Was 1957 the peak of American car design? Jay Leno thinks so, even declaring that styling became far too excessive the following year. Maybe that’s why he grabbed the keys to his 1957 Corvette for this episode of Jay Leno’s Garage.
This Inca Silver Vette—complete with Ivory coves—has an interesting history. As Jay tells it, the car was ordered by a soldier while still deployed in Korea. He curated the options list for one specific aim: going fast. The focus on speed meant forgoing the creature comforts of radio, heater, and even the soft top. What the soldier did include was the top-tier 283-cubic-inch V-8 complete with a pair of Carter WCFB four-barrel carburetors. A four-speed transmission and 4.11 rear gear round out the performance combination.
The 270-horsepower package manages to sounds better than it looks, even with the bright-red interior and aftermarket wheels. And when all eight throttle plates open up, the Chevy launches forward with an eagerness typically reserved for cars with significantly more horsepower.
First-generation Corvette values have been flat for a bit, but a 270-hp version like Jay’s commands quite the premium over a standard single four-barrel car. On even-rarer fuel injection cars, that bumps the rated horsepower to 283 and increases values accordingly. But for some reason we don’t think Jay is too worried about this Vette’s value. Sure, he has way more money than he probably knows what to do with, but he’s also just busy enjoying his time behind the wheel. And that’s something we can all appreciate.