Period Racer: 1959 Corvette

1959 Corvette Racer

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We’ve seen all kinds of customized Corvettes here on Barn Finds, but most of the time it’s ’70s and ’80s models that have been modified, which is good thing if you ask me. There really weren’t that many first generation Corvettes built, although production did start to ramp up by the time this ’59 was built. As you can easily tell, this Corvette is anything but original. Thankfully the modifications that were made to it back in the ’70s were limited to just things that made it go faster! The original owner started restoring it at some point, but sadly passed away before they could finish. After being parked for a number of years, it is up for grabs here on eBay in Miami, Florida.

1959 Corvette

I’ve always loved the looks of the early Corvettes, although if I were going to buy one I would want a late C1 and not for the reason you might think. Most people that buy a C1 to drive want a later V8 car, but I actually wouldn’t mind having a Blue Flame powered example. When the Vette was introduced, it was meant to be an answer to the inline 6 powered European sports cars that were growing so popular in the States. So it only made sense that the new lighter weight Chevy sports car also feature a big 6. The problem was, American buyers wanted more power from their American built racer. The fact that handling wasn’t all that great may have had something to do with it too. If you can’t beat’em in the turns, why not overtake’em in the straights?

1959 Corvette Dash

So then why would I want a later car like this C1, well for one there are more of them available. They also had worked out some of the problems to make them more enjoyable and usable cars. I’m not sure how usable this particular car will be in its “racing” configuration. That hood scoop is quite tall and might make driving it on the street rather nerve racking. I guess the only way to know for sure though will be to go sit in it and see how visibility is. Looking at the engine, it doesn’t look to be necessary for clearance reasons, so you might want to find a spare hood for street use.

1959 Corvette V8 Engine

Now that being said, I would definitely want to keep this hood just the way it is! It’s part of the car’s story and history. The seller states that the engine and transmission were rebuilt early on into the restoration, but the engine looks like it could use some cleaning and work after sitting. Hopefully the engine is free and still like new on the inside. I wouldn’t do much to it, other than getting it running and looking good! With such a massive hood scoop, people will expect to see something special under the hood and you don’t want to disappoint them, do you?

1959 Corvette Project

While I wouldn’t ever modify an untouched C1, this one could be fun to upgrade. Seeing as it was built for racing back in the day anyways, you might as well keep that heritage going. I wouldn’t get too crazy and I’d want to keep things as period as possible. I might switching out the steering wheel for something less ’80s and I’d go ahead and paint the fiberglass floors white or red, just to clean things up a bit. While the ’70s mags are nice, I kind of like the way the steelie looks on the passenger side. The body looks nice and straight, so I would finish the prep work and get this thing painted. There really are endless possibilities with this project, which explains why it has already been bid up to $18k. But if you were to buy it what would you do with it?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Rando

    60’s gasser maybe? As you said, it’s up for mods. Keep it some period. No point trying to take back to original. Would be cool with a hi rise 2×4 intake to stick up in that hood. Or a blower.

    Like 2
  2. Bobsmyuncle

    I’m not so sure I’d be as generous with the term “period mods” myself.

    Looks more like a 70s/80s attempt at customizing rather than a period attempt at a purpose built race car.

    Like 0
    • grant

      I have to agree. Back in the day we called cars with fake hood scoops posers. It is cool though.

      Like 0
  3. ags290

    In Texas we would say “All Hat, No Cattle”

    Like 0
    • grant

      I love that, I’m gonna use it!

      Like 0

    If you watched the latest Misfit Garage episode they did up a 58 real nice. This ones an open canvass ready for anything. I vote gasser

    Like 0
  5. Blindmarc

    Hard for me to really tell, but to me it looks like some pretty wide rear wheels and they’re under the fenders. But on the other hand there is no roll bar or safety belts and that would be mandatory if it was a “race car”. Especially a fiberglass one.

    Like 0
  6. Gary Oliver

    Looks like a hillbilly car to me. What a shame to do this to a C1 Corvette.

    Like 0
  7. Joe

    Those quarter panels!!!!!

    Whoever bid 18K is a better man than me.

    Like 0
  8. j.boyd

    Seatbelts & cage? If you aint living on the edge you are taking up too much space, Hardcore Racing 454 SBC , 8-71 blower etc. etc and street race it cash and pinks…….. JUST KIDDING , I vote Nostalgia Gasser.

    Like 0
  9. Mark S

    Hood scoop looks hideous and serves no purpose. Quart panals are ruined, this car is a mess but not beyond hope if it were mine id take it back to stock. I do however think that the price is pie in the sky considering how butchered this is, good luck to the buyer, he’s going to need it

    Like 0
  10. Paul R.

    1970’s trans am or fire bird steering column. The car has been back-halved with a narrowed rear end probably on ladder bars. It could be a coil over 4 link. The engine looks stock with headers, a aftermarket street intake and holley vac. secondary carb. Not a race engine. It could make a cool pro-street car if bought right.

    Like 1

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