"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?"