Part of the original race...
Part of the original race prep included cutting out the trunk to make room for a 12-bolt rear and a coilover suspension.
Now temporarily retired from racing (we posed the car at Island Dragway in New Jersey purely for effect), the '59 sits at Walsh's shop in Shohola. He's got plans for the car, including putting it back the way it was when raced. Right now, a healthy 454 big-block sits between the front wheels, shifted by an automatic transmission. Walsh is already searching for an appropriate 427 to put back in the engine bay, and he still has that Hemi-spec four-speed sitting in the shop, along with a host of other parts that came with the car.
Given the expertise and drive of the boys at The Early Vette Shop, chances are good that the "Midnight Express" will once again be making quarter-mile runs on the dragstrips of the greater Northeast in the near future.
As far as the history of the car before Jim Davy's purchase, nothing's been uncovered. But due to the clues left with the car, we can pretty much conclude that it was born a big-brake/fuelie car. It now lives as a rolling testament to the crazy '70s, and its racing heritage will remain intact for generations to come.
Author's note: I'd like to thank Mike Walsh and the guys at The Early Vette Shop, as well as Jim Davy, for taking the time to relate the tale of the Midnight Express.
Though the “Midnight Express”...
Though the “Midnight Express” graphics are long gone, we wouldn’t be surprised if Walsh and his cohorts at The Early Vette Shop applied a fresh set at some point.
The interior was heavily de-contented...
The interior was heavily de-contented to reduce weight and get the Vette ready for ’strip use. Note the fuelie-only 6,500-rpm factory tach.
The car’s engine bay currently...
The car’s engine bay currently houses this 454 big-block, but plans are afoot to install another 427 in the near future.
|Spec Sheet: '59 C1|
|Owner||Mike Walsh; Shohola Falls, PA|
|Block||GM 454 |
|Heads||GM #3904391 rectangular port|
|Camshaft||Crane solid flattappet, early L88 grind (0.540/0.560" lift)|
|Rocker Arms||Harland Sharp roller|
|Rods||Stock GM 7/16|
|Intake Manifold||'66 Corvette |
|Carburetor||Holley 750 double pumper|
|Fuel Pump||Holley "blue" electric |
|Exhaust System||Herbert & Meeks fenderwell headers |
|Torque Convertor||3,500-rpm B&M Holeshot|
|Front Suspension||Stock with "fast" steering adapter |
|Rear Suspension||Back-halfed with coilovers and ladder bars|
|Rearend||Narrowed 12-bolt with Moroso Brute Strength differential and 4.56 gears|
|Wheels||150inch Weld pro Star|
|Best E.T./MPH||9.91 at 139.31 mph (with previous 427 ci engine)|