This ’58 C1 Ain’t Just For Show

Drag C1Ivan Carney of Menifee, California owns a 1958 Chevrolet Corvette. A lot of the C1 Corvettes that we find seem to fit in one of three categories being: original condition, classically restored, or a custom rest-mod. Each of these are drastically different from the other, and those of us at Corvette Online can appreciate them all, as every person has their own vision of what a perfect Corvette is.

While we love to see Vettes of all sorts, this car really caught our eye at the 2015 Temecula Rod Run. After all, how many ’58 Corvettes do you see sporting a wheelie bar?

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A Rich History

The car currently does not have a name, but that certainly does not show a lack of love for his car, as Carney has about $86,000 and 10 years into this build. The car originally cost him $32,000, and he completed it a little over three years ago.

IMG_7957We asked Carney how he got into Corvettes or in this case, a love for classics altogether. He responded, “I started when I was 18 years old. My first car was a 1959 four-door Chevy Impala, but that only lasted me about three months, as the the car was too big, and the engine was too small.”

“My next car was a 325 hp 396 cubic inch, four-speed Marina Blue Chevelle Super Sport. Other previous builds of mine include: 1927 Ford 5 window coupe, 1969 Z-28 Camaro, 1966 Nova, 1967 Nova, 1986 Grand National, 1958 Corvette, and 1959 Corvette.”

“I built this car to go fast on the strip, and look powerful on the street. The car weighs 3,150 lbs. and it has a quarter-mile best of 9.18 seconds at 155 mph.”

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After hanging out with Carney for a while, we were able to get a better sense of who he is, and understand that he has a real passion for the automobile, much like we do. We asked him if there was anything else that he’d like to share about the car, and he was happy to fill us in.

A Vette Built For The Strip

“The car originally came with a four-speed. When you race a Corvette, or any car with a manual transmission, you’re going to be leaving on the clutch. When you leave on the clutch, you’re going to have to rev the motor up to a high RPM point, and the redline for me launching this Corvette is anywhere between 8,000 and 9,2000 rpm because it needs to leave in a hurry. I found out that when you leave the line at a higher RPM than normal, things tend to break. Especially the transmission, clutch, and rearend.”

“I did the right things to the car. I have a Dana 60 rearend with Richmond gears in the car now, so I’m not worried about it breaking, and then I moved onto the clutch. I have a McLeod clutch that is expensive but it does lock the wheels up, and hurdles me out of the gate… fast! But then that left me with a transmission as a weak link. I tried using a Muncie, but that wasn’t successful. Then I tried the Liberty. Better, but useless for street application, especially the clutch-less four-speed. I even tried a Nash five-speed, but it broke after a few outings as well, so I opted to buy what is called a Jeffco Transmission.”

“It’s similar to a Lenco, but better in my opinion. Jeff’s are made in Lakeside, California by Shawn Wall, who maintains the same quality as the original owner, Jeff Boyd. He’s all about customer service, making something that lasts for years and years, as these transmissions are virtually indestructible. I know people that have funny cars with three-speed Jeffcos in them and they have up to 2,500 hp, all of which have never missed a beat with a Jeffco transmission.

But if you want to go drag racing, you can wind the engine up to just about whatever you feel comfortable with, and you’re not going to break this transmission! If you can pull a lever, you can drive this car just as good as I can. – Ivan Carey

“That being said, when I changed over to a Jeffco, I forgot about missing a shift and destroying my transmission. Everything was now more or less bullet proof. If you drive this unique transmission on the street you can use the clutch, and drive it just like a standard four-speed. But if you want to go drag racing, you can wind the engine up to just about whatever you feel comfortable with, and you’re not going to break this transmission! If you can pull a lever, you can drive this car just as good as I can.”

Currently the car is wearing a set of Weld Racing Pro Star wheels, with Moroso skinnies in front, and Mikey Thompsons in the rear. As alluded to earlier, the car is currently running a Dana 60 rearend with special “gun drilled” axles and pro 5.38:1 gears, that should certainly make for quite the launch. The chassis is a full National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) tube-chassis with a custom A-arm front suspension with Koni adjustables, front and rear. Wilwood was selected to slow down the C1, and a wheelie bar extends from the rear to ensure this Vette stays rubber-side down.

The interior has been kept mainly stock, thought the instrument cluster is faced by AutoMeter gauges, and an Alpine radio makes those trips to the drag strip a bit more enjoyable. To further validate this Vettes place at the track, the driver’s seat is an aluminum Kirkey race seat though Carney told us he intends to replace the car’s leather seats to bring some originality back into the C1.

The engine is definitely the focal point of this build, as it is simply built to go fast. To start with, Carney began his build with a 377 cubic inch Chevy small block. The car is currently sporting a Lunati 640/651 lift cam shaft, with Dart II aluminum heads, and a Dart intake manifold.

The fuel and air is delivered through a Holley 850 cfm carburetor, while a MSD 7AL-3 ignition takes care of the spark. The exhaust is routed through a nice set of tuned, Stahl headers and is ultimately routed though the rear bumper, just like it should.

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While the Jeffco transmission is technically a clutchless four-speed, it spins a McLeod clutch pack, and is bolted inside of a Lakewood bell housing. Jeffco shifters are used for a control, and the power is routed through an aluminum driveshaft, and in the Dana 60.

Other vital components for the build included: a Painless wiring kit, Quick shift light, Tilton starter, Flex-A-Lite Black Magic fan, Griffin radiator, Chassis Engineering wheelie bar, and ARP bolts and studs throughout the engine.

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Corvette Online: “What’s your favorite part or modification?”

Ivan Carney: “The stance of the car is important and the way it appears to people. I’m always looking for ways to change it to make it run better, and ride better.”

CO: “What part would you like to change if you were to rebuild it?”

IC: “I would like a bigger engine, more horsepower, and ultimately a faster ET.”

CO: “What motivates you to keep building?”

IC: “People like to look at cars, and I’m no different. Cars are a part of our history as Americans, and since Henry Ford started producing them, people have always wanted to make some modifications to make them better, so if I put together a car, I want it to be different, but acceptable.

Ultimately, this is one mean C1. As you can appreciate it can be a hard to properly convey a sound through the use of text so you’ll just have to take our word for it; this thing sounds nasty. This is definitely one of those cars that immediately lets you know it means business.

If you plan on lining up next to this 1958 Corvette, you had better bring some muscle of your own, because that wheelie bar ain’t there for show. We hope you enjoyed this C1 as much as we did, and look for more awesome car features in the near future.

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About the author

Brent Davis

Brent was born and raised in Southern California. After earning a Bachelors Degree in business marketing from California State University San Marcos, and a project management certificate from the University of California at San Diego, he decided to turn a lifelong passion for automobiles and motorsports into a career. Brent has a specific passion for diesel-powered and all-terrain vehicles that have helped him haul and recover recreational toys over the years.
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