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Ready To Paint: 1957 Chevrolet Corvette

The owner of this 1957 Corvette claims that it has spent several years in a body shop but is now ready for paint. It has undergone a few changes, so that could provide the opportunity for the buyer to choose a different paint combination without being accused of destroying an original survivor. Our ever-vigilant Barn Finder Ikey H spotted the Corvette for us, so thank you so much for that, Ikey. It is located in Manchester, Maryland, and has been listed for sale here on craigslist. The sale price for the Corvette has been set at $37,500.

It isn’t clear why the Corvette’s stay in the shop amounted to years, but it has emerged looking quite tidy. There are no signs of any problems with the fiberglass, and it isn’t going to take a lot of work to get this one ready for a new coat of paint. That brings us to the vexing question of color. What you see at present isn’t original. This Corvette is 1-of-2,794 to roll off the line wearing two-tone paint in 1957. More specifically, it is 1-of-716 that wore Venetian Red with Beige coves. That level of rarity would prompt me to undertake a faithful restoration, but some other changes might prompt a rethink by potential buyers. We’ll get to that part of the story shortly. The supplied photos show a frame that is in excellent condition, so rust is not an issue. There are both a convertible top and a hardtop included in the sale, and the glass looks free from visible flaws. A few exterior trim pieces are missing, and some items could stand a trip to the platers if the buyer is seeking a high-quality finish. Another choice that the buyer will need to make surrounds the wheels. The owner does have the original items, although he is willing to leave these wheels instead if the buyer wants. It seems that you can’t have both in this case.

With the Venetian Red exterior, this Corvette must have looked stunning with its interior trimmed in Red. You can see evidence of this where someone has performed a color change that I would class as pretty ordinary. The wheel looks fantastic, but there are plenty of trim pieces that are missing. There are also components missing from the dash, so this interior is likely to consume equal portions of time and money.

This is where the news takes a turn for the worse and prompted me to suggest that a faithful restoration might not be entirely necessary. The Corvette isn’t a numbers-matching car. The car originally featured a 283ci V8 and a 3-speed manual transmission. The 283 has been consigned to the pages of history, and a 350 is now in residence. Depending on which version of the 283 was slotted under the hood, the 350 does offer the possibility of improved performance levels. It might also be possible to source a date-correct engine and return the Corvette to something resembling its original specification. From a positive standpoint, the Corvette does run and drive. It has also been treated to a new exhaust, which could still be used if a 283 was returned to the engine bay.

As you can see, the next owner of this ’57 Corvette will have some choices to make. As the owner rightly points out, Chevrolet sold a mere 6,339 Corvettes in this model year. This was a massive improvement over previous figures, with the badge almost being scrapped a mere two-years earlier due to appalling sales figures. Many enthusiasts believe that the survival of the Corvette was more a matter of pride than economics. Ford’s Thunderbird had received a rapturous welcome into the marketplace, and Chevrolet didn’t want to be seen walking away with its tail between its legs. The original color combination alone makes this a relatively rare car, and that brings me back to my original question. If you bought this Corvette, would you refinish in its original color, or would you choose to go your own way?


  1. Avatar photo ruxvette

    It was taken apart to be painted…and then put back together to sell? What? It’s not ready for paint as it needs a lot of body work/fitment/etc. No mention of the missing parts so assume they aren’t there. And there are a TON of missing parts. At $37.5 you’re already underwater unless you just want a DIYer.

    Like 23
    • Avatar photo JohnD

      I second that! What does ready to paint mean? This car is nowhere close to ready to paint . . ..

      Like 15
  2. Avatar photo bobhess Member

    Lot of money for a kit car with a rusty frame and a trashed interior. It’s not quite the “you’ve got to be kidding” car of the week but it’s close.

    Like 17
  3. Avatar photo Rudy C

    Obviously Rod’s idea of ‘ready to paint’ is far far different than most of us. Lots of work to do before evening thinking about rolling it into a paint booth. With all the missing bits and misses that there are no mention of you’d be taking on quite the project!

    Like 10
  4. Avatar photo Moe

    Looks like they painted it once.
    Hit with fine grit sandpaper to buff it. Decided to sell it slapped it back together. Parts are in the wind.
    And just not a few.
    A rare Color combo and change it.
    Something is off base.

    Like 12
  5. Avatar photo HotRodJon

    While all this is true it’s still a 57 Corvette. Yeah missing parts but most are available repo. Yeah NOM. So what most are. Yeah not ready for paint but not wrecked. Yeah under water probably so but if you want one you gotta pay to play. Kit car ????? Don’t think so. Lighten up.

    Like 6
  6. Avatar photo Maestro1

    Not at that price. And, yes, there is something wrong here. This isn’t near ready for paint, and the interior work alone will require deep pockets.

    Like 4
  7. Avatar photo dogwater

    Would be a great project at about 14k

    Like 6
  8. Avatar photo Bob

    Come on now, if you are thinking of buying this Vette the important questions arre : It appears most of the chrome pieces had been removed in preparation, does the owner have them in a box somewhere? Or did they sell them? How about the dashboard, where are all the instruments starting with the speedometer and going to the right towards the passenger seat, where are they? There are a couple, but not the whole shebang. Looking again at the dashboard, I noted three additional holes to the right of where the tachometer belongs, a 1957 Corvette Instruments are not cheap. The radio is gone, do they have that somewhere? Heater, blower motor and ducting are gone. The interior chrome pieces fall into the same “lost and hopefully can be found” category. The buyer will need some deep pockets to get this car into original shape.

    Like 11
    • Avatar photo Stan Marks

      Bob, too many unanswered questions. $37,500 is outrageous.
      I’ll give them $50 for the red steering wheel.
      I also noticed, the author of the craigslist post, deleted the site.
      This heap is better suited as a gasser.
      This is the last year of the plain Jane Vette, compared to the beginning of the dual headlights in ’58.
      Big difference…..

      Like 4
  9. Avatar photo stillrunners

    A better one sold at auction today for about the same price by VanDerBrink.

    Like 2

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