Timeless Kustoms Breathes New Life into a Classic 1954 Corvette
When introduced in 1953, the original Corvette was celebrated by the American public – at first. By the car’s second year of production, consumers recognized that the car was massively under-powered, especially compared to the European counterparts that it was meant to compete with. While people appreciated the car’s visual style, its lack of power and performance nearly caused Chevrolet to discontinue the brand.
Fortunately for us, they decided instead to develop a more powerful engine – a small-block V8 – to improve the car’s lackluster power. This decision propelled the Corvette forward, eventually earning it a solid place in automotive history as “America’s Sports Car.”
Fast forward nearly sixty-five years, and you’ll find that another company has decided to follow in the footsteps of those pioneering Corvette engineers by re-imagining a 1954 Corvette from a “rolling bathtub” (as the early C1’s had once been known) into something far more sinister and spectacular – the 1954 “Death Star” Corvette Convertible.
Timeless Kustoms, a Camarillo, California-based bodyshop, is known for taking classic automobiles and transforming them into performance-driven works of art. The company, which was founded by owner Jason Pecikonis in 2005, was developed around the idea of building super-personalized, highly engineered, ultra high performance automobiles. The company has built a number of award-winning vehicles and has been showcased in a number of automotive publications including: Hot Rod, Street Rodder, Chevy High Performance, Super Chevy, Vette, Car Craft and many others.
The 1954 “Death Star” Corvette features the car’s original fiberglass mounted atop an Art Morrison space-frame chassis. Where the original 1954 Corvette engine was an inline “Blue Flame” six-cylinder, this new iteration of the car features a supercharged LS9 crate engine (the same engine that you’d find under the hood of a 2009–2013 Corvette ZR1.) The engine produces the same 638 horsepower as the ZR1, but all that power is packed into a chassis that weighs just 2,100 pounds! Given this incredibly-aggressive power-to-weight ratio, the “Death Star” Corvette is most definitely capable of producing some incredibly quick 0-60 and quarter-mile times as well as a top speed of 205 miles per hour!
The car was conceived, designed and built by Jason Pecikonis and Louis Tesoro (also with Timeless Kustoms) at the request of Tony Tesaro, a Corvette collector from Thousand Oaks, California. Tony, who had always had a particular fondness for the 1954 Corvette, found an original car in Nebraska and had it shipped (in boxes) to Timeless Kustoms. While the original car was a “basket case” by the time Tony had found it, the guys at Timeless dove right into the car and started working on Tony’s vision of building the “Ultimate First-Gen Corvette.”
The car was finished in Cyber Gray Metallic and (once more like the 2009 Corvette ZR1) features a polycarbonate window in the hood of the car. From the start of the build, the car was built on a set of scales to ensure the car maintained an optimum balance between from and rear axles. The car features Brembo brakes, the front suspension from a C6 Corvette and a three-line rear suspension with a solid axle (just like the original 1954 Corvette!)
As for the car’s name? Jason Pecikonis dubbed the car “the Death Star” after being approached repeatedly be spectators who were drawn to the car’s dark paint finish and sinister-looking body lines. “People (kept) calling this the Death Star or Darth Vader’s car.” Jason said. We can see why, Jason!