“In John Deere Green Billy Bob loves Charlene,” and that Joe Diffie song kind of sums up what we have here. It’s not unusual for the editors of Vette magazine to learn of an over-the-top Corvette a man has constructed for the woman he cares about the most. Beyond the 1962 Corvette Bobby Alloway built for his wife, Cindy, a prime example is this 1958 Corvette Larry “The Norwegian Kid” Olson commissioned Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop to build for his wife, Carol.
It’s the Alloway’s signature stance the Olsons admire about a car Bobby and his artisans have crafted. So much, in fact, a portion of Larry’s eclectic car collection at the Ritz II are Alloway’s creations. And most have made a cover. A Google search for Street Rodder, or Vette magazine articles will reveal hot rods, including an America’s Most Beautiful Roadster winner, a customized car or two and, of course, Corvettes.
The basis without exception of every car built by Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop begins with an Art Morrison chassis bespoke to meet the specs Alloway’s has determined will give the stance Bobby desires for the car. Although it should be noted Art Morrison Enterprises manufactures a complete GT Sport rolling chassis (just add wheels) right off the shelf for C1 and C2 Corvettes that “bolt on” directly.
The front track width on a Morrison chassis custom built and further modified by Alloway’s is narrowed by tucking the framerails in tight enough to maintain a good turning radius with 17x7 Billet Specialties wheels cut to a proprietary Alloway’s design, and 215/50R17 Toyo Proxes radial tires. The ride height in front is four inches lower than stock, and six-piston 13-inch Wilwood disc brakes supplant 1958 vintage drums. The width of the rear framerails tucks severely to accommodate a pair of crazy wide 20x10 Alloway’s; Billet Specialties wheels stuffed into 295/50R20 Toyo Proxes tires. The differential is Currie 9-inch with 4.10 gears and limited-slip suspended by an Art Morrison four-link with a Panhard bar.
Beneath the 1958 washboard hood is a 502-inch big-block Chevy engine built by Keasler Racing with CP pistons and a Precision crankshaft. Naturally aspirated with a Holley carburetor on a GM aluminum intake manifold, the engine is approximated to produce 510 horsepower. The camshaft is a Crower grind to a Keasler proprietary profile and the cast-aluminum valve covers are from PML. Fabricated completely by Barillaro, the exhaust exits Chevrolet Performance aluminum heads via custom stainless steel headers by Barillaro Speed Emporium through stainless exhaust pipes routed through passageways in the Morrison crossmember into Borla Pro XS stainless steel mufflers. The silvery exhaust coating is by Gene Mobley at Performance Coatings.
The engine cooling system employs a copper and brass radiator from Walker, and the passenger cooling system is Vintage Air air-conditioning driven by a Vintage Air Front Runner equipped with a Tuff Stuff high-amp alternator. Originally, Carol’s 1958 was one of 3,764 Corvettes equipped with a BorgWarner full-synchro four-speed stick. The four-speed left attached to the 283 that was pulled out, and to back up the Keasler 502 a Legend Gear & Transmission LGT-700 five-speed was installed.
It’s an interesting thing about the cars built by Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop in that they don’t look all that modified until you park one next to a stocker. Take the rear end for example, there’s a ton of fiberglass work Toby Caldwell put into getting the 1958 to sit low and tuck a pair of 20-inch tires on 20x10 wheels, and you’d have to lift the trunk lid to spot the difference. The place to look is above the wheelwells on a stock 1958, there’s four inches or more of clearance on Carol’s Corvette and the wheelwell tubs are flush with the top of the quarter-panels.
Carol’s 1958 was one of 1,399 Corvettes painted Signet Red in 1958, and 3,827 with a white convertible top. Shortly after Larry commissioned Alloway’s to build a ’63 split-window for him the search was on for Carol’s 1958. Larry found the red and white convert for $35,000 and had it shipped to Alloway’s shop in Louisville, Tennessee. It wasn’t a numbers-matching car and neither were the few expired Lotto tickets found in the glovebox!
Once the major fiberglass corrections and modifications were completed the body and related parts were sent to Strip Technologies in Knoxville, Tennessee, for sodablasting. Upon return, it was sealed with Clausen’s Z-Chrome Rust Defender a high-build non-shrinking catalyzed polyester primer followed by hours and hours of block-sanding. From there it was all PPG products, including up until Scotty Troutman shot the final coats of PPG Alloway Jet Black (DBC9700). And not just the topside of the 1958 is done in Alloway Jet Black, but every square inch of the car, inner and outside fenderwells, engine and transmission, rolling chassis, and under the floorpan was fully smoothed and painted in high gloss PPG Alloway Jet Black.
The interior is another area that at first appears to be a little warmed over from stock, but in reality is far from 1958 St. Louis issue. From start to finish it took 12 months to complete Carol’s 1958 Corvette, and that includes a short time spent in Steve Holcomb’s Pro Auto Custom Interiors upholstery shop outside of Knoxville, Tennessee. Not a stitch of upholstery was in the 1958 when it rolled into Steve’s shop, and the only floor covering when it arrived was Dynamat sound deadener.
Corvette America was the source for everything needed to restore a 1958 Corvette interior, but before installing the metal parts were sent to Dan’s Polishing and Chrome for the brightwork. The Corvette America 1958 door panels were re-skinned and upholstered in Mulberry hued leather as were the custom bucket seats, dashboard and inside the trunk; the carpet is period correct loop pile. A Corvette America shrunken 1958 steering wheel faces a stock 1958 dash cluster with special ordered Classic Instruments gauges, and a Lokar gas pedal rests on the toeboard. After debuting at SEMA 2018, and showing at the 70th Annual Grand National Roadster Show in January 2019 at the Pomona Fairplex, Carol’s 1958 Corvette, when not being driven, sits at the Ritz II parked alongside Larry’s ’63 split-window built and painted in Alloway Black … of course. Vette
Photography by Jorge Nunez