I purchased the car in the US in 2004 and shipped it back to Perth. I then trucked it up to Newman where I lived at the time.
I initially started to do a body on rebuild but soon realised it would be better to do a full frame off rebuild.
I started by sending the chassis down to Perth and getting it sandblasted and then powder coated. When it returned I sat it on axle stands and fitted a VB&P monoleaf front suspension and Steeroids rack and pinion steering. I rebuilt the differential and fitted Van Steel double offset trailing arms and a shortened VB&P fibreglass rear spring.
I initially rebuilt the original brake calipers but decided to fit Wilwood D8 calipers instead.The master cylinder is also Wilwood. I then fitted all new stainless steel brake lines and hoses.
I had the original matching numbers 350 and Muncie gearbox Fully rebuilt. This engine I only ever ran it long enough to run the flat tappet cam and lifters in. This engine is currently in storage.
I then built a 383 to use in the car.
I decided early on to go with a modern EFI system. I purchased a Fast XFI ecu and had Hogans Racing Manifolds in the US fabricate a custom efi intake manifold. We settled on a runner length that would give a good midrange torque and also fit under the hood.
The fuel system is all Aeromotive with there in tank fuel pump, regulator and filter. The hoses and fittings are Speedflow 200 series teflon.
Once the chassis was back together I started working on the body. Sometime in its history it had been hit on the right front corner damaging the fender. It had been repaired but not too well. I decided to remove the complete front clip and repair it properly, it also allowed me clean up and paint the firewall.
While in the US on holidays I planned on buying a new right front fender to repair the front clip however I ended up buying a complete ACI one piece front clip and had that shipped back to Australia.
The rear clip was stripped back to bare fibreglass and minor repairs made.
When the new front clip arrived the body was put back onto the frame and the front clip aligned and bonded in place.
I then sprayed the complete car in epoxy primer to seal the body.
Once I finished cutting new door gaps and doing all the other body work I then sprayed it in urethane primer and let this sit for several months.
Later I guide coated and block sanded the car before having it sprayed with the base colour and clear coat. The colour I chose was Electron Blue which is a GM North American factory colour.
On another trip to the US I purchased a complete new interior. This consisted of upper and lower dash panels, pillar and header trim panels, door panels, rear quarter trim panels, carpets and new leather seat covers. All the replacement panels where made by Corvette America. When it came time to install these panels I found none of them to fit correctly and didn’t end up using them. The only things I used where the leather seat covers and carpet.
I ended up using my original interior panels but had them re-skinned by The Dashboard Doctor in Victoria.
The forward lighting, engine, under dash and rear lighting harnesses where replaced with new Electric Limited replacements. I made up the EFI electrical harness using a Fast universal kit. This consists of ECU header plugs leading out to unterminated lengths of wire. Most of the EFI wiring I have tried to hide by routing them under the engine.
The bumpers were in good condition so I just had them re-chromed. I wanted to have the front grills re-chromed but because they where diecast aluminium nobody in Australia (at the time) wanted to touch them. I ended up having these chromed at a small shop in Bangkok. They did a great job and still look just as good now 14 years later as they did when done.
For wheels I fitted American Racing torque thrust 2 rims, rear where 18×9.5 with a 5.25” backspace and front 17×8 with 4” backspace. Tyres where Nitto NT555 275 and 245.
In 2012 I brought the car down to Perth for an engineers report and ADR inspection. I then took it back up to the Pilbara and did licensing.
After it was licensed I removed the under car exhaust and fitted Dougs headers and side pipes.
In 2013 I moved down to Perth. I drove it around for about a year and then decided to take it off the road to do more work on it.
I cut the rear quarter panels off and replaced them with Custom Image Corvette 2” flared quarters. I also fitted a trackspec Motorsports Camaro style hood vent. These vents are normally just riveted to the top of the hood. I didn’t like this idea so I counter sunk the vent into the hood and then made up an aluminum trim plate that covers the mounting screws. This trim plate sits flush with the top of the hood.
I then sanded and re-sprayed the whole car.
I sold the 383 engine and had Nyes Racing engines in Muncie Indiana build a 427 small block based on a World aluminium block and Dart Pro1 heads.
I set this up with my existing efi system but also used a Fast XIM ignition module which allowed me to delete the distributor and use coil near plug ignition. To try hide this I mounted the coil packs on the lower foot wells and ran the HT leads under the engine and up to the plugs.
