Corvette Central

Concept 57 - Assembly

THE HOME STRETCH - P-57 Gets Ready Just Before The Show
With only four weeks to go until the formal unveiling of P-57 at this year's Corvette Carlisle in Pennsylvania, the crew at Walden & Younger Corvette Restorations is burning the midnight oil, making sure that everything is in placeand P-57 will be looking its best.
There are so many variables with building a Corvette from the ground up, especially when you consider that P-57 is in all actuality, a new car. The chassis came from Street Shop, Inc. while the body came from Corvette Central. Starting with basically nothing and building a '57 Corvette meant that we needed to find everything else that was to go on, in or under that body and chassis. If we had a donor car, there would have been scores more parts ready at hand but, instead, everything must be sourced; every nut, bolt, trim piece, etc.
1 Because P-57 will have many systems that GM never even dreamed would wind up in a 1957 Corvette, and many of them are electrically powered, we opted to use an aftermarket fuse panel. The new fuse box has more circuits to allow for items like the electric fuel pump. We mounted it behind the driver's side kick panel on the firewall. We allowed enough wire to pull it out for troubleshooting if needed. We started with the rear wiring and ran everything forward to the engine and headlight harnesses, and tested each area as it was completed.

2 The harness came with color-coded and labeled wires cut to a generic length. They will be trimmed to fit and then laced together as a complete harness once routed. Being a custom-fit harness, there may be terminals that will need to be replaced to match the specific application. The instructions are good, but written for experienced wiring people. This harness took longer than if we'd just bought a finished '57 harness, but we wanted to upgrade the wiring capabilities for P-57 and also use the modern fuse plugs rather than the old glass fuses.
3 Charles Younger routed the rear taillight, license plate lamps and gas tank wires through P-57 and covered them with corrugated tubing. Positioning and fastening the wire to prevent chaffing or other damage is as important as what color wire to use.

4 The fuse panel was mounted under the dash, and here Charles is terminating all the wiring that goes to items mounted in the dash. Like routing the wires elsewhere throughout the car, this is much easier if done before the interior is installed.

5 While Charles works on the electrical system, Adrian works on the electric windows from Corvette Central. The doors were not pre-drilled and transferring holes from one door to another didn't provide the correct mounting position. We had to test several places before we got it in the proper place for operation.

6 Before the removable body panels were installed onto the body for the last time, the weather-stripping was installed. Here, Dannie and Adrian Walden are installing the weather-stripping onto the bottom of the convertible top deck lid.
Another factor in such a build is that we are not "restoring" the car to any configuration near original. That means that items like the wiring, hoses, lines and any part that veers from the original configuration must be contemplated and fitted to make it look as close to original as possible, or make it operate with the original parts included in the package. It is much easier to reinstall a bolt into the same hole that it came out of than to locate the part that the bolt holds, mark where the hole needs to be, drill the hole, install the bolt and tighten it. While this illustration of the bolt may seem overly simplistic, just think of how many bolts there are, holding items like door handles, latches, windshields and other parts onto the vehicle. Also, all the lines, wire harnesses, exhaust and such will also need to be thought out. The closer you are to the original, the less variation will be present, but it will still be there, if just to a lesser degree.
The guys at Walden & Younger were busy installing the wiring and finish-fitting the components under the dash of P-57. This month, the body went on the frame for the last time and the bolts holding down the body got Locktite. The car began getting its red interior parts supplied by Al Knoch Interiors. The interior really stands out from the sea of black on the exterior.
9 Charles and Adrian trial-fitting the new aluminum radiator to the core support in P-57.

10 Installation of the dual-line master brake cylinder with the power hydraulic brake booster. This was used in lieu of a vacuum system as it's more compact and functional for the limited space in P-57.

11 Adrian and Dannie installing the newly covered original dash pad to complete the dash area of P-57.
7 As all the ancillary components were coming together, the chassis was rolled under the body and the body was installed and bolted down permanently.

8 Charles installing the auxiliary cooling fan for the radiator as well as the air conditioning condenser. We were mounting the fan as a pusher in this photo, but had to change it to behind the radiator with a slim-line fan to ease mounting both the condenser and fan on the radiator. The clearance between the fan and the front sway bar requires a slim-line fan.
12 Close-up of the Al Knoch Interiors seat bottom springs sitting on the seat spring frame, waiting to be covered.

13 Mervil Lands, Adrian Walden's father-in-law, putting the final clamp on the hog rings for the newly upholstered seats that will go into P-57.

14 The springs and frames were covered with original-style red skins. There were only two color options available for '57 Corvette interiors, Beige and Red. We felt that the red would definitely stand out against the black exterior.
Infusing newer technology into a car while holding true to the original design can be a daunting task. Upgraded components like the power windows, track-driven wipers and air conditioning will make driving P-57 much more enjoyable, but it doesn't make the task of getting everything to work properly under deadline any easier. Focusing on the end result and not the current-day trials is the best way to see any issues through to completion; as the old spiritual goes, "one day at a time."
Thanks to Corvette Enthusiast - Written by: Andy Bolig / Photography by: Walden & Younger Corvette Restoration
Copyright 2006