We hit the trail again, to track down a second posse of powered-up classics
When we corralled several customized Corvettes for our initial roundup of restomods in our previous issue, they were on a comeback from a long, dusty trail. Even though these aging C1 gunslingers were well past their prime, they had found new life as classics with contemporary mechanicals.
This trend has become popular in recent years for a number of reasons. So it's no surprise that when we scouted the trail even further, we came across several other roadworthy examples to add to our outlaw gang of restomods.
The initial posse we formed contained only C1s, but these long riders are a mix of two eras, C1 and C2, with the latter focusing on '63 split-window coupes (which is fitting, considering this fall marks the 50th anniversary of that rare model's intro).
Of course, some purists contend that a collectible should be brought back to original, and we certainly appreciate that sentiment. But other factors can militate in favor of doing a restomod, including the condition of the car, its history (or lack thereof), and the availability of authentic restoration parts. And while some try to make a newer Corvette look like a classic, there's an enduring appeal in giving old iron a fresh life. After all, when the sun sets in the West, a grizzled gunfighter would surely rather be holding a Colt .45 in his hand than a flintlock. Ride 'em, cowboy!
A '59 that contradicts the company name--sort of
Mike Walker of Street Rods Only has been building Zoomies and the like for more than 20 years. So how does he reconcile his company name with the '59 Corvette shown here? Well, let's just call it a “Vetterod,” and leave it at that. Walker clearly knows how to customize a car, whether it started life as a Corvette or a '41 Willys. (He has a '33 steel model in the works as well.)
After all, the basic techniques of rod building apply to all sorts of makes and models: mondo power, trick chassis, and custom paint. Like so many rod projects, this '59 Corvette mixes ‘n' matches components. To wit, he stuffed a 505-horse LS7, fully dressed with chrome and polished pieces, into a custom chassis fitted with a C4 suspension, Aldan coilovers, and C5 brakes. The rest of the driveline comprises a 4L70E slushbox shifted by a Lokar unit, and linked with a custom driveshaft to a polished Dana 44 rearend.
Not one to leave anything untouched, Walker also enlarged the wheelwells for the EVOD rims, which are wrapped in Sumitomo performance rubber (245/35ZR19 front and 285/30ZR20 rear). Giving the car even more of a rodder's attitude, he also trimmed the interior with custom leather and billet pieces, plus a modern steering wheel and Classic Instruments gauges. Like so many other restomods we've covered, the plush driver seat was enlarged to accommodate a six-footer. And in case you didn't get the point from the dash panel, he repeated both the LS7 and horsepower metal insignias on the bumper, as an emphatic reminder of what's rumbling under the hood. Subtlety is no virtue when it comes to street rodding--or Vetterodding either.