This 1965 Corvette Convertible was bought on Ebay, imported and landed in June 2011. On arrival it was in a considerably worse condition than what it looked like on the internet. Generally everything was there….but in such bad state of decay, that just about every part had to be replaced and new pieces imported or sourced locally to complete this task. The body itself was cracked in over 12 different places and was made up of at least 4 different donor Corvettes and joined together with a layer of fiberglass. It was deceptively sprayed with a Matt black to mask the imperfections. The dash was broken in 5 pieces.The chassis was rusted quite badly (can be seen on pics). Both headlight mechanisms were broken and unusable.The side door panels were also in a terrible state. Even the doors had bullet holes in them. Every piece of glass was either cracked or broken.The only good items were the front and rear bumpers.
It was completely stripped and categorised. The chassis was sand blasted by Marius Raaths, primered and stored. The complete body was sanded down, by hand, to raw fibre and built up again layer by layer to the correct shape. This was a very arduous, difficult and timeous task was done by Bern van Gass.
We decided to fit a 1967 Hood (it looks more imposing) instead of the 1965 one, as we were not building a numbers matching car, but a resto-build with modern components and up to date suspension.
A new Jim Meyer full racing suspension kit was imported from JMR Oregon in the States. It consisted of new upper and lower A-arms with the correct angle to eliminate the dreaded bump steer on early Vettes. The kit also included 4 new QA1 shocks, 2 stabilizer bars and new bushes throughout. It included Wilwood calipers and new discs all round.
Essential Vansteel (2 inch) offset trailing arms used in the rear suspension to allow our wider American Racing Torque Trust II wheels to fit snugly in the wells. A turnbuckle type modification had to be made on the links to eliminate negative camber. The diff was redone by Brian from Primrose and is sprayed silver.
The LS1 engine was sent to Dave Corbett, who fitted a new 90mm Holley throttle body, new coil packs and the LS front located sump to a new Holley rear one. Dave had to also change the oil pickup from front to back. This is a prerequisite to clear the new rack & pinion. The motor and 4L60E gearbox was sprayed silver. The speedo cluster was sent to Pierre from Speedo Services for refurbing. Barry van Niekerk built the custom radiator, aluminum power steering bottle and snorkel for the MAF sensor and air filter. A Mercedes Benz oil cooler is fitted behind the front valance. A Speedway electrically boosted master cylinder was also imported and used.
The chassis and complete body (top & underneath) is sprayed Corvette Torch Red.
The aluminum lower rocker panels were colour matched to give the side view of this classic car a modern twist. Not all the badges and emblems were used, as leaving some off, give this Corvette a slicker look. The outer door locks were purposely closed up as well. A new white convertible roof was bought from Anton de Lange and was fitted by Doors Bezuidenhout who also did the upholstery. Dynamat was prelaid. The original seats were reupholstered in black leather and some of the chrome trim and components in the cab are resprayed black to give a contemporary feel . The exhaust system was built by TNT and is heat wrapped. The wiring was done by Clint and Wesley Mann.
Bern has made a slick center storage box, between the seats, under our armrest for keys etc. He fabricated many extra parts and covers out of fiberglass including the fuel rail covers, all of which are sprayed red. The rear bumpers were tucked in to give the Vette a tighter rear end.
This Classic Corvette looks stock from the outside but has renewed LS muscle under the hood as well as handling like a race car, and is thrill to drive !!!