On August 25, 2021 Motorhead Customs was brought in to go through a 1959 Corvette believed to have 120,489 miles on it, which had been preserved by the original owner’s son all these years. The only issue with the vehicle was that it hadn’t been started in many years.

The excitement of this project truly began as the transport driver backed into the bay door at our shop and dropped the trailer door to deliver the car. We were all blown away with the condition of this car.

Upon initially inspecting the car, we immediately noticed the car had its original tires and the original battery. How could this be on a 120,489 mile car? One call to the original owner cleared it up, the car only had 20,489 miles on it.

This was a game changer.

An impromptu meeting with the new owners was absolutely necessary because this 1959 Corvette was no longer a “let’s get it running and sell it” project, but was now a preservation restoration of a true survivor.

After many meetings with experts, the decision was made to bring this vehicle back to its original glory. There were only a few problems. One, the original owner is an engineer and loved to “tinker” with his Corvette. Second, some of the parts on the vehicle were not “original” to this car and some aftermarket parts were used.

We turned to the experts at Corvette Central and to many publications detailing the exact building procedures of this car.

First up, we hired the best detailer for vintage vehicles we could find. To say his painstaking eye for detail is perfection is an understatement. The detailing of this vehicle took 6 weeks to complete.

Then it was Motorhead’s turn to work their magic. The previous owner must have loved the color blue, because in 1969 he painted the entire engine blue. Anyone familiar with GM knows that the only color for a Chevrolet in that era is orange. We first took the motor apart using tape on all the wrenches as to not damage any rust or paint on any bolts or screws. We then went to work repainting the engine by hand with brushes, makeup sponges, q-tips and tooth picks. The engine was painted and then flattened and antiqued to make it look like it had been there since 1959. It took 5 coats to accomplish the proper effect that had to dry for days between each coat.

The paintwork is 90% complete and now the best part is reassembling the engine with some old and some new OEM parts that will need to be antiqued as we would not want anything shiny to ruin this absolute survivor.

Now, for anyone who has ever completed a restoration on a car knows that the fun stuff is going through the restoration parts magazines and buying parts to make our car look pretty. This car is different. Now when we open the catalogues to order parts, we also have to open assembly manuals and publications about concourse judging of corvettes to make sure any parts being purchased are 100% correct and then, we make it ugly.

Did you know that the 45 degree inlet that attaches the fuel line to the inlet side of the fuel pump must be stamped with the letter F? Did you know the ignition wires must show a manufacture date within 3 weeks of the build date of the car? Don’t worry because we didn’t either, but we sure do now!!

We are as excited as the owners to hear this car fire up for the first time in almost 30 years!

Come with us as we document the new life being put back into this unbelievable piece of automotive history, the 1959 Corvette.

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