1958 Chevy Corvette Left For Dead-Now It’s Back With Chevy Big-Block Muscle!
For all the abandoned and forgotten vehicles out there the good news is that they exist, still.
No matter if it’s a hidden-in-plain-sight field car (like this 1958 Corvette), or an out-of-sight barn, these treasured neglected pieces are out there and a lot of them are being found and resurrected back to their former glory—or beyond.
The sad news is that many of these vehicles are lost forever, but we love good news and this amazing big-block-powered C1 Corvette from Oahu, Hawaii, definitely delivers.
The Corvette was discovered in 2014, Samuel Kuaana fromNanakuli, a car designer, heard stories about an old man that had many Corvettes on his property in a nearby town called Wahiawa.
When he went down for a visit he saw 8 or 9 vehicles all in different conditions.
“This was the only 1958 Corvette,” Samuel told us. “The car was all stock, complete, and in working condition, but it had been sitting under a tarp in a bush in his yard and needed a lot of work. The car sat so long that the brakes and engine were seized because of the moisture and rain.”
Samule bought the vehicle and towed it to his home on a flatbed he was already planning the restoration project. The only original part of the car that would get retained would be the dilapidated body.
The C1 classic rides now like a modern Corvette with the addition of one of Art Morrison Enterprises’ 1953-1962 Corvette GT Sport chassis with C6/C7 components. The AME independent front suspension system features C7 spindles, JR1 coilover shocks, and rack-and-pinion steering from Detroit Speed & Engineering. JR1 coilovers are mounted in the rear as well, where a triangulated four-bar locates the 9-inch rear end with 3.73 gears and Strange 31-spline axles. Wilwood Aerolite 14-inch disc brakes — with six-piston front calipers and four-piston rears — are plumbed to an ABS Power Brake master cylinder and electric booster. Those brakes are visible through the 19- and 20-inch Schott Wheels. The fender-filling Tomahawk wheels are wrapped up in low-profile Nitto Invo radial tires, measuring 285/30R19 and 345/25R20.
The rim and rubber combo is definitely eye-catching and also one of two obvious outward clues that this ’58 Corvette is much more than a nostalgic timepiece.
The other clue is in the hole in the hood, cut to make room for the injected Chevy 572ci engine, taking up residence where a 283 used to live. Chevrolet Performance calls the ZZ572 “our baddest big-block engine.”
Exhaust is expelled via custom stainless headers and 3-inch mandrel-bent stainless pipes, corked by Magnaflow mufflers. A Lincoln Mark VIII electric fan pulls cool air through a custom Griffin aluminum radiator. A Tremec T56 Magnum six-speed transmission backs up the big-block.
The 650-horsepower big-block packs the C1 engine compartment, and barely leaves enough room for paint, but still looks like it was meant to live there.
As for the up to date technology under the hood and under the car the C1 body — cleaned up after many years of neglect — was preserved in its classic 1958 appearance with only a few modifications by Idaho Muscle Cars.
The “washboard” faux louvered hood panel (a one-year feature) was removed to create the previously mentioned opening. The chrome deck lid spears (another 1958-only detail) were also removed, cleaning up the rear of the car.
Other minor mods include the eliminated nose badge and front quarter crossed flag emblems, and shaved door locks. The rear fenders were imperceptibly widened to fit the wide wheels and tires. Dapper Lighting 575 Halo headlights with OE-style glass replace the original quad headlights. The taillights are factory replacements. The front and rear bumpers were shortened and tucked. The paint is PPG Deltron, sprayed at Idaho Muscle Cars. Instead of painting the side covers white, silver, or another contrasting color, they were shot with the same high-gloss black as the rest of the better-than-new body for a cleaner and slightly meaner appearance. Contrast is provided by all the retained body trim, perfectly replated at Ogden Chrome in Ogden, Utah.
This Corvette ended up in California for the upholstery at Gabe’s Custom Interiors in San Bernardino.
The seats were custom made in red textured leather, a combination of perforated and smooth, with a custom console added between them.
The panels of the doors were upholstered in a custom design, with chrome trim spears to resemble the exterior cove spears.
The custom Evod Industries steering wheel was leather-wrapped to match. Red square weave carpet covers the floor. The under dash center console was modified to house the Vintage Air Gen II StreamLine A/C control panel and Arc Audio PSC controller. The full Arc Audio system was installed by Audio Shoppe in Riverside, California. Custom gauges from Classic Instruments are housed in the stock pods. The center tachometer pod was eliminated, with the CI speedometer and tach installed in the factory speedometer “bubble.” A Ron Francis wiring harness ensures that power gets to all the right places.
During the process of the build, the in-progress Corvette caught the attention of Samuel’s friend Francis Acupido ofWaialua, on Oahu’s North Shore. “I’m not even a Corvette guy, but I really like the style of the ’58 to ’60 cars with the dual headlights and bubble curves,” Francis told us.
The direction of the build also was likeable to him and calls it an interesting combo of nostalgic and hot rod with class.
Francis bought the vehicle and followed along with the build during its last few years.
The Corvette is finally finished and Francis is in the “shakedown” process, test driving the car to reveal any potential tweaks that might need to be made.
After that is finalized, it will be driven for the sole purpose of fun. He states that he has been eager for his father, Nico, to ride in it. “My dad is not a man of many words,” Francis said, “and when he saw the car, he just said ‘wow!’ about five or six times.”
We said the same thing.