Could This ’58 Corvette Be An Original Fuelie?

1958 Corvette Barn Find

This 1958 Corvette has been in storage for about 20 years. Don’t let all the debris in that garage deter you though. This thing cleaned up well and there’s some speculation that it could have come from the factory with fuel injection! Unfortunately, the original engine has been swapped out, but the badge on the fender does make one wonder. It’s located in Valparaiso, Indiana and is listed here on eBay where bidding ends Wednesday. Take a look and let us know if you think it could be the real deal.

Corvette Interior

Besides the engine, there are a few other parts that aren’t original to the car. The variations make you wonder if this is an older restoration. It’s a shame that the seller doesn’t provide more information about the car’s history though. Perhaps, the last owner passed away or something, but you would think that someone in the family would know something about its past. Other than cleaning it and having the local Corvette club over, the seller hasn’t done much else with the car.

Swapped Engine

Here’s the engine that currently resides under the hood. The seller hasn’t attempted to start it, but assumes that it could run with a little work. They claim to not know anything about the car, but they seem to know enough to determine which parts aren’t original. That does make me wonder if they are playing dumb in an attempt to build excitement around the possibility of the car being a fuelie. Surely someone from the Corvette club was able to take a closer look and provide some insight.

Fuel Injection Badge

When you are dealing with a restored or customized car, a fender badges don’t mean much. The previous owner may have just added them just for kicks, but you never know. I’m sure the bowtie experts here will be able to confirm or debunk the claim quickly, but it is fun to dream. This car would be worth a bit more with the FI system, but it would cost a good chunk of change to get the engine right. Either way, this is a great find and hopefully the reserve is set at a reasonable amount so someone will be able to save it.

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Comments

  1. Jeff Staff

    That is one the dankest, nastiest garages/barns I have ever seen. Amazed it cleaned up that well.

  2. David Montanbeau

    The first thing to look for is evidence of the bracket holding the air cleaner. There should be two holes on the upper edge of the left inner fender with a nut plate held on by a rivet in the center. Next, if the car has windshield washers, the washer assy should be on the right, next to the battery (or at least the holes where it should be mounted). No washer or holes on the left side. Check out these two items, and if it looks good, post or email me for the rest of the list to check. There were two FI versions in 58 and not all the “tests” apply to both models.

  3. David Montanbeau

    Look at the hole in the radiator support on the left side. This is where the fresh air hose for the air cleaner attaches. Look at the three small screw holes around the big hole. They should not show any sign of ever having a screw in them. Next look at the LH inner fender in front of the master cylinder. There should be no odd holes where the washer assy was once installed. Look at the horn relay. It should be located on the verticle part of the inner fender rather than the horizontal section where the fresh air hose runs. Last, check the tach. If the engine was a solid lifter fuelie, the tach would have been distributer driven and marked “2 X cable speed”. A 270 hp would have still had a high RPM tach, but it would have been generator driven.

    About 8-10 inches below the air cleaner nut plate, there should be a pair of holes about an inch apart. These have 1/4 inch bolts that hold the bottom bracket of the air cleaner. There also should be two or perhaps three sets of holes along the lip of the left inner fender just below the hood where brackets are installed for the fresh air hose. Similar to the brackets for the heater supply hose. Later models have three brackets, but I believe 58-59 may have only had two.

    Much of this can be cloned. However, if there is no evidence of the screw holes in the radiator support having had screws installed and there are no holes on the left inner fender where the washer used to be, it is probably a fuelie. :D

    • Alan Brase

      Yes, it really looks staged with the dealers tag on it even though it is sitting for years in a dirty old building.

    • Alan Brase

      I think the 250 hp did NOT have a hose connected to the air cleaner from the radiator support. Perhaps the cover was not on the hole, however.

  4. MH

    Looks staged to me. That car would have been in alot worse shape then it is. Especially if the the top was down.

    • Mark S Member

      MH you have nailed it even the garage looks like a set up,and the car would look like a piece of $h!t inside and out and would not clean up this good. The big question is why?

      • Rob S

        Exactly what I thought when saw the first picture. Way too much crap on the floor and nothing on the car! Somethings not right in Rome….
        Staged shot!

      • streamliner

        I agree — the setting sure looks staged. Mark S poses a good question: Why? To answer that one would have to get into the minds of buyers who think there is some deep romance in “the find”. In reality, once you pull the vehicle out and wash it, all of that romantic “barn find” back story is gone. Meaningless. The romantic back story does not matter to the next/future buyer(s).

        A great number of so-called “barn finds” are now staged. Staging fake barn finds is yet another gimmick vintage car dealers have been using a lot lately. I’m sure many BF readers could write a book (“Barn Finds for Dummies”) on the topic. A lot of faked staging is so obvious.

        Apparently, there are a considerable number of buyers out there who think they have scored some secret hidden treasure by buying a “barn find” vehicle. I agree with the many comments here re: staging. I also find the over-the-top garbage staging a negative. When I look at the “as found” picture here it makes no sense. If real, it is in fact a negative, as such a long-term storage setting would have resulted a great deal of damage caused by condensation. And yet, this Corvette sold for $35Gs. Go figure.

