1958 Chevrolet Corvette
Resto-Mod First Gen
Tuned GM Crate 6.2L LS3 - 525 Horsepower - Full Borla Exhaust System - Tremec 6-Speed Transmission - Custom Tube Chassis - Matching Hardtop
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The remarkable black-and-silver 1958 Corvette Restomod offered here could be seen as a powerful retort to Car and Driver's review of the new (at the time) '58 Corvette. Car and Driver felt that there were “not too important changes on the surface, and a few rather interesting ones underneath.” Had those somewhat snarky reviewers ever been able to assess this beautiful example in 2020, it's safe to say they would've been blown away. And left completely speechless. Awesome details and high quality components abound on this special '58.
This car, true to the many great “barn find” stories, was actually discovered in a barn where it had been sitting for quite some time. Upon first sight in the barn the car was dusty, multi-colored, and a little beat up - possibly from a past life of hot lapping at a racetrack. The car was purchased as-is, which also meant no drivetrain came with it.
The restoration goal was to have a 1958 Corvette Restomod that is accurate to the Harley Earl-influenced body as it might have when it came from the factory. But in truth, its 4 layers of PPG black paint shrouded in 5 layers of PPG clear coat shines with a gloss and consistency that could never have been duplicated with painting technology available in 1958. In the same way, the silver side “coves” are a perfect color complement to black. All of the details that mark the '58 Corvette body are faithfully present and in like-new (or in many instances, better) condition: the more aggressive 9-vertical-bar grille, the “washboard” hood louvers, the two handsome thin chrome “spears” on the trunk, the artistic taillights blended perfectly into the rear fenders, and the beautifully complex-and-clear “Corvette” emblems front and rear.
The few, well integrated exterior changes from stock suited the taste of the builder. An obvious example of an exterior change are the Billet Specialties Heritage-style wheels in 18” and 20” wrapped in red-stripe Nitto performance tires. Another custom change to the exterior that we would like to mention is that the rear bumpers were tucked into the body and have integrated reverse lights. The body work was masterfully completed by Ron Sall Bodywerx of Hudsonville Michigan. Ron has decades of experience and has produced multiple magazine cover featured and/or award winning cars.
One of the big decisions at the start of the restoration process was which chassis to use. To meet the expectation of a strong chassis that used modern Corvette parts, and that would support an independent rear end, an SRIII Motorsports chassis was chosen. It is a rigid setup that utilizes C5 front and C4 rear suspension components, along with Corvette front and rear sway bars. A Dana differential with 3.73 gears and posi-traction is mounted at the rear of the car near the new stainless steel fuel tank.
Under the “washboard” hood louvers is a new, crate “Hot Cam” LS3 V8 engine mated to a Tremec 6-speed T56 Magnum manual transmission. The LS3 pumps out approximately 525 horsepower, which is another great reason for the rigid, tube frame chassis. The torque and power output of the new engine could've twisted the car's original frame. The LS3 fits perfectly in a simple, well ordered engine bay. Custom components like engine covers, valve covers, and an air intake help keep the engine bay tidy. Stainless steel headers from Speed Engineering along with a billet aluminum serpentine belt system, and an aluminum radiator are other highlights in the engine bay. As it sits now, the engine produces 440 horsepower to the rear wheels thanks to a tune carried out by local shop Andrew's Performance. (Dyno sheet can be seen in our photos.) Underneath the car, other upgrades can be easily seen: four-wheel Corvette ABS equipped disc brakes, stainless steel lines, new stainless steel gas tank, full Borla exhaust, and Viking coilover suspension. The Viking suspension offers height adjustment and 18 different levels of ride control. Before final assembly the frame was sandblasted and finished in Black Epoxy paint. No surprise, the entire chassis is free of even a speck of dust.
Inside this jaw dropping car, sumptuous Lipstick Red leather covers the completely recrafted fitted seats, dash (with contrasting white stitching) and console, as well as the steering wheel. The upholstery execution is without flaw, and although completely re-executed, maintains the clever illusion of “stock.” In the same way, behind the wraparound windshield, the Dakota Digital instrument cluster now hosts bright, digitally projected gauges in place of the original analog needles-and-numbers. The red-leather-booted manual gearshift appears stock, until the shift knob's pattern identifies the Tremec's 6 speeds, not the expected four. Vintage air conditioning and heat is perfectly integrated, and the console and passenger-side cowl areas with its bespoke grab bar are special touches: classic, but just made perfect. Virtually no one is able to sit in this car, look around and not emit a “Wow.” The beautiful interior finish is thanks to the handi-work of Steve Holcomb of Pro Auto Custom Interiors of Knoxville, TN.
In 1958, if you hustled down to your Chevy dealer, you could've ordered one and smiled all the way home. But in 2020, there's only one car like this to be had. Be sure to check out 180+ photos and video on our main website: Garage Kept Motors. Call if interested or e-mail with any questions. Thank you for looking.