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Decent Driver: 1957 Chevrolet Corvette

The Chevrolet Corvette was still in its infancy back in 1957, but the sportster was already making progress in terms of performance with the 6-cylinder being discontinued the year before, followed by the 265 cubic-inch V8 growing to 283 beginning in ’57.  This one’s got a NOM but it’s running and driving, so if you’ve been on the hunt for a C1 that primarily could use some cosmetic touches this 1957 Chevrolette Convertible here on Craigslist might be worth checking out.  It’s located in Rogers, Arkansas, and comes at an asking price of $49,000.  Gunter Kramer, thanks a lot for the heads-up here!

The seller doesn’t give us any clues as to what 283 variant his Corvette was originally equipped with, but in 1957 horsepower ranged from a minimum of 220 if equipped with a 4-barrel carburetor up to 283 if a buyer opted for the costly fuel-injected topper with a manual transmission, the latter noteworthy for being one of the earliest mass-produced engines to advertise one HP per cubic inch.  Under the hood now is an unspecified 350 with valve covers boasting 250 horses along with a 4-speed, so I’m guessing this one’s fun to drive and has plenty of get-up-and-go power.

Outside, the Venetian Red paint lacks a lot of luster, but except for a small area on the passenger side quarter panel, the body appears reasonably good elsewhere.  It seems like a lack of thoroughly prepping the body before spraying might have been responsible for the paint results ending up only fair, but with some better attention to detail and a re-do, this one would make a fine-looking cruiser. We also get a shot of both sides of the removable hardtop, which doesn’t appear to have any significant issues to report.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say the interior is perfect, but it seems to be in excellent shape for the most part with the seats, steering wheel, and gauges looking A-OK for a driver.  A glance inside the trunk shows a well-preserved baggage space, and although we don’t get any underside photos the frame is stated to be in very nice shape as well.  This C1 seems to be at a good point already to begin addressing the appearance areas, or maybe even spending a season or two just enjoying being behind the wheel first.  Is $49k a fair price to pay for this 1957 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible?

Comments

  1. Avatar photo Cam W.

    After seeing a really nice ’57 at an NCRS meet, I decided I had to have one. Two years later, I found one in a barn, apart, but relatively complete. It had apparently been raced at some point, and was part of an estate sale of Corvette cars & parts. It came with a freshly built 283, and 4-speed with a Hurst shifter, and a pickup truck load of various C1, C2, and a few C3 parts.
    As the engine, transmission, and quite a few other parts had come from other cars, I rebuilt it as a decent driver. The paint was even the same faded red.
    It looked cool, and the 283 (with off-road exhaust) ran and sounded great.
    I just didn’t like driving it. I am a big guy, and found it cramped compared to my 66 C2. I kept it for about 3 years and replaced it with another C2. Interestingly, I notice the seller of this car is open to trades for a C2.
    Over my decades of car collecting, there have been several cars that I dreamed of owning, where the dream did not match the reality of ownership. My ’57 was one of those experiences for me.
    As for the car listed here, if you really want a C1 driver/project, this may be a good candidate. The price is in the ballpark given the current market.
    Is it a good investment? Probably not, as the C1 prices have been stagnant, or dropping for some time. If you want a Corvette project, I suggest a C2. They have more interior room, handle and drive much better, and the C2 market is strong.

    Like 20
    • Avatar photo Terrry

      It’s extremely difficult to find any collector car that you could call a good investment. The only folks making any money buy one, put a few dollars into it cleaning it up and then they flip it at a sizeable markup. Could this be one of those?

      Like 4
    • Avatar photo Mark E. Switzer

      A true classic ! Being an early Corvette 1957 , it does have value ! I think while there is a strong demand for most early models , it’s the immaculate examples that will bring the best prices . On this particular car the engine and interior look quite nice , but if I was the seller , I would invest in a quality paint job with a high gloss . Also , a professional detail prior to selling . Cleaned up , this ’57 Corvette would command an even better price . Happy Motoring !

      Like 2
    • Avatar photo justpaul

      My mother has a 1960 Vette. At 5’11” I’m hardly a big guy and I find the driving position downright awkward AND cramped.

