1956 Corvette Blade Silver That Was Homemade


Publish date: 2016-10-20 10:09:58
1956 Corvette Blade Silver

The 1956 Chevrolet Corvette is the rarest of them all. Only 3,467 were built and only 546 came equipped with power windows. The 1st 145 Corvettes produce in 1956 featured recirculating-air only heaters, and just 111 of those were installed with an RPO 449 special high-lift camshaft. The 265 ci V8 engine was very popular for the 1956 Corvette that 3,080 came out of the factory with RPO 469 dual quads.

*Check out this classic “Chevrolet Corvette Parking Only” sign.*

56 Corvette Blade Silver

Phil and Kevin Koykka from Bellmawr, New Jersey, did not have a lot of information about the history of their Venetian Red 1956 Corvette which is 1 out of 1,043 produced. The Corvette began as their car project in 2001 after a longtime friend of Phil was found to have terminal cancer. Phil had always wanted to buy the Corvette for several years but his friend said that he is planning to restore the car himself. Unfortunately, that plan never came to be. One month before Phil’s friend passed away, he sold the corvette to Kevin and Phil.

1956 Corvette Blade Silver engine

The father and son duo hauled the Corvette into their garage and spent there for around 10 years before it finally got some attention. The duo went off to finally complete the Corvette. The original Venetian Red DuPont nitrocellulose lacquer finish had been partially removed and the body is exposed to bare fiberglass. Some sections were covered in light gray polyester primer. This was the first Corvette Kevin has worked on and paid careful attention to the body and paint job after hearing some horrific stories about the bodies of Corvettes that were removed from the frame ended up warping badly.

homemade 1956 Corvette Blade Silver

The duo was hands-on in almost every work done to this car but just after they started to restore this Corvette, Kevin’s dad was found to have cancer. After that, Kevin did the rest by himself in their home garage. Kevin chose to use PPG paint products to cover the fiberglass body after the repairs were done. It now comes in a beautiful 2014 Corvette Blade Silver accented with Ermine White coves. Kevin prepared the body at home and brought to Marty Doto’s shop for the final coating.

1956 Corvette Blade Silver dashboard

Although the history and original factory specifications of this Corvette were lost and has been heavily modified by its previous owner, Kevin discovered that this Corvette was previously used as a drag racer. A B&M ratchet shift and the battery being moved to the trunk were signs of its dragster days. Most of the body such as the original side windows, equipment windshield, and the chromes were preserved while it was stored in the garage. The remaining parts that were too damaged were replaced with reproduction parts from Corvette Central and Corvette America.

1956 Corvette Blade Silver build

Kevin’s original plan was to turn it into a dragster again and embrace his love for drag racing. The plans changed after Kevin’s wife saw how the Corvette was turning out and wanted to accompany Kevin on his drives, but that was not possible for a dragster. The signature designs of the 1956 Corvette interior such as the waffle pattern seats that were recovered by Phil’s friend using Corvette America kits were kept really well and looks good as new.

1956 Corvette Blade Silver dash

Kevin restored the rest of the carpeting and upholstery with restoration kits and mounted an aftermarket dashboard and other parts. Billet Specialties supplied the steering wheel and Auto Meter gauges were fitted into the dash. The 1956 Corvette’s signal-seeking AM radio was replaced by a Retro Sound head unit with the speakers nicely hidden. While working with the doors, Kevin found out that this Corvette is one of 547 cars that featured power windows.

1956 Corvette Blade Silver exterior

The chassis was also painted with the same Silver Blade finish. Kevin restored the original mechanical suspension and added Bilstein shocks and Wilwood disc brakes on all wheels. It rides on 17’’ Billet Specialties wheels fitted with large rubber tires. This Corvette is powered by a 350 ci ZZ430 replica that features an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake and GM fast burn heads with Holley EFI. For the ignition, Kevin used a 6AL MSD distributor and ceramic-coated Doug’s headers for the exhaust. The ZZ430 engine is connected to a TCI Automotive-beefed TH350 transmission that is controlled by a Lokar shifter and connected to a custom-built driveshaft and then to a Corvette rear end with Eaton positraction and Yukon axles.

1956 Corvette Blade Silver wheels

Kevin spent around 5 years to finally finish his 1956 Corvette. Unfortunately, Phil did not live long enough to see the completed Corvette and passed away in December 2015. Kevin’s 11-year-old son, Brendan, helped at the final stages of the projects and learning the tricks and trade.

*Check out this classic “Chevrolet Corvette Parking Only” sign.*

56 Corvette Blade Silver exterior

References & Photo Credits:
http://www.superchevy.com/features/1610-this-super-clean-blade-silver-1956-corvette-was-homebuilt/

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