The first Corvettes were virtually hand-built during early 1953 in Flint, Michigan’s Chevrolet’s Customer Delivery Center, now an academic building at Kettering University. Unlike any Chevrolet and very few production cars before or since, the entire outer body was made of a revolutionary new composite material called fiberglass, selected in part because of limiting steel quotas left over from the Korean War. Underneath that radical new body were standard Chevrolet components, including the ‘Blue Flame’ inline six-cylinder truck engine, two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission, and drum brakes from Chevrolet’s regular car line. Obviously, compared to the British and Italian sports cars of the day, the Corvette was underpowered, required a great deal of effort as well as clear roadway to bring to a stop, and even lacked a ‘proper’ manual transmission. Up until that time, the Chevrolet division was GM’s entry-level marque, known for excellent but no-nonsense cars. Unfortunately, nowhere was that more evident than in the Corvette.
GM was seriously considering shelving the project, leaving the Corvette to be little more than a footnote in automotive history, and would have done so if not for two important events. The first was the introduction in 1955 of Chevrolet’s first V-8 engine, the second was the influence of a Soviet émigré in GM’s engineering department, Zora Arkus-Duntov. Duntov simply took the new V-8 and backed it with a standard three-speed manual transmission. That modification, probably the single most important in the car’s history, helped turn the Corvette from a two-seat curiosity into a genuine performer.
The performance-minded potential Corvette owner was given further incentive to take the plunge, when in 1957 the noteworthy addition of optional fuel injection came about. The actual horsepower figure was under-rated by Chevrolet’s advertising agency for the 283ci/283hp, one horsepower per square inch slogan, making it one of the first mass-produced engines in history to reach that figure. Fuel injection would continue in the early Corvette as well as high-output engines fitted with single and dual-quad 4-barrel carburetion. Subject only to a minor facelift throughout the rest of the C1 run, the addition of quad headlamps and a revised back end in 1958 as well as 290 horsepower for the top-of-the-line fuel-injected variant would survive five more years of production with only minor additional revisions until the mid-year cars debuted in 1963.
Offered for your consideration is a delectable example of a 1958 Corvette Roadster. Finished in Tuxedo Black with matching coves over a red interior, this car exhibits an exquisite high-quality restoration with a very critical eye for detail inside and out. From front to back, all panel gaps are fitted in far superior fashion compared to when the car left the assembly line. The finish is unmarked as are all chrome and brightwork items; absolutely no die-cast or stamped steel detail was overlooked during the reassembly. Inside, the interior is correct in all aspects down to the accessory tachometer, radio, clock and heater and no cosmetic issues remain post-restoration. The undercarriage and engine compartment are as stunning as the bodywork; the entirety of the engine bay remains carefully detailed to Concours specifications down to Rochester mechanical fuel injection and signature Corvette finned valve covers. Even the hose clamps, radiator and its pressure cap are correct for this year Corvette.
Never judged or shown with the NCRS or Bloomington Gold to the best of the vendor’s knowledge nor are the engine, chassis, transmission and differential numbers even known, this stunning work of art from the Golden Era of first-generation Corvettes was restored to stunning better-than-new build-quality with desirable components throughout that make for a unique opportunity for the savvy collector to enjoy the prize that awaits.