Taking things slow isn't Dennis Manire's style. It isn't an unshakable dissatisfaction with contentment, but rather an insatiable lust for bigger, better, and faster. Dennis and his wife, Cindy, of Titusville, Florida, have owned seven '63-'67 Stingrays in their life, starting with Dennis' first-a '65 Glen Green roadster with a black top and interior, sporting a 327 small-block. But, memories of their first Corvette purchased the year of their marriage inspired Dennis to return this '67 roadster to the matching paint scheme of their previous drop top, resulting in this gorgeous Marina Blue convertible with a white top and interior.
But don't be fooled-this Stingray is far more than just another waxen trailer queen. With 502 cubic inches fueled by a customized Ram Jet fuel-injection system and a personalized cowl-induction hood, this beast in beauty's clothing is a force to be reckoned with.
By the time Cindy and Dennis were ready to be married, Dennis had owned three second-generation Corvettes: his first, the green '65; a Marina Blue '67 that would later be the inspiration for this current Corvette; and another '67 roadster wielding the notorious 427/435-horse big-block. Dennis was about to become a family man, so he traded in the big-block Stingray for a '68 Camaro. To this day, he pines for the lost roadster, regretting the decision like someone who sold his McDonald's stock in the '50s. When their first child was born, Dennis decided to sell the remaining coupe, not realizing the future payoff an original '67 would render.
In 1981, a golfing buddy alerted Dennis of a worn and weary '67 drop top that sat dormant in a garage, and he jumped in headfirst. The Corvette was brought back to life, and Dennis and Cindy drove it on a near daily basis. The small-block has racked up an outstanding 400,000 miles in the 20-plus years they've owned it. During that time, the Corvette was taken to Dennis Rosenthal, where a meticulous resto-modification process was conceived. Enthralled with nostalgia and the history of the ragtop but not the lackluster performance, Dennis opted to have four-wheel modern disc brakes installed, along with power steering, brakes, and other accessories. Meanwhile, the original engine was cleaned and bagged while a monster waited in the shadows.
A beastly 502 crate engine was ordered for the Stingray while Dennis Rosenthal designed and built a one-off, unique cowl induction hood that incorporated the stock '67 air intake look, but was taller to allow greater clearance and consumption. With the 502 between the fenders, Mr. Rosenthal began work on a one-of-none ram-induction fuel-injection intake and a cold-air snorkel setup. The final result was a 525hp, 567-lb-ft of torque street machine capable of evaporating the rubber of the 15-inch Rally wheels. An M21 four-speed was rebuilt to handle the giant powerplant up front with a Hurst stick guiding the gear changes. Super-streetable 3.08 gears out back with a Limited Slip Posi try their best to keep traction under wraps against such exorbitant power numbers.
The Stingray was repainted to match the Marina Blue paint scheme with a period-correct white stripe running down the hood and all the way underneath it. It's a small detail that many don't catch, but to Dennis and Cindy, it's an added bonus to a gorgeous restoration job. Since its rebirth, the car has taken several trophies and accolades, ranging from the American Automotive Heritage Foundation, the National Corvette Museum, the Route 66 Corvette Show, and Corvettes at Carlisle.
Stock might be nostalgic and considerably more valuable, but to Dennis and Cindy, it's just boring.