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Driver’s Notes: Corvette Restomods

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The Chevy Corvette has certainly made a name for itself throughout motor history. With its eye-catching, iconic design and impressive speed performance, the Corvette has maintained its popularity since its debut in 1953. 

While there’s much to love about an authentic classic Corvette, enthusiasts and collectors now often gravitate toward the convenience and fuel economy of Corvette Restomods. 

Recently, we had the opportunity to speak with a specialist who has sold several impressive Corvette Restomods. Jeff Hayes, founder and owner of Jeff Hayes Customs out of Bloomington, Indiana, has had great success customizing Corvette Restomods. His Corvettes have become fan favorites at car shows, and he’s sold many of his impressive creations in Barrett-Jackson auctions. 

In this episode of Classic Auto’s Driver’s Notes, we explore the world of Corvette Restomods as well as Jeff Hayes’ journey to becoming a successful custom car specialist.  

Development of Corvette Restomods

Jeff Hayes has always appreciated the style and specifications of both old and new Corvettes. He had the good fortune of owning both classics and newer Corvette iterations throughout his life, and with his immense knowledge, he realized that he could combine the benefits of classic and contemporary sports cars and that there would be a market for these creations.  

His journey to starting a highly successful Restomod shop began in 2001 with a 1955 Chevy Truck. Jeff wanted to invest in an LS1 fuel-injected engine for his vehicle. He attended the Super Chevy Show at Raceway Park in Indianapolis, where he purchased a drivetrain from a crashed 1997 Corvette. 

Jeff equipped his 1955 Chevy Truck with the Corvette’s drivetrain, and his creation quickly made waves. He showcased the Chevy at the Good Guy Show and the Super Chevy Show. His modified classic truck won both events, and Jeff began to receive many lucrative offers. Although he didn’t build it with the intention of selling, Jeff walked away with an impressive sum. 

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Selling a Restomod Chevrolet Corvette C2

After selling his modified 1955 Chevy, Jeff realized he could craft a highly desirable Corvette Restomod. He eventually wanted to modify C2 Corvettes but began with a few C1s. There were plenty of potential buyers in the market for classic Corvettes and Restomods, enabling Jeff to find an enthusiastic collector in only a month. Jeff sold his first modified C1 Corvette for around $150,000. 

Jeff moved on to modifying another C1 Corvette from the late 1950s, completing the project in 2008 amidst the historic market crash. With the economy clearly in trouble, Jeff worried he wouldn’t be able to find a buyer. Fortunately, a chance encounter at a car show inspired him to sell his creation at auction. While attending a Good Guy Show with his newest creation, a random attendee suggested that he sell the vehicle at a Barrett-Jackson auction. Jeff expressed reservations because he was worried that the vehicle would sell low at no-reserve. The stranger informed Jeff that his quality Corvette Restomods would sell incredibly well.

The next year, Jeff sold his Restomod for $135,000 at the West Palm Barrett-Jackson auction. He hoped to walk away with $120,000 and was pleasantly surprised and invigorated with his success. 

Jeff continued his lucrative business by modifying a 1966 C2 Corvette convertible. He rebuilt the Corvette C2 throughout the summer and submitted it to the 2010 Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson auction. He had high expectations for the vehicle’s selling price and walked away triumphantly. A collector bought the car for $180,000, $30,000 more than Jeff’s goal. 

From there, Jeff continued modifying Corvettes with his tremendously successful shop. He now builds just 1-2 custom creations a year and continues impressing enthusiasts at Barrett-Jackson auctions and popular car shows.  

Jumping into 2024, at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale, Jeff Hayes has once again shattered records with his newest masterpiece, a 1967 Corvette Convertible. This remarkable vehicle captured the attention of enthusiasts and collectors alike, achieving a landmark sale at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale event. The final gavel fell on a record-setting bid of $1 million for this custom ’67 Corvette. After including the auction house’s commission, the total purchase price soared to an impressive $1.1 million.

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Owning a Corvette Restomod Shop

Jeff’s Restomod business has certainly proved lucrative, and he derives a great deal of pleasure and fulfillment from modifying vehicles. He expressed that altering a classic car is like working on a blank canvas — he can customize these vehicles however he likes and add luxurious extras not available in authentic classics. 

He also expressed that this is part of the reason why Jeff Hayes Customs has had much success. Hot rodders and Corvette enthusiasts alike appreciate Jeff’s craftsmanship and enjoy the modern luxuries they offer, such as Bluetooth, quality air conditioning, and improved safety features. 

Additionally, Jeff noted that choosing to specialize in Corvettes gave him a distinct advantage over other models. Both classic and contemporary Corvettes have remained popular through the years, meaning that there are plenty of potential buyers. Jeff stated that it’s always important to sell a product that draws in the most people possible, and it’s certainly tough to beat the popularity of the Chevrolet Corvette. 

While Jeff is the brains behind his Restomod shop, he emphasized that a reliable team is an integral part of his success. He stated that it’s important to find a network of experts who can help you bring your vision to life, such as automotive painters and upholsterers. Perfecting his Restomods is no small feat, especially because the bodywork must be immaculate. For that reason, Jeff has a healthy network of automotive experts who help him execute his plans. 

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Get Premium Insurance for Your Classic Corvette or Restomod

If you own or are in the market for a Chevrolet Corvette C2 or another classic sports car, you need to protect your investment. You can get the best sports car and Restomod insurance with Classic Auto. 

We build our policies around agreed-upon value rather than stated, and our policies even include great benefits like inflation guard, nationwide roadside assistance with flatbed towing, and rollover miles. 

You can learn more by calling our classic car experts at 888-901-1338, or get an instant quote online here

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