The ’77 came with the base L48 engine and the Turbo Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. A lot of previously optional features were now standard, but there were still some highly desirable extras available and Strati-Padawer checked off most of them, including air-conditioning, tilt-telescopic steering column, power windows, white-letter tires, cruise control, heavy-duty battery and the Convenience Group. Called RPO XZ2, the latter was essentially a lighting package consisting of a dome-light delay, headlight warning buzzer, low-fuel warning light, underhood light, interior courtesy lights and a right-side visor mirror.
Strati-Padawer did not begin with a conscious plan to preserve her Corvette indefinitely, but that was inevitable given her obsessive-compulsive drive to care for the car. “My Corvette never saw snow or rain,” she says with more than a hint of pride. “If the roads were wet or salted, or there was the slightest threat of inclement weather, plans were cancelled or changed and the car remained in the garage, covered. It has never been through a car wash, but rather lovingly hand washed and dried, door jams wiped, windows cleaned, interior polished and tires shined for the past 32 years.”
Strati-Padawer has been equally particular when it comes to servicing the Vette: “There were only two mechanics I trusted to work on my car, David and Daniel Schutzbank. Entrusting one’s car is a lot like leaving your baby with someone, and not everyone can be trusted. I once left my car overnight for minor repairs at a garage, and I drove to the station after he closed at midnight to make sure the car was garaged for the night.”
All of the love and attention lavished on the car over the years has yielded one of the most original 1977 Corvettes in existence. The car has traveled a little more than 31,000 easy miles. and it still retains original paint, interior trim and almost all underhood parts. Strati-Padawer also still has the original steel-belted Firestone 500 tires, which is remarkable given that these were recalled shortly after she took delivery. Instead of trading in the defective tires for new ones, she wisely set them aside and bought new tires, making hers one of the very few Corvettes of the era with its factory-installed Firestones.