Its Gotta Go! 1958 Chevrolet Corvette

This well-used signet red 1958 Corvette wears a set of stripes and peaked Torque Thrust rims that might belie a former life as a street demon or track terror.  Find this Corvette here on eBay bid to $22,600 at the time of this writing, and available in Prospect Heights, Illinois.

The 1958 Corvette received quad headlights for the first time, louvers on the hood, non-functional air vents on both sides of the grille, and fake vents in the body coves.  According to Noland Adam’s Complete Corvette Restoration and Technical Guide, 1958 Corvette production was 9,168 units of which 643 were Signet Red single-tone. A look at the door jambs suggests an original red car. There is no mention of any options in the seller’s ad, though it does have the RPO 419 factory hardtop as evidenced in the photos. The hardtop was offered as a trade-off to a folding soft-top. For an additional cost, a buyer could have both.

While the seller does not mention the condition of the body of this C1, the fiberglass looks to be in relatively good shape as a whole. There does appear to be some light damage around the grille and front air intakes.  Replacement panels are widely available from several suppliers.  Panels are often available in either hand-laid or press-molded form.  The factory used the latter and it tends to be stronger.  Replacement panels bond to a series of attachment points known as bonding strips.  Attention should be paid to the steel birdcage that envelopes the cockpit as it can be prone to rust.  Birdcage repair can be challenging.  Fiberglass repair on these cars is manageable for the home restorer.  There is no mention made as to the condition of the frame. Careful inspection should be made.  Again there are aftermarket options available for a damaged frame, from repair parts to a full rolling replacement.

Corvettes in 1958 were standard with a 283 ci small block and 3-speed transmission. The stock 283 would have had a 9.5:1 compression ratio with 230 to 245hp.  That’s more than enough to push this C1 along.  The seller notes that the transmission is locked in gear.  There is no mention made of whether the motor runs or turns over but the seller notes that the motor has oil and anti-freeze.  It is unknown whether the numbers match on the motor and transmission.  A prospective buyer should factor in a full rebuild of the drive train.

This Corvette sports a tiger-striped interior which though intriguing is not a factory offering.  The steering wheel is aftermarket, the factory tach has been replaced, and a supplemental tach is to the left of the driver.  Plan on a full interior refresh and the eviction of at least one family of mice who reside in the passenger door shell. Details on this car are scant in the listing, though mention is made of overall completeness and some refurbished brightwork.  The listing photos tell the story on this one.  It could be the platform for a good restoration project or you could just roll a new chassis under it, drop in a crate 350, and leave the body as is.  However, whatever you do, you might want to run this one by your spouse first.

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Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    This one’s going to be a lot of money and a lot of work.

    Like 8
  2. dirtyharry

    So two school kids are talking after school. One tells the other, his family is going out shopping, to get some things. The other boy says: “We never have to go shopping again.” His friend asks why?
    Because two days ago, my Dad brought home a Corvette project and my Mother yelled at him, when arrived with the Corvette on a trailer: “Damn it Chris, the is absolute last thing we needed.”

    Like 25
  3. John B. Mc

    The “steel” birdcage referenced is actually aluminum in the 1958 Corvette. I was more concerned about the non-original steering wheel, radio, grille, wheels, shifter, etc.

    Like 5
    • kyle pellegrino

      A friend of mine has a 1978 in process and the amount of steel hidden inside rusting away is terrifying!

  4. gbvette62

    Rarely is “birdcage” or frame rust, an issue with 53-62 Corvettes, other than maybe the rear crossmember, which bolts in and is easy to replace. Whether the car was originally Signet Red or not, means nothing on early Corvettes, because there is no trim tag to identify the original colors (and from looking at the inside of the doors, I think it might have been white?).

    This car is rough, and while I don’t think it’s worth buying for an NCRS correct restoration, it does look like the good basis for a modern restomod. If this car tops out in the mid $20’s, it could be a good deal for someone.

    By the way, when fiberglass repair is attempted by the “home restorer” on old Corvettes, it’s rarely manageable, and rarely turns out well.

    Like 15
    • Dante

      At some point the paint code was hand written in under blackened inner panel at rear half undercar , coating scratches of easily to reveal .

  5. Dave Frick Staff

    Thanks for the info on the birdcage. I didnt know it was aluminum!

    I restored a 65 C2 Nassau Blue BBC and had to do a windhshield bottom and it was a nightmare.

    Like 3
  6. jerry z

    Get it mechanically running and drive it! Wouldn’t waste my time restoring the car. This is a perfect day 2 car.

    Like 9
    • Dan H

      Agreed, no need to polish the turd. But it might be fun to put a 383 and a TKO600 in and then drive the wheels off it.

      Like 8
    • Brad G

      Day 200 ?

  7. mainlymuscle

    I have C2,3 ,and 6,and I like them as pristine as it’s possible for drivers to be.
    For some reason I prefer the C1 in more of a rough and tumble, rode hard,condition.This might be underqualified ,but I like it !

    Like 2
  8. Brian Fulford

    Goes to show there is a buyer for everything!

    Like 1
  9. Maestro1 Member

    It looks tired and needs a lot of help in many areas. The price is too high. This is a major project. Go there if you must have it, put your hands on it, get it on a lift, look at its bones and of it’s all there show $10,000.00 in cash to the buyer.
    In your hands offering to him/her. Conditions: Clear title, every piece of paper related to the car, and all parts not attached. Or, if you prefer drama, put your
    checkbook on its roof, open, and start writing. Don’t say anything. Keep quiet.
    Write the number and hand him/her the check. See what happens. And the
    paper better be good.

    Like 1
    • BRAKTRCR

      Bidding is currently just under 25k. The 10k you suggest is unrealistic.
      You just don’t find deals like you mention any more. Your strategy… I wouldn’t receive it well if I were selling, and would probably respond, “When do you plan to pay the rest?”

      Like 1
  10. moosie moosie

    Looks like prime candidate for a car like the ’61 pictured here, try to get the body in reasonable shape along with the interior, BIG LS motor or an old school BBC, 6 speed trans and just drive, drive, DRIVE it. It’d make me a happy man wife’s approval or not.

    Like 5
  11. OhU8one2

    Spastic Plastic. Build it into a Restomod. Car will be better off and so will the owner.

    Like 1
  12. bobhess bobhess Member

    My kind of restomod Moosie!

    Like 1
  13. Stephen Carnes

    I have a C2, this is an interesting car if indeed it was a real 1958. They can get pretty spendy. It almost looks like it may have had an engine fire? or perhaps it was flooded out somewhere. In any event it does not have the chrome bars on the trunk, as you would expect. The one saving grace is that if you pocket book is large enough you can make it nice again.

    Like 1

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