Mystery Fiberglass: 1959 Corvette Clone

1959 Corvette Clone

We aren’t typically fans of replica cars, but when Richard B tipped us off to this fiberglass car pretending to be a 1959 Corvette, we took notice. At first we laughed but then we became curious as to its true heritage. Simply painting it like a Corvette and installing a few badges doesn’t change the fact that the body isn’t all that similar to the Corvette. Sure it has a few similar styling elements, but if this was meant to be a Corvette clone it was a very poor attempt. Truth is we don’t think this was originally built to be a copy. The body looks well too crafted to have been a home job and the styling is too far off for a Vette, which leaves us with the question of what this fiberglass bodied car really is. We have a few guesses as to what it might be, but nothing we can think of matches up perfectly to this one. Take a closer look at the seller’s listing here on craigslist and then let us know what you think it was before pretending to be a Corvette in the comments section below.

Corvette Clone Interior

The interior has all the signs of being a kit car. It is a mixture of parts, but overall everything goes together well. It is going to need attention, but looks salvageable. It certainly isn’t as well appointed or nicely finished as a Corvette. We aren’t sure what car donated the interior, so if any of you have an idea of where it came from let us know.

Corvette Clone V8 motor

While this car might not look all that much like a Corvette, at least it has a V8 like one. The seller lists it as a 260 cui V8, but we would assume they meant 259. The chassis is from a Studebaker and it would only make sense that the motor would also be from a Studebaker. It looks to be in good shape and has recently been painted red. It apparently runs and drives, so we would assume that means it has recently been serviced.

Corvette Clone Rearend

The closest part of this car to resemble a Corvette is the rear, but even then it’s easy to spot that it isn’t. We aren’t sure if whoever built this car planned on passing it off as a Corvette originally or if it was an afterthought, but one thing for certain is someone thought they could stick some badges on it and call it one. It isn’t hard to tell this isn’t a Vette, but identifying what it started as might be more of a challenge. So can you identify this fiberglass body? Thanks Richard for the tip!

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Comments

  1. Dolphin Member

    I have a lot of respect for anyone who can take a frame and drivetrain and build a one-off car on it, complete with working (I assume) brake, cooling, and electrical systems, interior, and even inner fender wells. But having said that, I’m afraid this looks a bit like a dog’s breakfast—and no disrespect to dogs intended.

    I went to the usual authority on these—forgottenfiberglass.com—and searched on ‘corvette’ for the years 1957 thru 1962 and nothing came up that looks like this car. Sorry to say (or happy to say, depending on your point of view), just about all the cars that came up in the searches look better than this one, in many cases a lot better.

    From the look of the paint and engine bay compared to the dirty interior I’m guessing that someone decided to spruce this car up with some new paint. I’m also guessing that this is probably a one-off. The only thing I recognize is the rear deck and trunk lid from an MGA, maybe.

    It definitely should go to a loving home so someone can bring it out to Show ‘N Shines and have fun with the dozens of questions people will ask, but at $20K that won’t be me.

    • dave manger

      The car is a studebaker.No brainer!

    • Ralph Spohn

      This not a kit or repli car. I own it.

  2. Richard Prokopchuk

    The craigslist piece says it is a Studebaker engine. As for the rest of it, that’s a mystery. It would not have been cheap to create a mold and layup just one body. That’s just not how it’s done usually, but who really knows. Probably those involved with its building and creation are long gone. Cool looker…needs totally different seats than the ones in it.

  3. sunbeamdon

    This has some passing familiarity with a Devin, maybe somewhere in its past. I hope our BFF’s come up with an answer!

  4. jimbosidecar

    I could almost see a little bit of Cobra in the rear fenders and the grill opening. The the builder grafted on a Corvette tribute headlight pieces and the coves. My guess is that the builder came up with the body by himself, not buying one from Fiberfab or any of the other fiberglass body companies around at the time.

  5. John Allison

    Original paint my butt. They used a lot of 58 Chevy parts to build this Frankenstein O.o

    • Ralph Spohn

      That is the original paint , but it doesn’t look as good as the picture

  6. Clay Bryant

    This could possibly be the very first use of rear spoilers and to keep them from getting torn off at speed,they integrated them into the seats.You probably had to weigh in at 160 pounds plus or the wind might rip ya’ out,seat and all.Just speculatin’.

