1957 Corvette RestoMod Chassis Build Instructions

1957 Corvette RestoMod Story – Page 3

The Frame & the Professionals

A performance car is only as good as its foundation – the frame.  If the frame is whacked out, it will never drive or handle correctly, probably even be unsafe.  That’s why I chose a professional to modify my ’56 Corvette frame.

Most frame builders today create their frames from scratch – they don’t modify existing frames.  They use framing jigs to weld all frame sections with top precision.  All suspension, steering, and drivetrain mounts are also welded in to these new frames. 

When I started in 2008, modifying was still available.  I went to one of the best, Newman Car Creations.  Be careful when choosing a frame builder.  Some will say they have the best, most modern capabilities.  Look beyond the hype, ask questions, do your research, and then make a qualified decision.

 Otherwise you may have to live with an expensive boat anchor.

Below:  I bought this frame on eBay from a bad vendor in Pennsylvania.  After sandblasting, it was unusable.

Unuseable C1 frame, 1957 Corvette RestoMod

Both rear frame rails were skewed to the passenger side.  If I tried to put a performance car on this mess, it would be very dangerous – for me!  The X-member had severe pitting, and rust had eaten through side rails just in front of the humps.  Given the power of my car, I needed a better foundation than this thing.

It’s not completely gone though.  I sold it to a guy who needed the front forks for his C1 stock restoration.  He brought another C1 back to life!

Newman cuts off the front forks and welds in new steel to accept the C4 cradle.  Also new mounting brackets for the engine, upper shocks, sway bar mounts, and core support are welded in.  Right: a newly re-engineered C1 frame still in the jig.

This frame at right is calibrated and attached to Newman’s proprietary jig before any cutting or welding happens.  This is where Newman determined that my first frame was out of spec – it didn’t fit the jig!

 The jig ensures that the frame is of good quality and that the modifications are perfectly engineered every time.

C1 frame modified to accept C4 suspension, 1957 Corvette RestoMod

C1 frame in modification jig, 1957 Corvette RestoMod


At right, my completed good frame is on the bottom.  The mess from PA is on top.  No chances were taken with freight companies (besides, I’m retired, I have nothing better to do), as I hauled both frames back to Phoenix in my pickup.

The lower right photo is my new frame!  New engine mount buckets, the cradle and shock towers are there, and the front cross-member mates up to the bottom of the core support.  The ends of the two side rails is where the new sway bar mounts are located.

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Modified C1 frame for C4 suspension, 1957 Corvette RestoModModified C1 frame and C4 cradle, 1957 Corvette RestoMod