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by Bruce Caldwell  More from Author

A Flaming ’57 Resto Mod

The toys people play with as children can influence the toys they choose as adults. That certainly was the case for Sid Mauldin of Pampa, Texas. As a youngster a couple of Corvette slot cars (a ’57 and a ’58) were among Sid’s favorite toys. He preferred the single headlight styling of the ’57 to the four-eyed ‘58. Sid always wanted a ’57 Corvette and he was particularly interested in owning a hot rod ’57.

Sid admired the resto-mod Corvettes that were coming out of the Yenko Wildfire Garage (www.yenko-wildfire.com) in Clarion, Pennsylvania. Bill Rea and Bill Rea, III, produce an array of radical Chevrolet-based cars. The elder Rea worked with the legendary Don Yenko on the famed ’69 Yenko Camaros. Sid was actively considering having a Yenko Wildfire Corvette built when he saw that the flamed ’57 seen here was going up for auction at the famous Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. Sid’s wife, Donna, encouraged him to attend the auction.

When a car comes up for bid at an auction can play an important part in determining its selling price. There are prime spots and not so prime time slots. The ’57 was seemingly slated in a very prime spot following the bidding for the first production 2009 ZR1. Jay Leno was part of that exciting sale, but after the ZR1 sold many bidders were still paying attention to Jay or making their way back to their seats instead of focusing on the flamed ’57. As a result, bidding wasn’t as spirited as expected and Sid got the Corvette at a price well below its estimated value. Sid was ecstatic about getting his dream ’57 Corvette at a bargain price.

The ’57 Corvette had been storage for almost forty years before it was brought back to life at the Yenko Wildfire Garage. The body was made better than new with extra reinforcements in critical areas such as corners, joints, and gussets. The rear fenders were flared to accommodate modern wheels and 18-inch 40 series BF Goodrich tires.

The first thing most people notice about the car is its wild paint job. The in-house custom painter at the Yenko Wildfire Garage is Chad Woodward. He was responsible for the realistic flames that cover the black base paint. The flames extend to the engine compartment and interior. Bobby Wiles was also involved in the paint and bodywork.

This Corvette performs as well as it looks. The original frame was replaced with custom Art Morrison Enterprises chassis. C5 suspension components were installed. The huge brakes are from Wilwood. The 505 horsepower LS7 engine is one of the few produced for non-assembly line use. A Tremec TKO 5-speed and a Strange Engineering rearend housing back the engine. Extensive chroming and powder coating were utilized throughout the chassis and engine compartment. The hood opens hydraulically.

The handsome two-tone interior features black leather with tan Ostrich leather inserts on the seats and door panels. The Classic Instruments gauges have Yenko Wildfire logos. The sound system is by Pioneer. The Corvette has air conditioning and power windows.

Sid and Donna enjoy hitting the wide-open roads around northwestern Texas where the ’57 Corvette goes like wildfire.          

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