1957 C1 Corvette Goes on Epic and ‘Dangerous’ Adventure
Ever dreamed of seeing the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet? This Corvette owner made that dream a reality.
Cars can be investments. They can be seen as pieces of art. But at their most fundamental level, cars are designed to be driven. Casey Putsch, an automotive entrepreneur, feels the same way. In a new VINwiki video, he says, “I love to enjoy cars for what they are. You drive them. You appreciate them, but you drive them.” After getting a red and white 1957 Chevrolet Corvette as part of a deal for his Auburn Boattail Speedster, that’s exactly what he did. He spent the next two weeks traveling all over the American Southwest.
Putsch got the Corvette in Midland, Texas. It turns out the man he bought it from was a board member of the Petroleum Museum, home of many vintage Chaparral race cars. After getting an up-close look at those, Putsch headed further west to go inside the Carlsbad Caverns. He then made sure to scratch getting as close to the Alamogordo nuclear test site as possible off of his to-do list.
The allure of the Gila Wilderness had an edge of danger to it. Putsch went on his adventure in December. The further he went, the heavier the snow fell. It got so bad at one point that even Jeep drivers had to stop. Eventually, Putsch got to a ranger station and inquired about the nearby hot springs. Against the ranger’s advice, Putsch trudged past a sign telling him he was in a wolf reintroduction habitat and across three streams. After jumping in and out of the painfully hot springs, Putsch realized he only had an hour of light left in which to get back to his Corvette. He came to a frightening realization: “I’ve got a fixed-blade case knife and a PPK. I brought the wrong gun and this is idiotic, and it’s time for me to go ’cause I don’t want to sleep on this mountain.”
Luckily, Putsch made it to the safety of a hunting lodge and a friendly local. Then he had his first mechanical issue with his gorgeous vintage ‘Vette. “I broke the alternator bracket so I had to start robbing bolts off of other parts of the engine or manifold to put it together to work.” He found the parts he needed at a car parts store, fixed the issue, then drove to the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona and used the Clark Telescope to take in the quiet beauty of the moon.
Putsch’s Corvette soon got some rest. He took a train ride to the Grand Canyon and hopped on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad to see the beautiful winter sights that Colorado had to offer.
There was only one way Putsch was going to get to the top of Pikes Peak, though. He fired up his ’57 and made the trip to the summit 14,000 feet above sea level. It was breathtaking in more ways than one. The Corvette’s engine went into full choke mode and flooded. With the assistance of a helpful fellow tourist, Putsch was able to rig the choke to stay wide open. His impromptu solution worked and he was able to get to ground level safely and drive back home.
Putsche took a lot of risks driving a classic car through multiple states by himself, but they all paid off. From the sounds of it, he would do it again. In fact, he encourages everyone to do the same. “You’ve got a great, big, grand nation and you can travel anywhere you want. Go! Get in your car. What’s stopping you? You get a few stone chips. Big deal.”