Dick and Brenda Brazzell can...
Dick and Brenda Brazzell can improve any road by cruising their Vette Rodded '60 on it.
Of all the paint colors that General Motors (and in particular, Chevrolet) offered across their '60 passenger-car lineup, Cinnamon wasn't one of the eight factory choices on the Corvette. But don't let that keep you from enjoying this Vette Rod. And don't let the C4 chassis on an SRIII round-tube frame stop you either, though the '95 Vette discs at each corner have much more stopping power than any factory '60 Vette brake system offered.
The condition that this '60 was in when Dick Brazzell found it back in 1998 wouldn't let anyone enjoy it. In a word, it was rough. "Ironically, it was 200 feet from my house, in my neighbor's garage, and I didn't know it," says Dick from his Arvada, Colorado, home. "He'd had it in there for like 12 years or something."
The years had not been kind to this C1, as the "before" photo of it with Dick attests. After he bought it and hauled it home, a detailed look showed him that the original frame was too far gone to even consider restoring. Something different was in order-namely, Vette Rodding. "The only reason I did it that way is because the car was so rough that I didn't want to go back to original," says Dick.
The process started by looking into what aftermarket frames or rolling chassis would fit the first-generation Corvette body (which, despite its looks, was intact and complete). Dick chose the round-tube SRIII frame to replace the stock one, and to be the foundation of his project. "I'd done quite a bit of research on the chassis and frames that were available, and I liked the way that you could bolt just about everything on the SRIII," recalls Dick.
With the new frame chosen, all that was needed was a source for parts to bolt on the new frame. Enter a wrecked '95 C4. "I took off the transmission, rear end, engine, and the computer of course, but none of the interior stuff," Dick says about the donor car that yielded the C4 suspension hardware and four-wheel disc brakes.
That engine was a 300hp LT1 second-generation small-block V-8, teamed with an electronically-controlled 4L60E overdrive automatic. Dick added some S&S "shorty" headers and did a little "dressing up" to the LT1, but otherwise it's a stock engine-which packs plenty more power than the range of 283s that was offered in the Corvette for 1960, which topped out at 290 hp. (That's not counting the 315hp aluminum head fuelie, which was cancelled very early in the '60 model run when problems casting its high-silicone aluminum alloy heads cropped up.)
As mentioned above, it was a matter of unbolt-and-bolt to transplant the '95 hardware onto the SRIII frame. Actually, there was more to it than that, as Dick says. "It was a matter of taking the donor car apart, putting it all back together on the other one, then taking it all back apart for powdercoating and painting."
Original '60 Corvette emblems...
Original '60 Corvette emblems grace the front and rear of Dick Brazzell's Vette Rod.
Once the body was made ready (by Dick and Alan Bonk at Paintmasters in Arvada, Colorado), on went a color that should have been a factory choice in 1960. "It's made by DuPont, and it's called Cinnamon," Dick says of the body's main color, selected from the Hot Hues line of basecoat/clearcoat custom paints. The coves are Toyota "Gold Dust," also sprayed on in basecoat/clearcoat form by Alan Bonk at Paintmasters.
Inside, Dick kept the stock dash and seat frames, but little else. Inside the gauge pods is a complete Dakota Digital gauge set, and there's also a pair of Dakota Digital gauges (compass and outdoor temperature) in the center dash stack. They're located right under the Custom Autosound AM/FM/CD player's head unit and the controls for the Vintage Air HVAC system, which are next to the polished ididit steering column and leather-wrapped LeCarra steering wheel. Dick chose Ed Baines Interiors in nearby Littleton to do the seats, dashpad, and door panels, which were done in "burnt cinnamon" leather.
In all, the project took nearly four years to turn the garage-found basket case seen in the "before" picture to the eye-grabber seen in the other photos. "It gets lots more looks than a '95 Corvette would," Dick says with a smile. What's it like to drive? Need we ask? "It's great," Dick says. "It's like a '95 Corvette with a '60 body."
If you're considering a vintage Vette project of your own, Dick has this suggestion: "If somebody has an original one, I'd suggest they keep it original. But if they're looking for a car that they really want to modify, find one that's pretty beat up." Beat up, yes. But one that can be spiced up in much the same way that Dick built his Vette Rodded '60.
At each corner, '95 Corvette...
At each corner, '95 Corvette disc brakes are fronted by billet Boze "Fusion" wheels on wide-tread Nitto tires.
Since their '60 was completed,...
Since their '60 was completed, Dick and Brenda Brazzell have taken in lots of Denver-area shows and cruise nights, usually coming home with a trophy or two.
Here's what Dick started with:...
Here's what Dick started with: a rough '60 with an intact body, but a frame that was too far gone to restore.