Frank's 59 Corvette - a conversion to right-hand drive

This 1959 Roman Red Corvette has been Frank's weekend drive for many years. He had kept it stock and enjoyed the car's original driving characteristics, but had always planned to, one day, transform this beauty into a beauty that drives and handles like a modern day sports car.

Although some of the finer details are still work in progress, Frank was clear about the aesthetics: the dash was to look as true to the original design, converted to right-hand drive with the firewall smooth and free from bonding seams and holes.

I received the body completely stripped down and off the chassis, so the first job was to buzz all the rock-hard black sealant that had been used to stick the dash pad on...would someone perhaps have been worried that it would fall off? 

I used the same process that I used on Doris: I cut out the 2 coves, rotated the grab bar side over and fibre-glassed it in on the passenger side. I also rotated the grab insert - painting and lettering will be done later. The driver's side I carefully positioned so the gauge cluster was aligned and central to the steering column.

All the brackets need to be modified to hold the cluster and grab rail. To add a right-hand drive heater cover moulding, I made a mirror image of the original one. I modified the centre console on the driver's side and reworked the original kick panels to include speaker housings.

I  modified and strengthened the fire wall and used fibreglass sheet made up to my spec. Honestly, this saves many hours getting the firewall looking flat and seam-free. I relocated the handbrake and hood release handles to the right.The brake pedal and master cylinder will be relocated later. The steering column will be positioned when the body is back on the chassis.

I used the same fibreglass 'glove' to slide over the modified dash to give it a nice clean looking finish. It will be covered it in leather later, but it could also be vacuum vinyl covered for the original factory look, if someone wants to keep the stock look.

Franks plans to power this 59 with something a little more powerful than the stock 283ci 280hp V8 engine, so he wanted room for some more rubber, lots more rubber! The rear wells were tubbed which will now accommodate anything up to a 315 rear tyre! (at the expense of the folding top). 

John Ward