I replaced the Muncie gearbox with a Legend LGT700 five speed gearbox. This has a 34% overdrive which allowed me to change the rear diff gears from 3.36 to 3.90 and still have reasonable low rpm at highway speed.
When I changed the rear gears I also changed the standard half shafts to 3.5” aluminum shafts made by Denny’s Driveshafts in the US.
With the new engine producing less vacuum then the previous 383 it meant the brake vacuum booster wouldn’t work to well. To fix this I fitted a hydroboost setup that takes hydraulic pressure from the power steering pump and uses that for brake assist.
I had American Racing make up new wheels for me. They are there vintage forged series VF483. 18×11 on the rear and 17×9 on the front.
The vacuum operated headlights and wiper door where converted to electric.
I also changed the standard gauges in the center cluster to Autometer gauges and fitted a AEM CD7 digital dash that displays engine data from the ECU via a can bus.
This latest work was completed in 2017.
Towards the end of 2020 I decided to take the car off the road again (hopefully for the last time!!!). There where a few things I was not entirely happy with so figured with this Covid thing happening it would be the perfect time.
One of my main concerns was I could never adjust the left window to close properly. This was because of the excessive amount of shims in the lower door hinge that caused the top of the window to tint in to far. The fix was to cut the front fender and rear quarter away from the A and B pillars and bond them in closer. This allowed me to remove a few shims and bring the window back into its adjustment range.
I also didn’t like the way the T-tops fitted so replaced these with a Dynamic Corvettes one piece roof panel. This uses later model C3 attachment hardware so this was changed.
One other thing that bugged me where the primary tubes on the headers not be straight. It didn’t look to good the way they entered the collector at different angles.
To fix this I cut the primary tubes off from where they run under the car and fabricated new tubes that run parallel with each other and the collector. I also had new merge collectors made in the US that will have a better scavenging effect then the previous ones.
There was also a few minor flaws in the paint that I didn’t like. I figured instead of just spraying more base and clear on top of the existing paint and stacking up the thickness too much it would be better to remove all the existing paint and start again. I removed all the paint back to the initial epoxy/urethane primer I sprayed previously. A fresh coat of urethane primer was sprayed on to the car and left to sit for about five months. Most of this coat was block sanded off before spraying the car again with Electron Blue base and clear coat.
As the car sits at the moment I have colour sanded the clear coat down to 6000 grit and compounded. It still requires final polishing and assembly.
One other thing I am doing is blacking out some of the chrome and stainless. The wiper door trim, windscreen trim, door handles/locks and the trim on top of the doors will be bead blasted to etch them, sprayed with epoxy primer and then sprayed black. The bumpers and grills will remain chrome.
I plan on getting the car back on the road mid 2022.
Andy W – 1969 Frame Off Project
Picked my next project today 1969 with lots of options and has not been molested
The fun begins again
The fun begins
4 hours of stripping with a heat gun and peeling of the paint
No surprises yet
Had a good afternoon, Floody and I looked at how to put on the straps and lift the body off.
Next thing we knew the body was off and sitting on the Dolly.
Already to clean up and get rid of surface rust
Wish I had a sandblaster for the small parts
Frame is back from sandblasting
Now the fun part PAINTING
That job is done
Move onto the next one
I have alot of parts to Sandblast for the 69
Went to Bunnings and bought a $59 Sandblaster
Made up a cardboard booth complete with perspex folding window, LED lighting and an exhaust fan
Makes it easy to get big and small parts inside and recycle the garnet
Going to compete with China, patent pending
Finally after 3 months have a completed rolling chassis.
Every nut bolt cleaned and painted, diff reconditioned, motor rebuilt, trailing arms, power steering, all new suspension bushes and bearings.
Thanks Ron and Greg for your help.
Next on to the body
Now the fun begins sanding down the body ready for painting
When you find rust in the windscreen , who do you call. FLOODY
Another big day in the progress of the 69
Body is back on the frame
Thanks Ron Flood, Greg Walker , John Neskudla , John and Mike.
Big day today dropped off the 69 to get painted
Today is a big day the 69 is getting painted.
First a white base coat and then the Colour (Monaco Orange) finished with clear.
20/9 – Another big milestone in the 69 process.
Pick it up today and safely put out of harm’s way.