While today the Chevrolet Corvette is well-regarded classic of the car industry – as much a staple as say Bruce Springsteen is to music fans – 1954 wasn’t exactly a banner year for the model (think “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.”, when the band was still getting the kinks out and establishing its sound).
Only some 3,600 models were produced and diehard car fans had a lot to gripe about. For example, the engine was lacking horsepower, the handling was shoddy and competition from other manufacturers (both domestic and European) was stiff.
However, the unique body design is still attractive to car collectors for its ability to turn heads. As a result, Tony Tesaro, of Thousand Oaks, California, had a bright idea. Take the shell of this classic beauty and marry the body to some of the newest parts from the $100,000 ZR1 – which the company calls “The Ultimate Corvette.”
Partnering with Timeless Kustoms, a repair facility with a penchant for high-end builds, Tesaro and the company’s technicians worked to design a full-frame chassis for the car with a C6 front suspension, three-link rear and coilovers that retained the spirit of first-generation models (3.42:1-geared, 9-inch solid axle). The original model at least got the weight distribution right.
With all this aftermarket hardware installed – including a LS9 crate motor – Tesaro now says his car can best even new model ZR1s in a head-to-head road race.
“People keep calling this the Death Star or Darth Vader’s car,” Jason Pecikonis, one of the technicians from Timeless Kustoms, told Hotrod.com. “Tony approached our shop to build the ultimate Vette – a ’54 wrapped up with all the ZR1 parts to create a package that’s just ultraviolent fast.”
The results speak for themselves, so now the only question for Tesaro to ponder is if he’s got any challengers – either on the road or in the shop.
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