There's no secret to this Vette's long life: regular maintenance, a devoted owner, and luck in avoiding crashes that would have written it off. Pat says that, if you're looking for a Corvette to own as a daily driver, maybe a C1 might not be the best choice for you as it was for him four and a half decades ago. "It depends on what they're looking for," he says when asked if he has any advice for prospective first-time Corvette owners. "If they're looking for an old one, I don't think they're going to drive it as a daily driver. Almost any Corvette, I think, is in good shape-most people take care of 'em. And, naturally, with the newer ones, you can find a high-mileage or a low-mileage one, and they're still about the same price. The price doesn't change much, from what I see."

And time doesn't diminish a Corvette's beauty, no matter how many times the odometer's been around.

Owned by: Pat Garrahan, Fresno, California
MILEAGE 711,015 (at time story was written)
Production '57 Corvette
MODIFICATIONS Corvette emblem shaved off of front, color change from original
PAINT Original Cascade Green with Shoreline Beige coves color scheme reapplied about five years ago
Production '57 Corvette
BRAKES Production '57 Corvette drum-and-shoe, front and rear
WHEELS 15x10 Halibrands, front and rear
TIRES 205/60-15 (front), 245/60-15 (rear). New tires to go on as this is written
Overhead-valve V-8, Chevrolet small-block
IGNITION Production '57 Corvette nonelectronic
INDUCTION Rochester mechanical fuel-injection system, taken from a '59 Corvette
EXHAUST OEM exhaust manifolds/dual-exhaust system
FUEL DELIVERY OEM mechanical fuel pump
HORSEPOWER 283 (estimated)
Tremec five-speed manual (replaced OEM three-speed manual), shifted by replica of OEM "skinny stick" shifter
Restored production '57 Corvette
SEATS Restored (several times!) production Corvette bucket seats
CARPETS Reproduction Corvette loop-pile
INSTRUMENTATION Production gauge cluster (0- to 140-mph speedometer, 0- to 6,000-rpm tachometer; ammeter, fuel level, oil-pressure and coolant-temperature gauges in dash
SOUND SYSTEM Production "Wonderbar" AM radio
HVAC Production '57 Corvette heater/defroster and aftermarket A/C (additional air provided by dropping top and lowering windows)