A Georgia man has created what he calls “the Michelangelo of rolling art.”
And who’s to argue with that bold assessment?
John, who lives in the north Atlanta suburb of Roswell, says after seeing the original Mako Shark Corvette in magazines in his younger days, it became “something of a lifetime quest” to build his own one day.
“My wife always knows when I’m on a country road, my head’s on a swivel, always looking for that barn find,” John tells the Ridiculous Rides channel on YouTube.
One day, that search paid off when John spotted what looked like an old Mako Shark sitting in a field.
The decrepit car had no rear end and no front clip, he recalls, “and I went back and looked and sure enough it was an original ’70s Mako Shark.”
The kit car had been sitting there for probably 15 years, and while the front end was wrecked, the rear end was in solid condition. John searched and found a 1973 Corvette SCCA race car as a donor vehicle to help make his dream a reality, but not until some 1,700 hours of labor had been expended!
“Since we were starting with a ground-up restoration, I wanted to stay true to the original Mako,” John explains. “There’s not a component on that car that hasn’t been replaced. We reproduced a lot of the brackets by having a water jet cut,” using aluminum instead of steel.
A really cool feature is the Mako Shark emblems on the fenders that he reproduced, too. He also eliminated the battery tray behind the seats so you can actually look through a Plexiglass sheet and look all the way down to the pavement.
John did make some concessions to the mechanical progress made over the past 50 years, switching over to modern braking, air conditioning, electric fuel pump, and upgraded steering. Because he likes the early ’80s seats, he used them instead of period-correct ones.
“I want to build a car because I want to know what’s in it,” John says. “I want to handpick the components, and I want to make sure that when this car is finished, I know every piece of the car.”
He points to the hood vents, for example, that actually function, and the gas filler that’s been moved from the center of the car to the left side of the rear deck “to pay homage to the original ’64.”
Naturally, driving on the roads of Georgia, John draws quite a crowd with his Mako Shark, “just for the simple fact that it is so unique.”
A lot of people even ask him if they can touch it – “it’s like a unicorn,” he says with a smile.
He’s happy that people are interested in his “Mako-over” of this Corvette, saying “restoring cars has been something that to me has always been more like an art form” and it’s “one of the things that I hope to pass on to the next generation” that cars are fun and they are family.
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