We talk a lot about originality and “correctness” here at the shop, and there are few cars where “correct” is more hotly debated than Corvettes. So what's a guy to do when he has a killer 1967 Corvette coupe with a numbers-matching 327, a 4-speed, tank sticker, and a desire to both enjoy and preserve the car? Well, my advice would NOT be to give it an 8-year frame-off restoration that ends up costing more than $200,000, but that's exactly what happened here. The result? A car that is stunning in person, with a built LT-1 under the hood (the original engine was removed and preserved, just in case the car needed to hit the road once in a while), an incredibly detailed show-quality chassis, and that is unquestionably better than new in every way.
Now if you're a regular reader, you know that “better than new” is a no-no with a lot of Corvette restorers, an attitude that I certainly appreciate and respect. But bear with me here, guys, because this car is so nice, you'll forget all about duplicating factory “flaws” the instant you see the beautifully smoothed and painted chassis, the immaculate paint, and the extreme attention to detail that no assembly line could ever duplicate.
First off, it's important to note that this is an original black-on-black car, and that's how it was restored. As I always say, if you're going to paint it black, it better be perfect, and this one is so straight we caught some scientists in the shop using it to calibrate their instruments. OK, not really, but wow, is this an incredible black car. Forget visible bonding seams and factory alignment, this car looks like dark matter from a black hole settled on the fiberglass and simply assumed the shape of a Corvette. Panel gaps are precise, and yes, that's a big block hood with a red stinger, added for some contrast (the original hood is available). Every square inch of the car has been color sanded and buffed to a distortion-free finish - look at those photos carefully and you'll see what I'm talking about. This one is seriously nice.
Of course, with a body like this, you can't hang cheap jewelry on it, so every piece of chrome was refinished to better-than-new condition. Stainless was polished until it shone like a mirror, and everything was carefully installed and aligned. Glass is new and crystal clear, while all the emblems and badges are fresh reproduction items that are crisp and sharp, including the LT-1 badge slyly added to the hood dome.
As I mentioned earlier, the car's matching-numbers original 327 was removed and stored, and in its place is a fire-breathing 1972 LT-1 that was grossly over-built when the car was restored. It features a crazy big .550-inch lift roller camshaft, Airflow Research slant-plug aluminum heads that were fully ported and polished, and eight high-compression 11.5:1 GM pistons making the whole thing go. Up top is a 750 CFM Holley double-pumper, while MSD supplied the ignition system. This one cackles like serial killer, and who needs a big block anyway? This car will probably humiliate any factory 427 in a fair fight.
In case you can't tell, this car was built to stop hearts at car shows, so the engine wasn't merely thrown into a black engine bay. There's a lot of shiny in there, ranging from the Edelbrock chrome air cleaner and Chevrolet valve covers, to the braided stainless fuel lines and trick Coolflex radiator hoses. The intake was fully polished before it was installed, and just for effect, bright red plug wires were added. Long-tube headers handle the exhaust and let this high-winding small block breathe properly through a true dual exhaust system.
I wish this car came with a rotisserie so you could more easily show off the chassis, which is truly remarkable. I think I mentioned earlier how nice the frame is - it was actually filled, sanded, and smoothed before the satin black paint was sprayed. The body sits on new urethane body mounts, and there are new lines, hoses, nuts and bolts throughout, all beautifully installed to look good. The chrome shop was called on to dress it up, with a chrome-plated rear end, including the half-shafts, sway bars, brake backing plates, and transverse leaf spring. The T10 4-speed hangs off a chrome bellhousing and the floors are beautifully finished. A new stainless gas tank hangs out back, ensuring a clean, uninterrupted supply of high-octane. It rolls on a set of vintage Cragar mags, giving it a period look that matches the build perfectly, although the BFGoodrich T/A radials deliver modern performance that you'll appreciate once you crack the throttle.
Inside, surprisingly, they took it easy and simply restored it to stock specifications. Beautiful new black seatcovers have only about 600 miles of seat time on them, and there's fresh foam underneath. New black carpets, headliner and door panels match the original equipment (this was an original black-on-black car) perfectly. The dash is beautifully restored, with rebuilt gauges and a woodgrain steering wheel as original. Even the seat springs are new! To be honest, I don't know what you could do to make this interior better - the original design combined with impeccable workmanship and first-rate materials has resulted in a driver's compartment where you'll want to spend a lot of time.
Documentation is notable, as it includes the original tank sticker, original owner's manual, and an original warranty booklet with Protect-O-Plate. This car has already started collecting trophies, and now it's time for a new owner to start filling up his trophy room. And as I mentioned, both the original engine and the original hood are available, just in case the incredible workmanship isn't enough for you and you want to take it back to 100% stock.
Yes, count me among the group that appreciates a "correctly" restored Corvette, flaws and all. But that wasn't the point with this car. Instead, the goal was to build a period hot-rod with show-winning finish quality and a high-performance engine that takes no prisoners. But the builder gets a big tip of the hat for recognizing that Corvette fans do appreciate originality, and preserving the original engine for the future. You can't argue with the quality of the work that went into this car, and with $200,000+ worth of blood, sweat, and tears, I'm not surprised. It has recently appraised for $185,000, but you couldn't duplicate it for what we're asking today. Fully sorted and ready to rumble, this is one Corvette where I'm happy to say that it's better than new in every single way. Call today!