Les Mullen's 1956 Chevrolet
A star is born
Mullen was a boat designer and builder, and according to a featured story in Speed Mechanics June 1962, he bought the car for 250 dollars and spent 1,500 hours and 2,500 dollars in "parts and overhauling labor." Described as a wreck, almost all body panels received alterations, and he molded new front and rear fenders around mesh.
Canted quads and scoops
The front end was rebuilt and modified to accept a pair of canted and hooded 1958 Lincoln Lucas-beamed headlights. The rear end received six 1959 Cadillac taillights. Functional scoops were added to the hood, trunk, doors, and fenders for a more dramatic look. Mullen formed hood scoops for the car using wood molds. They were then dressed up with gold-plated brass hardware. A sunken antenna emerged from a peak in the middle of the deck lid.
Mahogany and gold
Inside, The dash featured solid mahogany rails, a gold-plated brass panel, Jaguar push-pull switches, and gold and white rolled and pleated U.S. Naugahyde upholstery. It did also receive a gold Naugahyde tonneau cover and a gold-plated floor panel and shift lever. The steering wheel was mahogany Nardi.
Many coats of cream and white lacquer covered the custom bodywork, providing a great finish. Mullen dressed the Corvette up with chrome Buick Skylark wheels and a custom grille made from 3/8 inch colled rolled steel, wire mesh, and an emblem he picked up in a junkyard. According to Speed Mechanics writer Sam Palzer, the wheels were pirated from a Buick Skylark that Mullen found lying in a junkyard. He rehabilitated them before they went on the car along with bullet centers.
The Dashing and Dazzling Dominique
According to Tom J. Dubose of Rodding and Re-styling Magazine, Mullen did all the work himself, except for the gold and white Naugahyde upholstery, black Orlon top and gold tonneau cover. He completed the build in 1962, and the same year it became a cover car for both Rodding and Re-styling and Speed Mechanics magazine. In June of 1962, it grazed the cover of Speed Mechanics. Mullen named his custom "Dominique," and the story by Sam Palzer was title "The Dazzling "Dominique."" A story titled "The Dashing "Dominique"" was later featured on the cover of Rodding and Re-styling August 1962. Tom J. Dubose penned the Rodding and Re-styling story.
From show car to drag car
Later owner Brian Condon was told that the car was turned into a drag car in the mid to late 1970, and that it had been raced around North and South Carolina. During the transformation, a hole was made in the hood for a blower, and the rear wheel openings were radiused. The guy that made it into a drag car loved green, so he stripped the paint and interior. He also had green diamond tufted Metalflake door panels made, but never installed. The seats were also reupholstered in white pearl with green diamond flake inserts. It supposedly stayed with that family until 2017, when it was sold to a guy that wanted it as a father and son project.
Sold to Brian Condon
Brian Condon of Savannah, Georgia came across the old custom in October of 2019. "It has been hiding for probably 30 or more years and it needs some attention," Condon told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in 2019. He first saw the car in a few grainy pictures of an upcoming estate auction. It was listed as an old custom Corvette with a Tom Culbertson front end kit and a Barris rear kit. It looked rough, but Condon was intrigued, especially by the blower. The auction was canceled, but luckily for Condon, he was still able to make a deal on the car.
Trying to trace its history, Condon spent several nights behind his computer, researching Carolina drag ways, Corvette drag cars, and anything else that could help him locate its history. A Google search for "Custom Corvette" resulted in a photo of the cover of Rodding and Re-styling August 1962, and BINGO! There it was; The Dashing "Dominique!" In December of 2019, Condon plans included restoring the car back to its 1962 configuration.
Magazine Features and Appearances
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