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Other than the engine and VIN, what differences are there between the 56 and 57 Vettes? Is there a way to tell the difference by just looking at one?
 

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The inside rear view mirror on the '56 was height-adjusted via a large chrome thumbscrew on the forward side of the mirror base, and the '57 mirror had a threaded shaft with a jam nut.

The auto-seek bar on the radio was plain on the '56, and had "Wonderbar" stamped in it on the '57.

The hardtop locator pin receptacles on the "B"-pillars had round holes in '56, and slotted holes in '57.

The top compartment lid vinyl end flaps that snapped to the top of the "B"-pillars had round female snaps in '56, and had an open channel retainer instead in '57.
 

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In addition to what topdog has pointed out (EXTREMELY minor differences), the 56 and 57 Corvettes are totally, completely, 100% the same in MOST, repeat, MOST ways.

There were a few other more or less differences, but NOT visually.
The 56 had a 265 V8 with either a 1x4bl carb or 2x4bl carbs.
A 3sp or PG were the only transmissions.
Rear end ratios were either 3.27(RARE, one year only) 3.55, 3.70.
The 56 rear axle housing was one year only WITHOUT a drain plug, smaller axle bearings and ONE YEAR only axles (cannot be seen just by looking at the car).
What topdog said about the hard top receivers is correct, BUT, the slotted receivers on 57 cars was a mid year change. Early 57s still had a receiver with just a hole.

The changes for 57 Vettes were MANILY mechanical (NOT cosmetic).
The engine on ALL 57s was the 283-------------in SIX versions: 4bl-hyd cam, 2x4bl-hyd cam, 2x4bl-solid cam, FI-hyd cam, FI-solid cam, FI-solid cam and Airbox pkg(May 57 (NO radio/heater with Airbox pkg).
Transmissions were 3sp, pg and 4sp available Apr 9, 1957
Rearends were 3.36, 3.70, 4.11(all non-posi), 3.70, 4.11, 4.56(all posi, introduced LATE Dec 56), all 57 rear housings had a drain plug and bigger axle bearings
Heavy Duty brakes and suspension available about Apr-May 57
Wide wheels (15x5.5in vs stock 15x5 standard wheels)
Mid year 57s got a vented gas tank, 56 tanks are NOT vented except by the gas cap. A 57 with a vented tank can be seen by opening the gas filler door to observe the small vent hose, which is not on 56s.

Thus, 56 got the new body (different from 53-55) and 57 got all the "good stuff".

On ALL 56-57 Corvettes, ONE top was standard (your choice, soft or hard top), the second top was optional.

A contrasting cove color was an optional, NOT, repeat, NOT standard.

Here is a 56 and 57 side by side.
The most immediate noticeable difference from 57 to 58 is that 58 Corvettes got dual headlights and additional trim in the cove.
 

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Didn't the '57 have those scoops on the fenders where the '56 did not?
That's how I always identified them.

Dangerous Joe :viking:
 

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I owned a 59 and a 62 but never my favorite which is the 57. Question why does the 57 demand a much higher price than the 56 when they are basically the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So, from 5-10 feet there's no real way to tell them apart?
 

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I owned a 59 and a 62 but never my favorite which is the 57. Question why does the 57 demand a much higher price than the 56 when they are basically the same.
Because, as I explained above, the 56 and 57 were virtually identical in every way-----------------EXCEPT, the 57 got goodies that were NOT on the 56.
283
Fuel injection
4sp
positraction
HD brakes and suspension
Wide wheels
All of these things make the 57 much more desirable.
 

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So, from 5-10 feet there's no real way to tell them apart?
From 5-10 INCHES, there is no way to tell them apart!
As I explained above, the differences were PRIMARILY mechanical. Wheels, colors (except silver in 57), interior, dash, body panels, grill, bumper, frame, brakes-------------------ARE ALL THE SAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THEY ARE THE SAME CAR, AGAIN, THE SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES ARE MECHANICAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I even posted comparison pictures!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Were they all aluminum case?

Dangerous Joe :viking:
No, they had cast iron main cases up through mid-61, and alum tail housings as well as alum side covers. Then went to alum main cases after mid-61.
The 57-58 main cases were T101 and the 59-mid 61 were T101B main cases.
Besides the T101-T101B casting, for me, the most immediate recognizable difference was the round boss for the filler hole on 57-8 cases and an oval boss on the 59-early 61 cases.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
From 5-10 INCHES, there is no way to tell them apart!
As I explained above, the differences were PRIMARILY mechanical. Wheels, colors (except silver in 57), interior, dash, body panels, grill, bumper, frame, brakes-------------------ARE ALL THE SAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THEY ARE THE SAME CAR, AGAIN, THE SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES ARE MECHANICAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I even posted comparison pictures!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But, from 5-10 inches you can see the back of the rear view mirror.
 

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But, from 5-10 inches you can see the back of the rear view mirror.
That is absolutely correct!!!!
But VERY FEW people are even going to be aware of that feature-------------------and if they do, then they will know if it is a 56 or a 57----------------------provided someone hasn't put a 57 mirror on a 56 dash, or vice versa.
 
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