Mar 10

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Red & Racy – 1958 Chevrolet Corvette

Article originally printed in the August 1980 issue of Cars & Parts – Cover Car

Photos by Ken New and Ed Heys
1958 Chevy Corvette
No single American model is as instantly recognizable in appearance and name as the Chevrolet Corvette, and one of the sharpest models released during the 28-year history of America’s only surviving sports car is the 1958 edition.

1958 Corvette in Signet Red with white side inserts

With styling that makes it appear at home wherever it’s parked, Decker’s Corvette is painted Signet Red with white side inserts and a white convertible top.

The ’58 model emblazoned on this month’s cover is painted Signet Red accented by white side panel inserts and a white convertible top. Its owner, Chris Decker, Tiffin, Ohio, also has the matching red removable hardtop, but it’s rarely seen on the car, since it is driven only in the best of spring and summer weather.

Decker’s car, which he acquired from a Corvette specialty shop in September of 1975, was meticulously restored with the finished product emerging in 1980 — after five years of detailed work. Decker performed the restoration himself with paint work by Lotes Body Shop, Tiffin. Numerous Corvette articles, an owner’s manual and a shop manual were all used extensively in executing the restoration and assuring optimum authenticity.

Two 1958 Chevy Corvettes

Chris Decker’s immaculate 1958 Corvette (left) is joined by a second ’58 model owned by Jim Scherer, Tiffin, Ohio. Decker has had his Vette since September of 1975.

The car, purchased for $2,700, is now worth three to four times that much. But Decker, who selected the particular make and model because of its obvious sports car image and universally popular body style, is not interested in parting with the car that consumed nearly five years of his “spare” time.

The car is the second restoration for the 23-year-old Decker, who had refinished an- other 1958 Corvette, completing that project in the fall of 1974.

The youthful sports car buff, who is a customer service adviser for Ohio Power Co., exercises his car’s 283-cid engine and four-speed transmission in his hometown area, rarely venturing far from the protective confines of his hobby garage, which is filled with spare parts.

Decker estimates that his red Vette required about 75 percent restoration to regain its original luster, inside and out. The toughest problem faced during the restoration was the acquisition of a convertible top assembly, which was delivered from Pennsylvania by Greyhound bus.

Decker, who is an active member in the Fantastic Plastic Corvette Club of Tiffin, is tremendously proud of his Corvette and thoroughly enjoys owning and driving the red and racy sports car. And, he’s justified on both counts.

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