Like a night in a Mexicali jail or a ride on a particularly nauseating theme-park attraction, the job of restoring a vintage Corvette often seems far more exciting when viewed from a safe temporal remove, long after the paint dust has settled and the bloodied knuckles scabbed over.
In the case of our '58 project car, we've done our best to schedule the “fun” projects early in the process, adding custom wheels; dropping in a shiny, new fuel tank; and executing a period-faithful performance makeover on the stroked small-block engine. But with most of the big-ticket fixes struck from our to-do list, it eventually came time to turn our attention to some of the more prosaic details of the restoration.
High on our roster of tedious-but-necessary tasks was the job of replacing the car's aging lock cylinders, whose functionality ranged from partial to nonexistent. The ignition key was also MIA, meaning the only way to start the engine was by leaving the steering column unlocked and cranking it over without one.
It's worth noting that even if your C1's original locks remain operational, installing an updated set still confers a welcome benefit: Because most replacement kits use a single key cut for all of the included lock cylinders, you'll no longer need to tote around two different keys for complete access to the car.
For parts, we relied on Michigan-based Corvette Central, from whose vast product inventory we've drawn liberally over the course of this project. While we opted for CC's basic lock kit (PN 501101, $119.00) to keep our investment to a minimum, the company also offers a “Super” version of this package (PN 501100) for a few bucks more. Priced at $165, the latter includes all the contents of the base kit—specifically, a full complement of lock cylinders and a pair of keys—while adding the bezels, retainers, and trunk-lock rod you'll need to execute the install on a fully stripped body.
Let's take a look at the installation process, which, in keeping with our pattern up till now, took place at AntiVenom in Seffner, Florida. Though the job itself isn't overly challenging, there are a few tips you'll want to keep in mind as you work. Count on spending around two hours on the project.