Corvette Roadster Pro Touring LS7 V8 600 HP 6 Speed
August has been an amazing month for resto-mod Corvettes at RK Motors Charlotte. If you’ve checked in recently, there’s no doubt you’re already familiar with our “incredible 700hp pro-touring ’67 Corvette” http://rkmotorscharlotte.com/sales/inventory/active#!/1967-Chevrolet-Corvette-Sting-Ray/133122. It’s the kind of car that reminds us all what is possible and gets our creative juices flowing again. If you started to envision a similar build performed on a first generation Corvette, we can save you a whole lot of time and money. This amazing Corvette was built by the same talented crew at The Winning Collection and features a similar spec sheet including a custom Jamison tube chassis, a beastly Katech LS7 and an elegant custom interior. While the look of the car stays true to its roots, this Corvette is a relentless performer. Looking for the ultimate pro-touring ’59 Vette? Your chariot has arrived.
By 1959, Chevrolet was six years into the first generation of Corvette. While the basic profile remained, the modernization process was underway with the deletion of both hood louvers and decklid chrome bars. While those two small changes gave the Vette a much cleaner look, the body on this ’59 owes its clean lines to a slow calculated restoration process that took the crew at TWC several months to complete. First, areas such as the trunk, wheel houses and transmission were all reinforced with additional fiberglass while steel plates were incorporated into the floor. After letting the resins cure for 75 days, a coat of primer was finally applied and the paint process officially began. The car originally wore a coat of Roman Red paint but, before you Corvette purists get your pitchforks and torches out, take a closer look at the level of work performed. It’s rare to say a gray car glows but the coat of Spies Hecker Flint Gray Metallic that graces the lines of this ’59 is by far the deepest, richest gray we’ve come across. Accented by the classic white coves, the body is quintessential Corvette. There are no graphics or custom work to break up the lines – just pure GM styling.
When this Corvette rolled out of the assembly plant, chrome was still the ornamentation of choice. With the classic look in mind, the team at TWC made sure every piece of original-style brightwork made it back onto the car. Up front, a gleaming wide grille marks the height of chrome usage on the Corvette while four round headlights with chrome bezels play up a classic 1950s design cue. In the center, the signature Corvette medallion occupies the space just before the hood. At the sides, the classic Corvette coves are in place with three staggered chrome strips protruding from a simulated vent, portraying forward motion. At the top, every piece of glass looks new as does the stainless trim that surrounds much of it. A black cloth top tucks neatly behind the seats and is simple to operate in the event of inclement weather. The sloping rear houses the distinctive taillights while another show quality bumper anchors the back end. Every piece of trim, from badges to bumpers, is immaculate with crisp details showing at every corner.
With so many hours invested in the appearance of this Vette, throwing a chrome dress-up kit on the old 283 simply wasn’t an option. Instead, the team at TWC pulled a fresh 427 cubic-inch V8 right off the 2012 Z06 Corvette spec sheet and transplanted it between the fenders of this C1. In stock form, these engines produce around 505 horsepower but this convertible demanded something a little more potent. Known for building racing engines for the likes of NASCAR and the World Challenge series, the team at Katech was tapped to add some of their signature pieces to the already hot LS7. Upgrades include a Katech Torquer camshaft, high-lift valve springs, titanium retainers and reworked stock heads that now feature massive 270cc intake ports. With the engine now producing 600 horsepower and 570lb. ft. of torque, the TWC crew built or sourced some of the coolest pieces on the market to make the LS7 feel more at home. At the front, custom-bent and beaded alloy aircraft tubing connects the engine to a custom Dewitt aluminum radiator. Just behind that radiator, a scratch-built twin intake system feeds air to the throttle body. The composite intake manifold has been painted white to match the exterior coves while carbon fiber valve covers serve as a friendly reminder that this a thoroughly modern mill. From the polished pulley system to the braided lines, nearly every piece of bay carries a show quality finish that, when combined, forms one of the nicest C1 engine bays we’ve ever seen. Best of all, the engine fires immediately, idles like a modern car and sounds absolutely monstrous through the TWC-fabricated headers and three-inch exhaust system.
Beneath the car, the craftsmanship is extended to the impressively engineered and incredibly detailed undercarriage. Behind that mighty LS7, you’ll find an RPM Transmissions-built Tremec T56 six-speed manual that handles big power without breaking a sweat. From the transmission, power is channeled to a fully rebuilt Dana 36 differential packing 3.73 gears. Around the driveline, a Jamison tube-frame chassis plays host to a C4 Corvette suspension that features a double A-arm front suspension and fully independent rear suspension. Stance comes courtesy of adjustable QA1 coilovers at all sides. Up front, conventional tie-rod ends were scrapped in favor of Heim joints for strength and adjustability while a thick stabilizer bar helps flatten out performance in the corners. At the rear, a custom stainless steel fuel tank retains stock proportions but features internal baffles and an in-tank high-pressure Walbro fuel pump to satisfy the LS7’s fueling demands. Steering is made simple with a power rack and pinion unit. Naturally, the braking system packs some serious firepower as well. This super-Corvette is reined in by a set Wilwood brakes that utilize slotted and cross-drilled rotors with six-piston calipers up front and four-piston calipers out back. At the corners, a set of HRE wheels in sizes 18×8.5 and 18×9 are wrapped on Michelin Pilot sport tires to maximize grip.
Inside of this C1, a bright red interior is purely classic Corvette despite a lengthy list of modern updates. Nearly everything inside, from the bucket seats to the door panels, kick panels, grab bar, parking brake handle and dashboard are wrapped in soft red leather far nicer than any factory material of the day. From the driver’s seat, a rosewood-rimmed steering wheel is bolted to a polished steering column, which connects the driver directly to the road. Instrumentation is a clever blend of new and old with a factory speedometer refaced to match the other Classic Industries gauges that monitor all the usual checkpoints such as fuel level, voltage, oil pressure and temperature. At first glance, the shifter looks like a vintage pattern but closer inspection reveals the engrave six-speed shifting pattern. In the center of the dash, Mini Cooper toggle switches control accessories such as the headlights and driving lights. There is also an Alpine head unit that sends signal to speakers hidden in unique places such as the convertible top storage area and the floor of the trunk. Other modern accoutrements include a Vintage Air system and LED footwell lighting and power windows. Behind the cabin, a nicely finished trunk features the same red carpet as the interior. Peel back that carpet and you’ll find a thick layer of Dynamat covering the entire floor.
Documentation of the build is extensive with a binder of build photos that follow the car’s progression from basic C1 to high-powered canyon carver in extraordinary detail. The exhaust build alone covers at least three pages. Also included are copies of the car’s April 2012 Corvette Magazine feature and a large three-ring binder with manuals for every installed component.
Built by an incredibly talented team using some of the best parts on the market, this is arguably the finest resto-mod ’59 on the market today. With classic looks and a power band you’ll never find the end of, cruising doesn’t get much better. If you’re ready to bring home the best, make room in your garage for this incredible 1959 Corvette convertible.