  7. James

    That’s an…interesting looking car. At first the side made me think a bit of the Kaiser Darrin, but the more I looked the less it became. Really interested to know what this car is.

  8. Daniel R. Parker

    Really, if you repainted the corvette coves, swapped the seats to something more period, bumpers to bumperettes, tucked the exhaust tips a little, swap the Crager S/S spinners, steering wheel to a wood rim banjo. I think it wouldn’t be that bad. The windshield frame looks awfully modern for the 50’s, but will provide decent wind protection. I like the car for about $10k less though….

  9. Billy

    Bonus points for anyone who can ID what car the windshield was “borrowed” from.

    • Ralph Spohn

      53Studebacker

  10. sunbeamdon

    While I can’t id it, my eye says it’s been flipped/endoe’d.

  11. Vince Habel

    I see some of the same lines that are on the last mystery car that is on the bottom of this page.

  12. Ric Parrish

    I think they would be better off not trying to ‘be’ what it’s not. Forget about being a vette, sell itself for what it is: a one of a kind, hand built mess.

  13. Marc Lawrence

    Healey 1600

  14. SoCal Car Guy

    I think the windshield and moldings are from the same early-mid ’50s Stude (the Raymond Loewy design) that gave up its chassis and drivetrain.

  15. frankie Paige

    1959 Studebaker

  16. SoCal Car Guy

    I meant to say that the windshield and moldings are the rear window from the Studebaker donor car. my bad, my stupid…

  17. Brody Bunter

    I think I may have figured out the mystery in a few short minutes of research.

    Immediately when I saw it I thought about the Woodill Wildfire fibreglass American sports car that pre-dates the Corvette. However the Woodill Wildfire looks distinctly different. So I followed a link to Bill Tritt who pioneered fibreglass hulls for boats and bodies for cars. This then took me to a sight dedicated to Bill Tritt: http://www.americansportscars.com/tritt.html

    The photo at the bottom of the page is a picture of his Glasper G-2 which looks very similar in profile to this car. The article continues to mention that Mr Tritt helped GM develop the Corvette using his fibreglass know how. Could this be production by Mr Tritt? Or could it be some salvaged GM concept car destined for destruction?

  18. rusty

    Redo the front headlights and guards to single headlights (or be cheeky and without modifying the guards see what those big Mercedes headlights look like in there as the guards are rather wide because of the twins. Probably not but I can see the shape fitting..)

    Change the cutaway doors to straight doors and widen the mouth and you may have a better proportioned car infact nice looking.

    There was no need to Corvettise this car even as is without the badges and paint copy it would probably grab someone more so because it was its own entity.

    The rearend is beautiful but let down by the cutaway doors, the front could be left if the cutaway doors were straight. Infact I think the frontend may be fine with straight cut doors.

  19. rusty

    Reading from my phone so didn’t read original advert first but if this truley is as it was built then don’t touch it, as you erase history…

    Can this be original paint as it states…its so shiney

    If original forget my comments about changes.

  20. PleikuPete

    Windshield: 64 Corvette coupe rear glass?

  21. jim s

    might be an interesting project. then again might see it someday at a highline auction. never seen one before and no idea of value but could be fun. great find

  22. Brody

    Okay… I think I may have been wrong. I now think that this could be a Bangert Roadster which someone has tried to convert into a Corvette look-a-like

    Which is such a shame because the Bangert itself was pretty bangin’.

  23. ron

    Looks like somebody beat this poor sucker with the uglystick! I don’t care what it is , just keep it from multiplying ….any body watch Splice on 122? Different species …same result…pardon me I have to go upchuck!

  24. Jack R

    The headlights look like 58 Chevy. The clock is mid 50’s GM

  25. Ric Parrish

    I would much rather have the ‘donor’ car, The Stude coup.

  26. Richard Munn

    My dad had an old kit car that looks like this could have been modified to look like this. The Devin guess is a good one but when I look at this car the one thing that sticks out is the windshield. My dads car had the same weird look and that was from a Facel-Vega and was installed upside down and was a LaDwari. Go to the site that was mentioned earlier, forgotten fiberglass and look at those cars. I bet it was one of those to start from. Maybe a Victress with that grill but I will stick with my first guess because many of the body lines look right even the rearend has the same slope.

