up! I’ve been a Prince fan since I was 9 years old(I’m 47 now). In fact, Little Red Corvette started my love of Prince and his music. I was way too young to understand the innuendos in that song but as a car freak I thought it just about a really cool Red Corvette! Lol

    Like 8
  2. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Nice work, Mike!

    Like 4
    • Mike Tarutis Staff

      Made my day, Scotty.

      Like 1
  3. Skorzeny

    Mr. Tarutis, those are wheel covers, not hubcaps. And yes there is something wrong with my eyes now that I have seen those white sidewall tires… Ugh. I like the car though, my dad had and injected ’59.

    Like 2
    • 370zpp 370zpp Member

      Mr. Skorzeny, thanks for that shrewd observation on wheel covers and hubcaps. Now I am curious; you said your dad “had and injected 59″….. So what exactly was it he injected 59 of?

      Like 8
      • Skorzeny

        The same kind of car. I thought that was implied.

        Like 2
    • Mike Tarutis Staff

      Good catch, Skorzeny.

      “Wheel covers” is indeed the appropriate word for what I called hub caps on this Corvette.

      Always need and appreciate every such insightful correction.

      Otherwise, how am I ever going to take over Steve Magnante’s job?

      Like 2
      • DON

        Correct or not, I think most people who are old enough to remember when most cars had steel wheels always called the covers hubcaps . There even was a local business in our town that we used to use back in the 1980s called the “Hubcap Store” that had all sorts of used caps .

        Like 14
    • Ron

      Since you’re being so picky about wheel cover vs hubcap, maybe you should be a bit more careful with you grammar. If you had said your dad had an (not and) it would have implied car but and, implies that he both had, and injected ‘59 of something.

      Like 4
      • 370zpp 370zpp Member

        Thank you Ron.

        Like 2
  4. Frank Sumatra

    I think it is way past time for you guys to post an image of Ikey.

    HE IS THE MAN!!!!!!! IKEY!, IKEY!, IKEY!

    Like 3
  5. Mike Tarutis Staff

    Frank, you are spot on!

    Ikey’s snooping around the web and digging for tips keeps me employed and I am in debt to Ikey every week. I look for his tips on our system and have to chuckle at some of them.

    So that is a really good idea–let’s get Ikey to post a photo.

    FYI, I would post a photo of me, but because of my fundamental lack of computer skills, I am unable to figure out how to upload a picture through the BF site’s system. My bad, I know.

    I need to find an eleven-year-old to hire to fix that and about 112 other computer ailments–since my kids are all grown up and since visits are so short we never quite get to the “I’ll fix it for you, Dad, no sweat” time.

    Thanks again, Ikey–

    Like 4
    • IkeyHeyman

      You bet! Like I’ve said before, some OCD and time on my hands is good for something after all!

      Like 3
  6. Driveby

    “Nerf-Bars”

  7. Joe Haska

    I know Patina gets a bad rap, but I would love to have this car just the way it is. I would apply a little elbow grease and a tweak or two, but that’s it. I would drive it ,just like I found it. there are enough concourse restorations, this would be a statement.

    • Pa Tina

      The bad rap is undeserved!

    • Ed Gueth

      I agree, buy it and leave it! at least for a little while.

  8. benjy58

    Nice buy but missing the front license holder and in need of body work probably a complete resto. Might be original upholstery under the seats.

    Like 1
  9. 1Ronald

    If more people would agree with me on how over-priced older Corvettes are then the bottom would fall out freeing them to those who rightfully respect them as a tool of the road and not keep it sitting in a warehouse as a show car. Hope is not lost. I’m reminded of “investors” who bought up the 1977 Cadillac convertibles believing GM that they would never return. They did in 1985. Stop cornering the market folks. Things are only worth what another is willing to pay.

    Like 4
    • Lance

      Actually GM did that in 1976. But we catch your drift. In fact a class action lawsuit was brought against GM by people who bought the”last” Caddy convertibles.

