russ '55 CORVETTE

Rose and Joe Guiliano Sr. bought a brand new Corvette in Florence, Colorado that has a price tag of $3,045.00 for their son Joe as a high school graduation gift. Joe immediately rode the gorgeous looking car. (who wouldn’t?) As he wandered the stunning back roads of Colorado during that post-high school summer, he knew that College was just fast approaching.

*Check out this classic “Chevrolet Corvette Parking Only” sign.*

During fall, Joe started his studies at the Kansas City Art Institute. He took a major in Industrial Design. After he finished his studies, he got a job to San Francisco. He then left his ’55 to his parents.

This was the period where Joe met and made friends with Russ De Salvo. Russ was a student in an art class where Joe used to teach. They both shared time over their common interest in everything about automobiles. In an instant, Russ fell in love with Joe’s Corvette since the first day that he saw it. Thus, Joe always knew that he can count on Russ as a buyer for the car should he ever need to sell it.

It was by the late 1960s when Joe decided that it’s about time that he should search for greener pastures. Once again, he packed all his things and bid farewell towards his family and friends. He gave his Corvette car keys to his mom before he left for his new home in north of the border in Canada. He knew by then that by this time, it will take him longer before he would come back.

Passing Corvette To The Hands Of Rose

original 1955 CORVETTE

At that time the ‘Vette was given to Rose Guiliano, who became an instant hot topic of gossip in town. The flamboyant native of Florence, Colorado was then always seen wandering the roads. And, every time she drove through the small Rocky Mountain, she’s was always driving the Corvette.

Rose is happy that her son left the gorgeous car to her care, upon his leave. Truth be told, she’s extremely happy to be its new rightful owner. Even though she knew that it’s only for a while, before her son comes returns home.

*Check out this classic “Chevrolet Corvette Parking Only” sign.*

It was quite ironic that Rose had another classic car, a brand new Ford Thunderbird in her driveway. Yet, she always opted to drive around with the ‘55 Corvette as her ride. Every time her friends ask her, she just tells them that she looked cooler in the sporty Corvette. (that’s a good enough reason for me!!)

The stunning Corvette attracted the attention of many car collectors and enthusiasts. Rose was often asked to sell it. On a daily basis, Rose is faced with collectors and hot rod hoarders trying to close a quick deal to her. She even declined an offer by a local Chevrolet dealer. The offer was a brand-new car for her Corvette, not to mention that it’s an ‘even’ trade-in. Her answer was a consistent “NO.” (good on you Rose)

Rose’s ’55 Corvette


The ’55 Corvette was a stock example out of the only 700 ’55 Corvettes manufactured. It’s still painted with the original antiqued skin of Polo White. This color was by far the most favorite color option that year. Furthermore, the red interior was also the most common color package chosen among customers.

The door windows are available and stashed in the original pouch in the trunk. Indeed, even the convertible top is its born-with piece. An astonishing feature all by itself. What’s more, yes, it keeps the water out!

The 1955 Corvette was maintained and well-cared of by Rose throughout her years. The car paint looked old yet it has a pleasant patina.

1955 CORVETTE exterior

The interiors had survived the test of time. It was still well held together for the last 60 years. The seat covers, door panels and also, its carpet were still all-original. The carpet’s tattered and battered on the driver side though.

This Corvette was powered by the “new for ’55” 265ci V-8, and generated 195 hp at 5,000 rpm. A two-speed Powerglide does the moving for the car.

classic 1955 CORVETTE

Like other Corvettes from this model year, this car is also available with many options. It has fifteen-inch whitewalls, turn signals, windshield washer and heater. These were just few that comprise this first-generation ‘glass Chevy.

'55 CORVETTE engine

Last Years For Rose

When Rose’s health began to deteriorate, Joe went home to look and car after his mother. When Rose came to the point when she couldn’t look after herself anymore, Joe brought her to a decent nursing home. The house and her possessions were all sold.

Later on, Joe had to be ready to let go of his mother’s Corvette although he’ll never be open to the idea. (it was bought originally for him). He just had no choice back then. That’s why he ended up in making a deal with his good friend Russ.

'55 CORVETTE interior

He told Russ that he didn’t intend to sell the car yet, not until his mother passed away. He asked Russ to look after the car for safekeeping till its fate was finally determined. If Joe decided to be sold, then Russ will be the first to be offered the car. Russ had no disagreement. Since day 1, he never stopped loving this beautiful car.

Russ did what was agreed. He kept the Corvette in his garage outside of town. It laid there for three years as Rose continued to spend the remaining days of her life.

When Rose died, Russ finally bought the popular ‘55 Corvette for an undisclosed price.

The ’55 Corvette In The Hands Of Russ

As much as possible, Russ wanted to keep the Corvette car as it is. He believes that, “It’s only original once.”

The engine had undergone a rebuild through the years. New rings and rods and a valve job revived the V-8 in it. It has 120 pounds of pressure in all cylinders. The original chrome air cleaner and valve covers remained. But, the chrome spark plug shielding was gone.

Russ was lucky that there were still parts that look great till today. Just like the clear license plate cover and trim and the chrome parts and bumpers.

Russ has made a point to stay aware of all the mechanicals. The first drum brakes work and the drive train is regularly checked-up. In the trunk, the first BFGoodrich spare still remained in place where it was set 60 years back.

*Check out this classic “Chevrolet Corvette Parking Only” sign.*

russ '55 CORVETTE

Generally, the car has aged well for 60 years. Still, one delightful gem concealed in the slopes of Colorado.

Throughout the years, this car can be considered a time capsule. This car was a fine, unrestored illustration of a first-generation Vette. Today, it’s kept up and rode often by its current owner.

Russ and his wife are currently the endowed keepers of this most treasured ride. They are prepared to safeguard and secure the car, and keep it out of mischief’s way.

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