  27. Eric

    kinda looks like a cross between a Checker(nose), and an old MG, Jag, or possibly Morgan(mid section), and i would guess Cobra (tail)

  28. sunbeadon

    Hi Brody and fellow BFFes – the link you provided certainly offers clues to this cars origin. The ability to customize the body and chassis could well have led to this iteration – this car may be ugly as presently liveried, it would look so much better without the present pimp-mobile colour scheme

  29. Richard Munn

    The Glasspar was just 1 of many fiberglass kit car body companies that was bought out by LaDwari. If you read the information on the site I mentioned you will learn a lot about the different companies and how many were bought out. Also look at the catalogs where you will see that many were added as they were bought out.

  30. ConservativesDefeated

    Looks like the rattier younger brother of a Kaiser-Darrin. I think the wndshield is upside down.and the 3/4 rear profile behind the wheel makes me think Kurtis

    http://www.tamsoldracecarsite.net/REZYKurtisPontiacCotati.JPG

  31. paul

    I’d swear that steering wheel is from a glasstron boat , it looks almost identical to the wheel in my 56 fireflite
    as for the rest of the car it’s kinda ugly but in a unique way

  32. Bill

    I remember seeing this car (It has to be this one, I can’t imagine another being built) in an unfinished condition back in the late 1960s in Central Virginia. It was sharing a garage with a 1939 Packard 120 opera coupe I was interested in buying (I didn’t – it had badly repaired rear body & frame damage, and the $900 price was way too high!)

    When I saw it, it was not yet painted, and it was easy to see the various STEEL body parts that had been grafted onto the shell. If my memory is correct, It did have a Studebaker coupe rear window and surrounding body sheet metal, the MGA rear clip, And the doors started out life as Triumph TR-3 units, highly modified and updated with GM latches. The dash parts are all 50s Studebaker, except for the V8 Packard ash tray in the center. The radio opening is exactly right for the Stude radio too. The intake manifold/carb/air cleaner are from an earlier Stude (53-55), probably used to allow the lower hood line. The chassis & suspension also looks like Studebaker too. The ad says it’s a 260, but is probably the 259.
    My vote is it’s a one-of-a-kind. Since I was only interested in the Packard, I never asked about this car, nor did I take pictures. I thought it was fugly at the time, and my opinion hasn’t changed!

    • grant

      no disrespect, but for someone who allegedly saw the car in passing, and didn’t ask any questions about it, you seem to know a lot of details that the builder would know. Are you sure this isn’t your own red headed stepchild?

  33. Bill

    And one more comment: Since it’s rear window glass, that “windshield” is not laminated & AS-1 certified. The first little rock that hits it just right will cause the entire window to shatter into thousands of little pieces. It needs to be pulled out & carefully laminated with a plastic coating (like tinting, without the tint), then installed again.

    • rusty

      hi Bill surely not if its registered as a 59 as this would be. But you have bought up an interesting thought that intrigues me.

      I would have thought the US would not have introduced laminated windsceen laws by 59…correct me if I am wrong. But I do know US was first with many safety features so I am open to learning.

      Many fibreglass sportscars including production sportscars had rear screens from other cars which were touighened glass not laminated..I can site one 1959 production sportscar I own a 59 Goggomobil Dart [Aussie] that uses a Renault rear screen [toughened] as its front screen. The screen is roughly the same shape as this screen but far more elegant with a thin brass extrusion around it [thinner than the chrome3 around this one]..which if this one had that would make it a more attractive screen. Although this is not in your country so I may be wrong but I know your country was still selling foreign cars with toughened screens not laminated [Morris Minors] so I would imagine laminated windscreens laws didnt take effect till much later.

      Therefore a 59 car that is kept original surely cannot/should not need to upgrade any fitments to car…as long as it was as it was originally produced. I could be totally wrong not knowing your country rules but that would mean every restored vintage car would need modernised fitments..cant see that being true.

      Or did by 59 all US built cars must have laminated. Now that would surprise me..but I know many modern safety features were introduced early in US. Interested to know as obviously this car was allowed a toughened screen in the first place in 59.

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