"I was under the impression that I'd do the '57 in nitrocellulose lacquer, and then I'd mix some clear in as I'm going," he recalls. "Little did I know that acrylic lacquer clear does not mix with nitrocellulose paint.

"I learned a valuable lesson," he continues. "With acrylic lacquer, you can spray on 25 coats, sand 20 coats, and still polish it. If you have 25 coats of nitrocellulose lacquer, the only coat that matters is the 25th. I didn't know that—I even learned some things after all these years doing it."

Salvemini kept the mesh grille that was on the car, rather than "re-tooth" it with a production '57 Corvette one. "I have a letter from the original owner stating that's the way he bought the car," he says, "and I have a letter from Michael Greene, stating that's the way it was delivered to the dealership. And then I actually have a photo of the car from 1959, which shows it with fog lights and a mesh screen."

Was this Corvette prepared to race, but sold before it ever turned a lap on a track? Salvemini says that's possible.

"There was a lot of racing going on around there back then, and it wasn't far from Sebring." He adds that it's likely the father of the original owner told the dealer what he wanted in a '57 Vette, and the dealer showed him the car he was planning on racing—but would sell if buyer would take it as it was.

Salvemini says he's contacted—and kept in touch—with all of the '57's previous owners, who all live within a few miles of each other in Florida. He adds, "I've owned 40 or 50 '57 Corvettes, and I just love that year. To find a '57 base-engine/automatic car with this kind of history is so rare, [and being able to] talk to all these people. But to find a car like this?"

Spec Sheet: '57 Roadster
Owner Domenick Salvemini; West Babylon, New York
Block Stock RPO 579B cast-iron
Displacement 283 ci
Compression Ratio 10.5:1
Heads Stock RPO 579B cast-iron
Valves Stock
Camshaft Stock solid-lifter
Rocker Arms Stock
Pistons Stock
Crankshaft Stock
Rods Stock
Intake Manifold Stock RPO 579B
Fuel Injection Rochester "Ramjet" mechanical with RPO 579D fiberglass underhood induction box
Ignition Stock Delco non-electronic with mechanical tach-drive distributor
Exhaust System Restored stock with "block hugger" exhaust manifolds
Transmission RPO 685 Borg Warner T-10 four-speed manual with OEM shifter
Clutch Stock
Driveshaft Stock
Suspension Stock
Rearend Stock with RPO 677 Positraction and 3.70:1 gears
Brakes (Front) Modified stock drum-and-shoe with heavy-duty RPO 684 service parts (cerametallic linings, "elephant ear" airscoops, etc.); (Rear) Restored stock drum-and-shoe
Wheels Stock 15x5-in stamped steel with full wheel covers (front and rear)
Tires Reproduction 6.70-15 blackwall (front and rear)
Weight 2,880 lbs
Current Mileage 25,000 (original)