Picture this: It’s 1956. Chevrolet is facing a downfall in sales on the three-year-old Corvette model. In order to keep the legend alive, Chevy needed to pull together some innovative resources and take effect on creating an upgrade to please the masses. 1957 hits and the Corvette arrives on the showroom floor with a fuel-injected small block. By July of ‘57, the Vette had a four-speed transmission to be reckoned with. Only 6,400 cars were made, and a lesser 240 were outfitted with fuel injection.
Dave Holwick – a proud Corvette owner at the time – was interested in a rarely-bred version of this car. He wanted the top of the line in power while also buying options bearing minimal weight. On came the birth of this very limited production 1957 Corvette that holds a jackpot of stories; rendering its existence invaluable.
After 80,000 miles and nearly 40 years of life, the Corvette tumbled into a rather poor condition. The white paint had worn away, the bumpers and bezels rusted through, and the restoration price was well beyond the owner’s interest. The car’s campaign for a new home hit the market. That’s where this Corvette’s current story begins.
Rich is an enthusiastic restoration expert and an airplane mechanic. He was striving to get his hands on one of these Vettes at the time. His timing couldn’t have been better to search. Rich spent some time working out a deal with Dave on the car. Since the vehicle was such an idol for its era, Rich didn’t have a problem making a serious expense to attain it. The bargaining began, but Dave and Rich couldn’t work out a deal on the car right away.
When Rich saw the Vette, the conclusion was clear. This wasn’t any average C1. Dave spoke about the car’s eventful past. In the 57’s younger days, it was stolen and thrashed around for roughly a month, before the car was ever recovered. The grand theft auto happened to be performed by the chief of police’s son, who snagged the keys and all. It wasn’t up to question until authorities got full details on the car and put two and two together. From that point on, the authority’s son spent some time in the slammer.
A few days passed by, and Rich gave Dave a call back. Rich offered up $15,000 for the car, but Dave initially wanted no less than $25,000 before handing over the title and keys. Rich was respectful when making offers, and before long Rich struck a deal of $18,000 to take it home. Rich found out shortly after he made the purchase that there was a Corvette dealer that tried buying the car but didn’t get a deal on the car as Rich did.
The combination of Rich’s incredible attention to detail and the automobile’s fascinating background led to Rich making a pact. He was going to completely restore the car with as many refurbished parts as possible. His goal: to produce a car rated to factory spec, while preserving and updating the existing materials on the car to bring out the most in the factory styling of the Corvette.
Want to read the teardown, restoration, and a happy ending to this story? Stay tuned for part two of this Corvette’s rebuild.