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by Bruce Caldwell  More from Author

A '59 Corvette Like No Other

Mike Walker doesn’t build your run-of-the-mill, garden variety Corvettes. His shop, Street Rods Only, in Macon, Illinois, (www.streetrodsonly.com) builds what could best be described as classic Corvettes taken to the extreme. He specializes in ’58-’60 Corvettes. The cars are easily recognizable as Corvettes, but the detailing, stance, performance, and eye-appeal are right up there with the best street rods around.

Mike has been building street rods for the better part of three decades and it shows in the caliber of Corvettes coming out of his shop. Like most street rods, these cars are essentially hand built from the ground up to meet specific customer needs. Mike built his orange ’59 fastback for personal enjoyment and as a company showcase.

The foundation of the car is a custom chassis made out of 2x4 tubing. It is assembled in a chassis jig at Street Rods Only. The front and rear suspension is C4 with a Dana 44 rear. Aldan coilover shocks are used. Baer brakes with 6 pistons and massive 15-inch rotors provide the stopping power. All the suspension components are chromed including the Maval Engineering power rack and pinion unit.

Stance is a critical aspect of a successful street rod and the Street Rods Only crew nailed the stance on this Corvette. Like a great street rod, the Corvette is very low with a slight forward rake. The slope of the fastback roof and the cove enhances the rake.

Wheels and tires are another important element of a great street rod. The unique one-off wheels are made by EVOD Industries (www.evodindustries.com). They’re 20x11 in back and 19x10 in front and designed to clear modern Corvette suspension components including the massive Baer brakes. These wheels are true knock-offs with splined hubs.

Street Rods Only designed the unique fastback roof and had it built by A-1 Fiberglass. The rear window is real glass that had to be custom built. The roof kits are available by themselves. This car has a matching trunk lid that can be installed when the roof is removed for open-air motoring. Air conditioning is available when the roof is in place.

It’s hard to beat the classic ’59 Corvette styling, so besides the fastback roof, the only other major addition was a ’67 Corvette big-block style hood. That iconic hood scoop design also appears inside the car on the roof.

The wild color is Tangelo Orange Pearl from House of Kolor. The cove and stripes are pearl gray. All the paint and bodywork was performed in house. Tangelo Orange paint was used throughout the interior and engine compartment as well as on chassis components including the brake calipers.

The interior is as wild as the exterior. It was custom built by the upholstery department at Street Rods Only. The gray leather has a snakeskin print that’s used on the seat inserts, door panels, center console, and steering wheel. The seat mounting area was modified to provide an additional four-inches of legroom.

This multi-award-winning Corvette is as quick as it is beautiful thanks to an LS2 engine that’s boosted with a Magnuson supercharger. The engine produces 550 hp of pin-you-to-the-back-of-the-seat thrust. The transmission is a Tremec 6-speed. The clutch and brake cylinders are hidden under the dash. A custom built PRC radiator with twin SPAL electric fans. A Street and Performance custom pulley kit dresses up the engine.

The sounds of the engine should be sufficient entertainment for most Corvette enthusiasts, but if additional audio thrills are required, the car is loaded with powerful Cadence stereo equipment. A custom speaker enclosure houses three wheel-sized speakers and the former spare tire well is filled with massive amplifiers.

Mike Walker’s stunning orange ’59 Corvette is a perfect example of what can be achieved by combining classic Corvette styling with modern accouterments—it’s a Corvette plus.

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