Shaved Smile During its...
During its lifetime, Pat's Vette had its front and rear Corvette emblems shaved off. That's along with repainting it the original Cascade Green/Shoreline Beige color scheme (from the brown that it wore up until about five years ago) and adding '50s-style Halibrands.
You've seen this Corvette. Not just here, in print, but in person. Especially if you've been in and through California's Central Valley over the last 45 years, or wherever Pat Garrahan's driven it. That's how long it's been his daily driver. A C1 that's covered (as of this writing) over 711,000 miles!
Pat bought the Vette from its original owner in October 1963-it had been sold new at a Chevy dealer in Dinuba, a short drive from Pat's hometown of Fresno. It was a clean, well-maintained, one-owner Vette, but it wasn't quite the beauty you see here.
Under the hood, a different induction system resided than what's atop the original small-block V-8 today. "Originally it was a 283 with 270 hp, with two four-barrel carburetors on it," Pat says. "It had the two fours on when I got it, and after about a year, I put the fuel injection on it." Lest you think that he salvaged a Rochester mechanical fuel-injection setup from one of the 1,040 '57 Corvettes that were built with it, he didn't. Instead, it's off one of the 940 fuel-injected '59 Vettes, possibly salvaged from a totaled car or one that was taken off by an owner frustrated over its failure to run right.
Pat's a mechanic by trade, and regular maintenance of every system and component on his '57 helped him pile on the miles over time. That holds especially true for the fuel-injection system. "I've worked on it about three or four times," he says. "I just maintain it." Also different: the transmission. A three-speed manual went in on the line at St. Louis Assembly, but now it's gone. "I put a Tremec five-speed in it about five or six years ago," Pat says. "I always did cruise OK on the highway with the three-speed. It was just that I had high revs-at 60 mph, it would be around 3,000 rpm or better." That made for a healthy sound to some Vette lovers, but not to others. "People said, 'Man, you're going to blow it up!' Well, I proved them wrong-I'd been driving it that way all the time." Now, with two extra forward gears, Pat says his 283 turns around 2,000 rpm at 60, which also helps his fuel mileage "a bit."
Ain't It Grand Pat Garrahan's...
Ain't It Grand
Pat Garrahan's '57 Corvette doesn't look like it has traveled over 711,000 miles since it was built, does it?
Under The Hood Initially,...
Under The Hood
Initially, a pair of Carter four-barrels sat atop this Vette's original 283. Pat swapped them for this '59-vintage Rochester fuel-injection system in 1964, a year after he bought the Vette. It's been there ever since, along with that OEM 283.
Steering Look closely at...
Look closely at the steering wheel in Pat's C1, and you'll see that it isn't refurbished or a repop-it's the original wheel. Nineteen-fifty-seven was the last year for dashes with center-mounted tachs.
Three speeds or five, Pat's Corvette has been around. Exactly where has he-and does he-drive it? "Everywhere," he says with pride. "I drive it to and from work. I drive it basically every day." He adds that it has traveled far afield from Fresno. "I've been to 10, 12, 15 different states [with the '57]. I've been into Canada with it-never been to Mexico. We took it on trips, weekend trips, that sort of stuff." Lest you think he only drives it in mild weather, think again. "I've driven it in the rain, in the snow-I drove it across a river one time, right though a river when I was about 20 years old," he says. "I've taken it everywhere, but I don't beat it anymore like I used to."
He has, however, replaced items that wore out, such as seat covers and carpets, more than once. "I don't know how many sets of seat covers or carpets I've gone through," he says. "You get a hole in them; you just replace them. A lot of times when I bought seat covers, I'd buy two for the left and one for the right."
Interior Improvement Pat...
Pat has replaced the seat covers and carpets more than once.
A Skinny Stick This original...
A Skinny Stick
This original tach only goes to 6,000 rpm, with no redline, while the shifter stirs the Tremec five-speed with an early-'57-style shift ball. The aftermarket A/C unit gets plenty of use in California's Central Valley.
From Behind If this was...
If this was the first look at Pat's C1, you might guess that it was a smoothed-out '60 or a shaved-deck '58, instead of a '57.
Nowadays, the '57 stays close to home. "Up until the last couple of years, everywhere we've gone, we've taken it," says Pat. "Finally, it just beats you to death. I ended up buying an '03 Corvette to take on trips. I guess the older you get, the more it beats you up."