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1959 Chevrolet Corvette - Rhapsody In Blue

This '59 Roadster Has Seen It All

Kevin Shaw Nov 17, 2009
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Anthropology and other sciences have made strides in documenting the development of mankind since its inception millions of years ago-dating from our first ancestors who learned to communicate with verbal and then written language and utilize rudimentary objects as tools for hunting and cooking. This timeline, all working in retrospective investigation, has revealed that the average life expectancy of an average human has increased exponentially. Advances in science, medicine, cleanliness, and living conditions have assisted in preserving and improving the quality of life.

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The same, in a miniaturized version, applies to automotive restoration. Fifty years ago, cars found in less-than-stellar condition were promptly carted off to the wrecking yard where they would be left to rot. In fact, junkyards became the hot rodder's parts warehouse-Rocket 88 Oldsmobiles, 326 Pontiac StratoStreaks, and 392 Fire Power Hemis all landed there. Even until the '70s, many hot rods, classic sleds, and musclecars that were considered gross polluters and bottomless gas pits were either sold for pennies on the dollar or for scrap.

Now, more and more enthusiasts are able to invest their expendable income on hobby cars and restorations. the aftermarket has exploded with more parts available to the restorer and aficionado than were available when the cars were new. Cars that would have found themselves beneath heaps of crushed hulks now are show-quality restorations, sometimes even finding themselves in front of the camera's lense.

Though never a total basket case, this '59 Vette has come a long way. In 1974, William Bryan's father found this '59 Corvette sitting alongside a road only five miles from their home. He and William immediately gave it the once over, and it was purchased that day.

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Initially, the car was in very poor condition. Primarily painted Dukes of Hazzard's General Lee orange, quite a large portion of the body was "rattle-canned" black and gray primer. But William was young and wanted the Vette more than anything, so he really didn't care. He drove the car to work and for kicks until 1978 when he got married. His new wife, Cindy, nicknamed the Corvette "The Carnival Car" because of the bright circus tent orange and different colors of primer that adorned the exterior. The nickname stuck and soon all their friends and family referred to the Corvette by that moniker.

The Corvette sat in a garage at his parents' home and was only driven when the Pennsylvania State inspection was due. William would fire up the car, let it idle, and eased it to the service station, where he had it inspected, and then promptly put it back in the garage until the next inspection.

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In September 1999, William decided it was time to restore the '59, with the final goal of earning an NCRS Top Flight award. an autobody/painter/mechanic friend, Brian Kormanskim, and William got to work. William's son, Brock, cleaned parts, sandblasted, and stripped paint for months, and Cindy wrote the checks for materials and everything else they needed. They conducted a complete frame-off restoration, with 95 percent of the work completed in the home garage, and the car was completed in September 2002.

A year later in August 2003, they were invited to participate in the NCRS Gallery of Corvettes at Carlisle, which is quite an honor. In May 2004, they received the NCRS Top Flight at a NCRS Regional meet in New Jersey.

The "Carnival Car" is no more. rather, the '59 Corvette is now called "The Queen," and is pampered and resting in the garage.



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