If you’ve been following the street-legal drag racing movement since its inception in the early 1990’s, you might remember the name Rod Saboury. His machines were legendary, and in fact record-setting.
The 1953 Corvette you see here was the world championship-winning car in Outlaw Street in 1998, becoming the first real street car to bust into the six-second zone on true DOT tires sixteen years ago.
In addition, the car turned in 1.05 sixty-foot times on a regular basis and was one of the cars that jump-started the movement that has blossomed into the door car racing we have today. Saboury only campaigned this car for about two years, switching up to a 1957 Corvette and subsequently the incredible ’63 Split-Window we reported on just two weeks ago later on in his racing career.
This car uses a chassis built by Jon Little, was stretched five inches by Frank Morawski in the nose to enhance stability, and currently features an 813 cubic-inch, 1,600 horsepower Sonny Leonard-built naturally-aspirated powerplant. In those days the car was raced at 2,800 pounds, making Saboury’s achievements even more impressive.
“The car was in Pittsburgh,” Saboury began. “I sold it sixteen years ago after winning the Outlaw Street championship with it to build my twin-turbo Firebird that I used in Pro Street. It’s only been down the track twice since I sold it; it’s just been sitting in storage. It’s exactly the same as the day I sold it. It had spiderwebs and dust all over it, so I’ve spent some time cleaning it up, and my plans are to put it back on the street. This is a real car, a real ’53, and I have plans to change a few things on it to get it ready. There’s a five-speed Lenco in it, the paint still looks fabulous, it’s incredible. This is probably the nicest racecar I ever had,” Saboury explains.
This is a real street car; the headlights, taillights, high beams, turn signals, and horn all work flawlessly. In order to return the car to street duty, Saboury will be installing his custom “INTHE6S” license plate that started on this car sixteen years ago and made it to his other machines afterward. A hard look at changing the engine and transmission combination up to make the car more usable on the street is also on the docket, as Rod isn’t a fan of changing valve springs every month or dumping C16 into the fuel tank for a cruise.
He’s got a Powerglide in mind as the Lenco isn’t exactly street-friendly, and has already been deep into the Sonny’s catalog scoping out their 572-cube BBC engine. A full exhaust system exists that exits in front of the rear tires, and Rod has plans to put that back on the car as well.
Only time will tell what he ends up with under the hood, but Saboury has plans to enter the car into shows in the mid-Atlantic area during 2014 – he’s not racing anymore these days. Oh, and of course he’ll drive the car. He’s planning on putting some miles on this beautiful machine, and who can blame him? It’s not often you get the chance to re-purchase “the one that got away”, and Rod Saboury did. We wish him luck with this incredible car!