Seven hood "spears" were made...
Seven hood "spears" were made for each side of the hood.
Hood Spears :::
Another area we wanted to change was the hood inserts, which, on a '63, are pressed metal "pie-plates." We thought of several options but decided that a "finned"-style hood spear would work well and match other finned components used elsewhere. The spears were designed and cut from billet aluminum by Mark's Machine and then chromed. Seven spears were used for each side of the hood. A template was made so that the recessed areas in the hood could be shaped to fit the spears. 3M side molding tape was used to hold them in place. (See photo 15: hood spears)
The new rocker panels were...
The new rocker panels were made 1 1/2 inches taller than stock to cover the frame side rails and lower the ground clearance.
Rocker Panels :::
Our goal with the rocker panels was two-fold. First, to retain the original '63 rocker styling while making them blend in more and, second, to increase their height to cover the lower profile of the tube-frame chassis. This was another of those "more involved than you would think" aspects. We had two original rocker panels that were in really poor shape. We decided to use the upper molding portion, which was still in good shape, and remove the lower "finned" portion. What we found is that, once the support from the lower area was removed, the remaining upper molding area would bend into the shape of a banana. We had to have the upper moldings annealed while held in a fixture to get them straight again. Once that was done, male and female dies were made to match the profile of the original "finned" areas and aluminum stock was run through a Pullmax to shape them. Then the original upper moldings were bonded to the new lower pieces. The new rockers were polished, and the depressed areas between each "fin" were painted in body color. We also had to make longer rocker mounts to fit the increased height. We started with stock supports to which new sections were welded. Rather than welding them in place, we used machine screws to mount them to the rocker structure. (See photo 16: installed rockers)
Restored rear-window moldings...
Restored rear-window moldings are hard to find if you need them and difficult to restore, but the installation is a lot of fun.
Window Moldings :::
This project started with just a bare body shell, and all the moldings were missing. Since these aren't reproduced (except for the rear-window corners), we searched to find both the exterior as well as the interior moldings. Complete sets are hard to find, and we ended up purchasing several mixed lots to make a complete set. The sources we used were various suppliers, such as Andy Cannizzo from 63's R Us and eBay. We ended up with several extra moldings, but those were easy to sell to other folks looking for them.
The moldings we did find all needed to be restored as they were in need of polishing and either dented or scratched. We covered stainless molding restoration in an earlier issue of Corvette Fever. You can find it on our website under the Tech articles, and a link is on page 10 of our website at: http://www.richsclassiccorvettes.com. (See photo 17: rear-window moldings)
Custom Emblems :::
Austin Barnett of VetteORama made all our custom badges, including the Split Personality emblems and those for the intake manifold, side fenders, and a gas-door insert from billet aluminum. While we gave him a file with the design we wanted for each emblem, he was great to work with in developing design ideas, and his craftsmanship is outstanding. We still are puzzled how he was able to engrave the script and flags on the domed surface of the gas door insert. That had to take some doing. (See photo 18: Split Personality emblem, photo 19: fender emblem, and photo 20: gas-door insert)