There comes a moment in the life of every Corvette lover when one particular Vette makes a permanent impression on them. The result is a desire to have that Corvette, or one equipped just like it, no matter how long it takes.
That moment came to Ed Hoyt at a very young age, thanks to a creative neighbor. At the onset of a Chicago winter in October 1965, Ed (then age eight) was offered a ride in a silver blue, 290hp, fuel-injected '58 Corvette by his neighbor, sculptor Joe Burlini, who had just bought that C1. "I was just a little kid, and he kind of took me under his wing," Ed says. "He went on to be quite a famous sculptor in the Midwest. He's done a lot of big pieces for major buildings in the Chicago area, and even some in New York. he was just a really nice guy. When I first saw him drive up in that thing, I had no idea what it was, but I fell in love with it right away."
After a ten-minute ride in "that thing," Ed told Joe that someday he'd have a Corvette like this one. As Ed recalls, Joe responded, "If that's what you truly dream, and you're willing to set goals and work hard to achieve them, I'm sure one day you'll have it."
Fast forward to December 2005. Ed had grown into a successful entrepreneur and businessman, and now he was looking for that special Corvette. With a little help, he found one that was the same year, had the same powertrain, and was painted the same color as the one that inspired him many years before.
And there was one more thing that made this particular '58 Corvette even more special: its VIN number, J58S100013. That's right, the thirteenth quad-headlight Vette ever built, which rolled off the final-assembly line at St. Louis on the first day of the '58-model-year production in October 1957. "I was looking for something that was really different, and I was very excited when I found this one," says Ed. "I figured a first-day car was truly unique."
But this Vette was not in the shape that many "Dream Vettes" are found-at best a well-worn driver, or at worst, a well-trashed basket case. Instead, this one had been fully restored and judged, receiving NCRS Top Flight certification. Sure, it wasn't cheap, but building a car like this to that level of fit and finish would have cost him at least as much as he paid for it, if not a lot more.
A cross-country trip aboard an enclosed trailer was next, taking Ed's treasure to his adopted home state of Arizona. The first stop was at Corvette Restoration AZ in Tempe to have Kim Ian Madsen and his team go through the car and see if there was anything that needed to be done, or should be done, to keep it in Top Flight condition. "The original battery had leaked some acid during transport, so they had to replace the battery pan and repair some things that the battery acid messed up," Ed recalls. "Then Kim and Bill Mackenzie, owner of Greenway Auto in Phoenix, went through the engine and recalibrated the fuel-injection system." Years ago, Kim's father, Doug, and Bill worked together at Konner's Chevrolet in Caldwell, New Jersey. In their spare time, they also built and raced many winning race cars. Doug was known as The Fuelie Guru, and Bill learned from the master." The shop visit also uncovered an out-of-round driveshaft, which was replaced with one correct for a '58.
Meanwhile, Ed is keeping his eyes open for year-correct seatbelts to make that new-for-'58 standard safety feature look original once again. "No one's reproduced the webbing yet with the correct color and pattern, or the buckles, so I'm trying to find an original pair. I haven't found a set of those yet, but I'll get them."
When we saw it, the '58 had only turned about 100 miles since the frame-off restoration had been completed. That didn't stop Kim and Nikki Miller of Corvette Restoration AZ from giving it a brief workout on the stretch of two-lane twisties inside the South Mountain Park Preserve near Kim's shop and Ed's Fountain Hills, Arizona, home.