      Like 1
    • Tort Member

      I sold my 283 4 speed 57 Corvette with both tops in like new condition for $2500 in 1966 and what would you do if that was your car today and decided to sell it? It is not just Vettes , try finding a race ready hemi powered glass front end 40 Willys coupe for $1200 in 1969 or a beautiful 55 Chevy Nomad for $850 the same year.

      Like 4
  10. Nomader55

    Where are the “Nerd bars” I’m thirsty!!

  11. Dennis Mccutchan

    I have a complete front license plate bracket I would let go of.

    Like 1
  12. Maestro1 Member

    I have to agree with 1Ronald. I think the cars are overpriced, similar to Porsches and others with irrational followers and people with more money than brains willing to throw money around which leaves the serious collector and many others who would cherish these cars out of the game.
    I’ve always like the ’57 for its style, the car rides like a truck; if you buy it lengthen the springs. I have been a collector for a long time and I simply will not pay these kinds of prices for what is essentially a project.

    Like 4
  13. Tom

    Is there a hardtop with the car ?

  14. Roy Ester Member

    Hey you experts, The top HP for a 57` was 283hp, Which was a fuel injection 283 CU. Not a 300hp.

    Like 3
    • SC/RAMBLER

      The actual horse power of the fuelie 283 was actually more than rated horsepower

  15. Terry Hauck

    very nice. My favorite Vettes. The single light 56 and 57. Great find. Have fun.

    Like 1
    • terry Brundage

      Terry: 58-60 had single rear light also…

      • Tort Member

        I believe he was speaking of headlights not taillights.

        Like 1
  16. gbvette62

    There were 5 different 283’s offered in 57, not 7, and the highest horsepower version was the 283/283 FI, not 300. The base engine, and the only single 4 bbl version, was the 283/220. The optional 283’s were a 2×4 with a hydraulic cam rated at 245 hp, a hydraulic cam FI rated at 250, a solid lifter 2×4 rated at 270, and a solid lifter FI rated at 283 hp. There was also an “air box” 283, that was the same 283/283 FI, but with an early style ram air set up added.

    The vast majority of 57’s were either 3 speeds or Powerglides, because the 4 speed didn’t become available until May of 57. A quick check of the VIN would indicate if this car was built when the 4 speed was available, but you’d have to look at the car to know if it has a true, rare, 1957 Borg-Warner T-10 in it. There were only 664 installed in Corvettes, but the same trans was offered in 57 full size Chevy’s.

    A black interior was not offered in 57, and 57 seats and door panels had a very unique “waffle” pattern vinyl, not a pleated pattern like this car. Finally, that is not a 57 “Wonderbar” in this car, but instead is some kind of old aftermarket radio.

    Like 7
    • Tort Member

      Perfectly said and 100% accurate!

      Like 3
    • Roy Ester Member

      57` T-10 were first built in April & are dated according as i have an original 57` 245HP dual four with a April dated 4-speed

  17. Bill McCoskey

    To answer the question in the BF listing; the radio is NOT a Wonderbar, and I’m not so sure it’s even a Vette radio.

    [Damn auto correct changed the word Wonderbar to Wonderbra, good thing I spotted that before sending!]

    Like 4
  18. Russ Ashley

    Regarding the value of a 57 Corvette, if you rate it on comfort, ride, quietness, and it’s ability to keep rain water out it would rate about on the level of a horse and buggy, but if you rate it on looks, desirability, and cool factor the rating jumps up to the level that brings these ridiculous prices.

    Like 4
  19. Steve Sittauer

    I am the owner of the car. It is a 1957 283 solid lifter motor. A 61 corvette T10 4 speed. Car was originally a 3 speed dual quad car, and it comes with it’s original complete duel quad setup., Both tops and complete NOS set of GM side molding.,NOS set of bumper guards. Thanks for looking

    Like 6
    • Mike Tarutis Staff

      Dear Steve:

      Thanks for reaching out. A rarity to connect owners with internet listings.

      Thanks for your plea for no stupid offers. Only those who have tried selling cars can understand that agony of a half-hour phone chat followed by a stupid offer, that scene repeated for several weeks.

      MJT

      Like 2

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