Sometimes when you look at a Corvette, no matter where you happen to see it, you just know in your heart of hearts it's a trailer queen. When you first look at Randy Leibrock's gorgeous '66 big-block Corvette, you know this car was built to be driven. And it is. All the time. But let's not get in a hurry here. There's a great story behind this bad-boy Corvette and it needs to be told.
It seems as though Randy, of Galloway, Ohio, has owned this Corvette almost all his life; and he almost has, since he bought the car in 1982. He says, "In 1982, I graduated from the IBRW apprenticeship program and decided to treat myself to a graduation present: a new car. I started looking in the local newspaper, found a list of cars that looked appealing, and proceeded to make appointments to see them. The first car I looked at was about two miles from where I grew up, on the west side of Columbus, Ohio. As I inspected it, I first noticed the Corvette was an original Tuxedo Black car. It had only 42,000 original miles and was complete with the exception of a Hurst shifter and two additional gauges attached to the dash. The body was in great shape with good-fitting body gaps, and everything else fit really well.
"The only drawback was, the car had a set of broken fender flares due to the oversize wheels and tires on the car. All the numbers matched with the exception of the 1970 crate engine that had been highly modified. The Corvette also carried an incorrect '67 Corvette big-block hood. As nice as the car was, I knew it had been garaged and never driven in inclement weather."
Randy decided then and there his search was over, threw away the rest of his wish list, and bought the car on the spot for $7,500. He took his time working on it, usually just cleaning and enjoying it. As fate would have it, cleaning the car wasn't enough, and Randy and his brother, Ron, decided to give the Corvette a facelift in 1998. Randy found an original set of rear quarter-panels, and even located a near-mint '65-'66 correct big-block hood at a local swap meet.
After working in the evenings and on weekends, the bodywork was done and the car was ready for paint preparation. When the Corvette's paint was stripped, he found the body in great shape with no signs of having been hit and only two small stress cracks. While they were working on the body, Randy began to contemplate which wheels and tires would look just right on the car. After much consideration, he decided on polished Torq-Thrust wheels, then realized too many Corvettes were using the same wheel.
This Corvette had to be different, so Randy continued the search. At the PRI show in Columbus, he found a set of Centerlines that fit the bill; he would have to wait, though, as they were not yet in production. After the wheels showed up, Randy still wasn't satisfied, so he taped them up, painted them black, and hand-fabricated his own dust covers. Each spoke on the wheels now has a raised area in the center that simulates the same shape as the tops of the fenders. We have to agree, the wheels make this Corvette quite unique.
Randy continues, "With the wheels done and the car painted, it was time to drive. The first trip down the road was great. With my brother on board, we got many thumbs-up and the adrenaline was really flowing. When I returned home, I turned into the driveway and the front tire rubbed the fender and cracked the lip. My brother lost it, thinking about all the time and effort we spent getting the body perfect, and now there was a crack in the fender. After about 10 minutes, I explained to him the Corvette now had its first 'road rash' and we didn't have to worry about messing up the paint anymore. Now it's time to drive it and have fun-and we do!"
Hey Randy, can we tag along next time?