It is far from unusual to come across a couple of exceptionally restored vintage Vettes at a large show. At a recent Fort Worth, Texas, event, two extremely immaculate machines grabbed our attention. One was a solid-axle '58 roadster with a 283-cid and T10, the other a pristine '63 split-window coupe with an automatic and air conditioning. On the surface, they seemed quite different, but then we put two and two together. They were both class winners and restored with the same attention to detail, but there was more, much more. It turned out that these two fine Corvettes are the prized possessions of a pair of brothers-identical twins, in fact-and the same shop, owned by one of the brothers, restored both of these fine cars.
Ralph Canalizo of Flower Mound, Texas, and Charlie Canalizo of Southlake, Texas, are both second-generation car nuts and have had love affairs with Corvettes since they were children. When Charlie and Ralph talk about their obsession with cars, both men give similar explanations for how they got involved. It was their father, Carlos, who got his boys hooked on fixing up and collecting unique examples of American muscle. Carlos, a retired engineer and a real hands-on kind of guy, instilled in his boys from a very young age a love of cars and respect for the dollar. He taught his sons to stretch the dollar by doing all their work for themselves, and both Ralph and Charlie have been rebuilding and driving cars since before they even had their licenses! Each of these men has since pursued professions in automotive body repair.
Both of these Corvettes have been carefully restored by Charlie (the "older" brother by a whole six minutes) and his gang at Leezo Brothers, a specialty body repair shop in Irving, Texas. Charlie's '58 roadster looks showroom perfect these days, but it was quite a sight when he purchased it four years ago. Charlie was restoring a '65 Corvette for friend and customer Johnny Wood, but Johnny also had a '58 and a '68 Vette that still needed restorations, too. Charlie managed to convince Johnny that he just had too many projects, and volunteered to help him with the burden by taking the solid-axle off his hands. "When I got it," says Charlie, "the car had purple and white paint, with gold metal flake seats. There was some body damage to the left front, but otherwise it was really solid. However, it looked like all of the parts had just been thrown in with a shovel."
With the help of his friend and colleague Bob Hill, Charlie returned his ragtop to factory condition, including all new interior trim and a fresh dash. Under the solid-axle's non-functional louvered hood lies the refreshed 230-hp 283 with a single Carter carburetor and T10 four-speed combo connected to the 3.70:1-geared Positraction rear axle. Charlie returned the '58 to its original color combination of Snowcrest White with a red interior. When asked about the not-quite-correct red coves, though, Charlie responds that it was GM's mistake. "The red coves were not an option in 1958, but they sure look good. GM should not have waited until '59 to offer them," he reasons.
The "washboard" non-functional...
The "washboard" non-functional louvered hood was a '58-only feature. Exposed quad headlights were introduced on the '58 models and remained as a design element until 1963, when the first disappearing headlights were introduced.