The National Corvette Museum plans to display one of the first custom cars in its collection, a donated 1979 Corvette converted to front-wheel-drive using parts from a junkyard, built in a garage by a resourceful enthusiast.
The car itself was built out of necessity and ingenuity. John Jacobi converted the car in 1985 using a 1979 Corvette body and the drivetrain from a 1979 Cadillac Eldorado.
He chose the Corvette because the fibreglass body was resistant to rust; while the front-drive configuration would make it more manageable in winters, which can be pretty brutal in Long Island, New York.
According to Hemmings, it took Jacobi five years to build the beast, after which it was subjected to the scrutiny of the registration process. It took until 1993 to get the car registered because, he later found out, the Corvette shell had been marked as stolen. As a result, Jacobi had to buy it back from a police impound lot.
“My dad… strived to do things differently than most,” said Tara Jacobi, John’s daughter. “To me, it embodies who my dad was because he wasn’t stock parts, he wasn’t afraid to be different and to challenge himself.”
While the inclusion of a “blasphemous” Corvette such as this one might be polarizing to some museum-goers, the museum itself says it wants to showcase some of the stories of customized vehicles to sit with the production models.
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