Two weeks ago, we rolled out a black 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Split Window, powered by a supercharged LS6 and backed up by a 6-speed manual. Within 24 hours, we received flame mail from Corvette purists deriding the car and offering their valuable market advice that the car wouldn't bring $50K. In reality, the car sold for $125K. In 36 hours. And we had 10 guys asking us when we would be getting another. Ummmmmm .... how about never?
As those of us that do this for a living understand, things have subtly shifted over the past ten years. And while there will always be a place for 25 copies of what was built 50 years ago sitting neatly in a row while judges check to make sure that the power steering hoses have the correct codes on them, the demand for these types of cars has been overrun by demand for cars who are unique and perform better than stock. Think less art and conformity ..... and more enjoyment.
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 whats 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 thats 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 youre 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. And if you are one of those guys who has made it his life's work to make sure that every Corvette at an NCRS show has the correct owner's manual in the glove-box, you should stop reading right now and skip on down to our Bloomington Gold winning 1967 tri-power Roadster.
For the guys that simply love to own and drive hot cars, and for the purists that have a wild streak, stay with me. This Corvette is so nice, youll 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, its important to note that this is a black-on-black car with a red Stinger hood, arguably the best color combination on a Corvette Sting Ray. As I always say, if youre 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, thats 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 finishlook at those photos carefully and youll see what Im talking about. This one is seriously nice.
Of course, with a body like this, you cant 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 cars 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 cant tell, this car was built to stop hearts at car shows, so the engine wasnt merely thrown into a black engine bay. Theres 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 isit 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 correct 1967 Corvette wheels, with brand spanking new redline radials that look perfect on this Sting Ray.
Inside, surprisingly (and thankfully), they took it easy and simply restored it to stock specifications. Beautiful new black seat-covers have only about 600 miles of seat time on them, and theres 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 wood-grain steering wheel as original. Even the seat springs are new! To be honest, I dont know what you could do to make this interior betterthe original design combined with impeccable workmanship and first-rate materials has resulted in a drivers compartment where youll want to spend a lot of time.
Documentation is notable, as it includes the original tank sticker, original owners manual, and an original warranty booklet with Protect-O-Plate. This car has already started collecting trophies, and now its 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 isnt enough for you and you want to take it back to 100% stock.
The new owner of this Corvette will also receive the original, numbers matching 327 engine, and the correct, original hood for the car, painted to match.
Yes, count me among the group that appreciates a correctly restored Corvette, flaws and all. But that wasnt 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 cant argue with the quality of the work that went into this car, and with $200,000+ worth of blood, sweat, and tears, Im not surprised. It has recently appraised for $185,000, but you couldnt duplicate it for what were asking today. Fully sorted and ready to rumble, this is one Corvette where Im happy to say that its better than new in every single way. Call today!
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What Customers Are Saying
After hearing good things about the people at RK Motors, I contacted them regarding consignment of my street rod. I found Tony Klein to be a pleasure to work with. He was very professional and forthcoming in our communications. He evaluated my vehicle and made suggestions of enhancements which would help ensure the desired result would be achieved in the marketing of the vehicle. We agreed on an acceptable sale price. Following the completion of the recommended items, I brought the vehicle to RK for consignment. After a thorough inspection and correction of some minor issues at what I considered a fair price, the vehicle was offered for sale. It sold quickly with me receiving the agreed value. I would have to repeat the recommendation that I received. RK Motors does what they say they will do, and obtains for the seller a fair and agreed value. What more could you ask for?Doug C.