Built to Enjoy – A 1958 Corvette from Gary’s Rods and Restorations
Phil and Sarah Quinton fell in love with a ’61 Corvette at a Goodguys show in Pleasanton two years ago and tried to buy it, but the owner was not interested in parting with the car. Following the old adage about lemons and lemonade, the Quintons decided to have a 1958 Corvette built instead. After talking with Gary George of Gary’s Rods & Restorations in Watsonville, California, the Quintons knew they’d made the right decision.
Because this was their first experience with a ground-up project, first on the list was finding a car to build, then going through the process of having their dream ride built. A suitable Corvette – a 1958 – was located with good bones and delivered to Gary’s shop. “This is my first build, so understanding the process and the amount of work involved was an eye-opener for me,” Phil says.
The crew at Gary’s handled all aspects of the build, with the help of Finish Line Automotive Interiors in Santa Clara, and the results are exactly what the Quinton’s envisioned.
The first step was to give the ’Vette modern handling and road manners, which came in the form of an Art Morrison GT Sport chassis with independent front and rear suspensions, coil-over shocks, rack-and-pinion steering, and Wilwood 13-inch disc brakes on all four corners. Schott 18x-inch wheels are wrapped in Diamondback whitewall tires to maintain a classic look.
Residing in the heavily massaged engine compartment is a color-matched GM 376c.i. LS3 V8 that produces 495 horsepower. Ultimate Headers and Borla Pro XS mufflers connect to hand-formed 2.5-inch stainless steel exhaust pipes. A GM 4L60 automatic transmission is controlled by a Shiftworks shifter.
Body alterations to the vintage 1958 Corvette fiberglass include modified front inner fender panels to better fit the new chassis, a smoothed firewall, and a lowered trunk floor and chassis modifications to allow for two sets of golf clubs and bags (This car will be driven!). A custom mix of Axalta Chroma mint pearl paint finished off the body and was complemented with white coves and original brightwork.
The interior effort by the Finish Line crew blends custom touches with the classic early Corvette lines. Dakota Digital gauges reside in the stock dash. A Nardi steering wheel sits on an Ididit column. Light beige leather adorns the seats, door panels and custom console. Custom air-conditioning vent panels and a one-off shifter bezel add to the refinements.
So, what’s in store for the ’Vette now that the two-year build is complete? “We can’t wait to start driving this car,” Phil says. “Go to Napa, play golf and go wine tasting.”
Photos by Michael Christensen