It’s Back With Chevy Big-Block Muscle! The 1958 Chevy Corvette was left for dead, but now it’s back with Chevy Big-Block Muscle.
The good news is that all of the abandoned and forgotten vehicles out there still exist.
These beloved forgotten pieces are out there, whether it’s a hidden-in-plain-sight field car (like this 1958 Corvette) or an out-of-sight barn, and many of them are being found and restored to their former glory—or beyond.
Unfortunately, many of these vehicles have been lost forever, but we love good news, and this spectacular big-block-powered C1 Corvette from Oahu, Hawaii, certainly delivers.
The Corvette was discovered in 2014 when Samuel Kuaana, a vehicle designer from Nanakuli, heard rumours about an old man who had a lot of Corvettes on his land in Wahiawa, a nearby village.
When he went down for a visit, he spotted 8 or 9 vehicles in various states of disrepair.
“This was the only 1958 Corvette,” Samuel said for 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 car and had it towed to his house on a trailer, where he began planning the restoration. The decaying body would be the only original portion of the car that would be kept.
With the addition of one of Art Morrison Enterprises’ 1953-1962 Corvette GT Sport chassis with C6/C7 components, the C1 classic now rides like a modern Corvette. C7 spindles, JR1 coilover shocks, and Detroit Speed & Engineering rack-and-pinion steering are all part of the AME independent front suspension system.
The 9-inch rear end with 3.73 gears and Strange 31-spline axles is located behind a triangulated four-bar, which is also equipped with JR1 coilovers. Wilwood Aerolite 14-inch disc brakes are connected to an ABS Power Brake master cylinder and electronic booster, with six-piston front calipers and four-piston rear calipers.
The brakes are visible through the Schott Wheels, which come in 19- and 20-inch sizes. Low-profile Nitto Invo radial tires in sizes 285/30R19 and 345/25R20 are wrapped around the fender-filling Tomahawk wheels.
The rim and rubber combination is certainly eye-catching, and it’s also one of two glaring outward indicators that this ’58 Corvette is far more than a vintage timepiece.
The other hint is the hole in the hood, which was carved to make place for the injection Chevy 572ci engine, which is now residing where a 283 once did. The ZZ572 is dubbed “our baddest big-block engine” by Chevrolet Performance.
The 650-horsepower big-block crams the C1 engine compartment to the point that there’s not enough room for paint, but it still looks like it belongs there.
Custom stainless heads and 3-inch mandrel-bent stainless pipes carry the exhaust, which is corked by Magnaflow mufflers. A bespoke Griffin aluminum radiator is cooled by an electric fan from a Lincoln Mark VIII. The big-block is backed up by a Tremec T56 Magnum six-speed gearbox.
The C1 body, which had been cleaned up after many years of neglect, was retained in its iconic 1958 form with only a few alterations by Idaho Muscle Cars, in terms of up to current technology under the hood and under the car.
To make the previously described opening, the “washboard” faux louvered hood panel (a one-year feature) was removed. The car’s rear end was further cleaned up by removing the chrome deck lid spears (another 1958-only feature).
The nose badge and front quarter crossed flag emblems have been removed, and the door locks have been shaved. To accommodate the big wheels and tires, the rear fenders were subtly extended.
The original quad headlights are replaced with Dapper Lighting 575 Halo headlights with OE-style glass. The taillights are replacements from the factory. The front and rear bumpers have been tucked and shortened. Idaho Muscle Cars coated the paint, which is PPG Deltron.
Instead of painting the side covers white, silver, or another contrasting color, they were painted the same high-gloss black as the rest of the better-than-new body for a cleaner, slightly meaner look.
All of the remaining body trim, which was expertly replated at Ogden Chrome in Ogden, Utah, adds contrast.
This Corvette was sent to Gabe’s Custom Interiors in San Bernardino, California, for reupholster.
The seats were manufactured to order in red textured leather with a perforated and smooth finish, and an unique console was added in the middle.
The door panels were upholstered in a bespoke design and finished with chrome trim spears that matched the external cove spears.
The leather-wrapped steering wheel from Evod Industries was custom-made to fit. The floor is covered in a red square weave carpet.
The Vintage Air Gen II StreamLine A/C control panel and Arc Audio PSC controller were installed in the under dash center console. Audio Shoppe in Riverside, California installed the entire Arc Audio system.
Classic Instruments’ custom gauges are housed in the stock pods. The factory speedometer “bubble” was used to house the CI speedometer and tachometer, which was removed from the central tachometer pod. A Ron Francis wire harness guarantees that power is delivered to all of the necessary locations.
During the build, Samuel’s buddy Francis Acupido of Waialua, on Oahu’s North Shore, became interested in the in-progress Corvette. “I’m not a Corvette guy,” Francis explained, but I really like the style of the ’58 to ’60 cars with the dual headlights and bubble curves.”
The build’s direction appealed to him as well, and he describes it as a “interesting mix of nostalgia and hot rod with class.”
Francis purchased the vehicle and followed the build over the last few years.
The Corvette is finally ready, and Francis is going through the “shakedown” procedure, which involves driving the car to see if there are any minor adjustments that need to be made.
After that is completed, it will be driven just for the sake of amusement. He expresses his desire for his father, Nico, to ride in it. “My dad is not a man of many words,” Francis explained, “and when he saw the car, he just said ‘wow! ’ about five or six times.”
I was just telling my friend about that.