  5. David Montanbeau

    Take a look at the holes on the outside of the fenders. These held the’ fuel injection’ script and they should go up in the script from left to right. By that I mean the letter “F” was lower ( closer to the ground) than the final letters “ION”. They were not parallel with the ground but took an upswing reading from left to right. Cloned cars often are drilled incorrectly for the script.

    All my statements were from the internet.

  6. Sunbeamdon

    Love this model! Open up the pipes and maybe Route 66 hear we come. Hopefully somebody can unearth its provenance, etc.

  7. GTOJeff

    On a side note. The fuelie cars had the timing tab on the opposite side. Found that out the hard way when someone took the fuel injection unit off a 57 and carbed it. I couldn’t figure out why the mark didn’t match the tab. They had used the wrong balancer on it.

  8. nessy

    Is that even the same car? Something has been worked here….

  9. dj

    Missing the chrome ribs on the trunk lid that were 58 year only.

  10. cj32769

    By looking at the distributor advance vacuum line I can tell this engine has had at least one aerosol overhaul.

  11. David Montanbeau

    As far as getting a working unit, if you want a completely restored unit I would highly recommend John DeGregory. If you just want a clean, working unit check with Jerry Bramlett. I too would leave the FI unit until last, or near last.

  12. DRV

    The 58 dash is correct here with no speaker screen surround, also correct wheel covers , whitewall width, and hood. The door panels, seat covers , and headlight surround are later. The trunk spears were commonly removed to make it a newer model in the day. The serial number will tell the correct year.
    There are so many more FI than were made its ridiculous.

  13. John K

    If this car has really been sitting in that garage it’s going to be pretty pungent no matter how well it’s been cleaned.

  14. Old geezer

    Call me a cynic but that first picture looks staged.
    Cool car anyway.

  15. Bob Baird

    The Fuel Injection Emblems are too crooked to be factory. They should follow the contour of the fender. Corvettes did not have rear sway bars till 1960. Looks like a nice car though, but it’s looking like it will go for more than it’s worth. If I sold a Corvette, I would throw some leaves on and in it here and there and sell it as a barn find!

  16. Ronald Wheeler

    Lived in S. Cal in 1960. Bought a 1958 Automatic Vette like this one.Trans could have been changed with the engine. Seats were crap, it blonged to a sales traveler. Took it to TJ and had what you see done.(tucked) Turned the car back to GMC late 1960. Lost my job and baby came. No room.
    Sure does look like it inside. Originally had the 283 bored out and it ran very hot. If I knew where the car came from before this person.
    The MGR at GMC loans in Van Nuys Calif. kept my car.

  17. Chief

    I own a OE restored 58 so I have done a lot of homework on late run C-1s. First, the storage tray below the pull assist handle did not show up until the 59 model. In 58, the car magazines panned the wash board hood and chrome trunk spears so badly that Chevy did not continue those items after 58. The 59 also had sun visors, but I could not tell from these pictures. The seat covers and door panels are not 58 either. The body colored headlight bezels did not appear until the 61 but the 61 and 62 had the boat tail rear end that was also on the C-2. In my opinion this car is a Frankenstein. My guess is this is a 1960 model with a 58 hood and someone painted the head light bezels.

  18. Alan Brase

    It has parts from different years. The rear sway bar did not appear till 1960. BUT the vin plate is welded onto the steering column on a 1960. Though I feel perhaps the vin plate fasteners look wrong.
    The radiator looks correct as does the motor mount.
    The rear cross member pictures show a rather NON rusty frame. Not rust belt or at least outdoor storage. Not a bad car but far from original.
    Al

  19. RoughDiamond

    I fear someone is going to get a good hose job when the auction ends and the dust settles.

  20. john

    from the ebay listing…love the aerosol rebuild..

    On Aug-20-16 at 19:21:01 PDT, seller added the following information:
    UPDATE: I HAVE BEEN A LOT OF QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SAME THINGS…….LET ME AGAIN CLARIFY TO HELP SAVE TIME… This car has Fuelie badging. I have no idea if the car had that originally. It does NOT have a FI setup on it. The engine is NOT original. The previous owner drove it in the garage when he parked it so I assume the engine will turn fine after some work. The VIN # is J58S108962, I see no evidence of quarter panels being patched in, the rear cross member still has the original rivets. I have had several Corvette guys that are local look at the car and they love it. In fact they are shocked that it has been stored so long. I hope this helps everyone. Whomever wins the high bid is getting a real Gem…..Good luck!!!!

  21. Alan Brase

    Seller is quite upfront about NOT claiming it is original FI car. And also regarding other non original parts. That said, buying one of these without a personal inspection by an expert is a recipe for disappointment.
    Al

  22. Thomas Stout

    it doesn’t look like the car has been moved in the picture looks as it’s had a cover over it… I’d bet it has a aromatic smell though……

  23. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Could be the original owner on the left in the old garage photo. I hate to think what’s in the fridge!!!!

  24. Dave

    Where did the overriders on the front bumper come from in the finished picture?

  25. slickimp

    That is amazing it cleaned up that well can’t believe someone had it that junked up garage

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