The 33-year-old Chevrolet had received a new white top in 1996,complementing the re-upholstered and newly carpeted interior. anaftermarket in-dash AM/FM cassette player had been installed, and thefactory hardtop lid in the back of the owner's garage was included inthe purchase price. The taillamp bezels showed some slight pitting asdid the paint in select areas, but as Al put it, "cars are meant to bedriven, and Corvettes were built to be enjoyed." The remaining brightwork and chrome, along with the removable roof, were loaded up on thetrailer.
ROLLERS: While on display,...
ROLLERS: While on display, the '61 rolls on restored rims and hubs withthrow-back bias-ply rubber. But on the road, Al swaps out the rollinggear for vintage Cragars and updated Michelin skins.
Dismayed with the paltry power output of the 350, Al began looking forother motivation for his roadster. Staying with the modified theme, hepulled the mouse motor and lowered in a LT1 pilfered from a '94 coupe.Surprisingly, the installation was nearly seamless--only the thread sizefor the temperature sending unit needed changed. Due to the drasticpower gain, he felt obliged to build up the remaining powertrain, andhave the four-speed rebuilt and rowed by a stout Hurst shifter, whichprovided a more positive actuation of the gears. The rear axle receiveda slightly steeper 3.70 gear ratio for the posi, and the rolling gearalternates between Cragars with modern Michelins while cruising and thefactory rims with throw-back bias-plies for the more sedate car shows.
But have no fear you numbers-crunching Vette-o-philes, Al's got adate-coded 283 fully assembled and ready to be dropped in if he everchooses to return the roadster back to its once factory-originalcondition, but until that time, this little red Corvette will happilypass you by with its modern plant thumping underneath the factory skin.Consider yourself warned.