1959 Chev Corvette Charity Raffle – Restoration

The most notable feature of this 1959 Corvette is the right hand drive conversion. The conversion sparked a number of other ‘improvements’.

The conversion was not as simple as the symmetrical looking dash and instrument cluster would suggest. The original metal instrument cluster was restored and re-sculpted to fit on the right hand side of the car. Similarly, the passenger grab bar and ‘Corvette’ monogrammed insert needed customisation to fit the opposite geometry.

The steering column and rack & pinion assembly was imported from an Australian muscle car. Rather than reinvent the wheel, tried and tested components were used.

The ‘Glove Box’ tray was deleted… it was argued this wasn’t a car to ‘run to the shops’ and the passenger would likely be hanging on.

Sexy and exquisite engineering didn’t come fast and certainly wasn’t easy … but has been worth it! Can you envisage yourself driving this beauty down to your local café, getting the “pole position” parking spot, stepping outside the car and immediately engaging in conversation as every person nearby has turned their head to the sound of your roaring v8…

Or this one… you go into your garage, push the red start button, the sound of your v8 hums as you pull out on the street… your neighbours already know who you are… the envy of most men and the desire of a lot women… you take over from here…

WIDENED QUARTER:
To enjoy the full potential of this car, the quarter panels were widened to fit the full width C5 suspension and rear end set up.

Many cars shorten the half shafts which doesn’t allow as much wheel travel. Not as much as the C5 corvette design engineers intended.

The original 1959 wheels could hardly be called wide, close though, they were often white, but definitely not wide.

Driving now with a full 4” wider stance translates into a more masculine look. 10” tires look natural under the widened quarter panels. Compare the width of the original 1959 Corvette quarter.

1959 Corvette Air Vent
Custom air vent added to disguise widening

 

IMPROVED LOOKS:
With massive drilled and slotted discs shouting out from beneath the 18” Billet Specialties wheels, and two extra inches in the body either side, the opportunity for creativity arose.

Scoops were molded into the rear panel just aft of the doors with a modern stainless steel mesh insert reminiscent of european classic sports cars.

EXHAUST:
Exhaust once passed through the rear chromed bumpers in days gone by. Now, 45 degree cutoffs let the exhaust spill out 2 bends earlier with an incredible rumble.

On pressing the start button, the sound is awesome. It’s a sound that you can feel, like a good home cinema adds the fourth dimension to a movie. It isn’t like someone has drilled holes in the muffler, more like the muffler is bursting or underwater explosions are sounding. When heard roaring down the street, it’s a sound that would make you rush to the window to see what car it is, wishing it was yours.

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