PRI 2013: 1958 Corvette with the Heart of a Cadillac CTS-V
It used to be an adventure trying to find the appropriate salvage yard parts to do this kind of ambitious late-model engine transplant, but the availability of the “connect and cruise” packages from places like Gandrud makes it much easier. This C1 Corvette restomod was professionally built by Mike Ogston and it does a great job of showcasing how clean and seamlessly an LSA engine can be integrated into an early-model Vette. We like this interpretation of this C1; it’s clean, simple, and straight to the point.
For starters, this 1958 Corvette was given a full ground up restoration before undergoing heart transplant surgery. The first detail we noticed about this car is the paint – it is truly vibrant and almost blinding, but looks amazing with the signature white Corvette scallop on the side thanks to DuPont Chromapremier base coat and clear coats.
Other than the wheels and tires, this Corvette looks completely factory to the naked eye, but don’t be fooled – everything about it is completely modernized. Dakota Digital VHX gauges were used to give that classic look, but make the driver feel like they are driving a new car.
Along with the gauges, the interior is graced with custom leather upholstery with red stitching to complement the body color. A power rack and pinion was installed to do away with the traditional manual box and also add to the modernization of the build, because really, who likes breaking out in beads of sweat when cranking the wheel?
Speaking of sweating; Ogston installed an air conditioning and heater system by Vintage Air for cruising on those hot days or cold nights and vice-versa.
We mentioned earlier about seamless integration of an LSA engine, and yes, this C1 Corvette is packing heat. Mated to the 556 horsepower crate engine is none other than GM’s 4-speed Supermatic 4L85E transmission which can handle up to 1200 horsepower and 1000 pound-feet of torque. Needless to say, the transmission can definitely handle all 556 horsepower safely!
The engine and transmission operate in perfect harmony with the use of GM’s engine and transmission controller. Along with the new powertrain, a stainless steel fuel cell was installed for durability and weight savings, which really help when this Vette gets moving.
Behind the blindingly shiny chrome five-spoke wheels are brakes equipped with a Hydratech Braking System, which cover all four corners and provide great stopping power. The front wheels are wrapped in 235/40/R18 Nitto Extreme Performance NT555 rubber and there are 275/40/R18 meats in the rear to put all of that late-model horsepower to the ground.
Ogston really executed this build nicely. It has everything that one would want in a modern-day version of a C1 Corvette without being too gaudy – but that’s just our view. if you’re inspired to try it with your own Corvette, check out Gandrud’s other “Connect and Cruise” packages. Once you see how easy it is to seamlessly integrate a late-model crate engine and transmission into your early-model Corvette, you’ll want to do it too because if you’re building a driver rather than a perfect factory restoration, it makes a lot more sense than tediously scavenging parts from forums, or Craigslist for that matter.