      Like 1
    • Avatar photo 427Turbojet Member

      In 1976 I was visiting a girlfriend spending the summer in Fargo North Dakota. Gateway Chevrolet had a kind of ratty 57 Corvette, black with a factory hardtop. I actively had enough money to buy it, but when I tried to test drive it my 6’4″ (skinny in those days lol) frame didn’t fit. Head against roof, steering wheel across my thighs and no room to move my left leg to operate the clutch, I didn’t get off the lot.
      A couple of years later I bought a 66 427 coupe that I fit very comfortably in. Not necessarily graceful getting in and out of especially with hot side pipes but plenty of room inside.
      Before even looking at Corvettes I thought I needed an MG TC (after reading and rereading “The Red Car”). I found on and “tried it on”. I barely got half of me into it. Since then I’ve admired TCs (and TDs and TFs) from afar!

      Like 1
  2. Avatar photo Terrry

    Someone should fix that rust on the fiberglass passenger’s fender. It might spread.

    Like 15
    • Avatar photo John S Bruckner

      Fiberglass don’t rust . Even the floors are glass.

      Like 2
      • Avatar photo Steveo

        That’s the joke.

        Like 14
    • Avatar photo ed casala

      Internet humor, not everyone gets it! Cheers.

      Like 8
  3. Avatar photo Greg

    As I told my friend, depending on how long you plan to keep these old Vettes you will recover your investment and make money. I know I have had over 200 in the past 30 years. I currently own a 60, 66 and a 68 427. I have never ever lost money. This 57 will bring close to what is asking. Still better then paying $100k at Meccum.

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo Todd J. Member

      Over 200 Vettes and never lost money on any of them? I have to give you a tip of the hat, the law of averages says you would have had to experience a bad beat at some point….

      Like 7
      • Avatar photo Dave L

        I owned a 62 Vette bought in 1965, for $2200 , used it all Summer and sold it for $2200. Then bought a 58 for $1550 and sold it a year later for $2300 plus $350 for the hardtop! Next was a 70 Chevelle SS convertible. Bought a 74 Vette new for $6600 and sold it in 1979 for $7400! Very few cars can you drive and make a profit when you sell them.

        Like 2
      • Avatar photo Jeffrey Yannello

        He has three…they’re good

        Like 0
  4. Avatar photo Frank Sumatra

    Here is a reference point from the latest issue of the NCRS Driveline classified ads:

    1957, Polo white, silver coves, red interior, 2 tops, 4-speed, 2016 body-off restoration, Top Flight award. Everything works. Heater, radio, courtesy lights and emergency brake alarm. $ 86,000.

    Like 7
  5. Avatar photo Billy

    John, I think you got caught in that one.

    Like 0
  6. Avatar photo GuernseyPagoda

    I found a 57 black Vette in Ohio, that my brother ended up buying. It was originally Cascade Green, which is what he wanted. After a four year restoration, he has made it his own restomod. It was NOT #’s matching when he bought it, so he put in new tan leather interior, A/C, PS, and an LS3. The car is absolutely stunning now where it resides in Florida. He told me that his number to sell after restoration is north of $300k, and he’ll probably get it.

    Like 1
  7. Avatar photo Matthew Dyer

    My favorite and the right colors too!
    Nice to look at but a handful to drive. I’ll go back to dreaming now.

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo Marshall

    A true corvette man..

    Like 0
  9. Avatar photo Jack Quantrill

    The 1957 F.I. 283, would do 60mph in first gear as advertised. A salesman was foolish enough to let us test drive one!

    Like 1
  10. Avatar photo Al

    I would love a C1 but after learning the limitations of interior room and general lack of ergonomics I will sadly pass. After two knee replacements and various other ailments I have enough challenges getting in and out of my 16,000 mile C5. This one does appear to be a decent car but it’s all the money at price asked.

    Like 0
  11. Avatar photo ruxvette

    Holy crap (no pun intended), there is more BS here than at the local stock yards.
    But…I’ve had over 300 Corvettes in the last 58 years and I have made so much money I am now living in the lap of luxury in my (slightly) used camp tent…right down the street from you.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Ike Onick

      I thought I saw you by the river last week

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo Jeffrey Yannello

        Yeah living in a van…

        Like 0
  12. Avatar photo PRA4SNW Member

    Probably not too many left in this condition – a decent driver.
    The rest are either junk, restored to original, or restomodded.

    This will be a suitable match to someone who wants to actually drive and enjoy a C1.

    Like 0

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