Basic Needs: Two Owners Swap Driving Small-Blocks

Jim Strathearn's '71 Corvette and Donnie Hyson's '63 Vette: A pair of small-block iconsa full generation apart.

Jerry Pitt Feb 10, 2004 0 Comment(s)
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Whether you're a Corvette enthusiast through and through or new to the whole game, you have two basic needs. The first is the ability to recognize you don't know everything and the second is having someone around who does.

Donnie Hyson has the ability to be Jim Strathearn's chief know-it-all when it comes to his '71 Corvette. Jim has relied on Donnie's knowledge from the moment it was time to buy the Corvette, right through keeping it in top condition.

For Donnie, knowing a fellow Corvette enthusiast makes the job of running a shop every day a lot more fun. Hear what each has to say about the other's Corvette.

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The Interview

What is the one thing you wish you could add to your Corvette that the other owner's Corvette has and why?

Jim Strathearn commenting on Donnie Hyson's '63: I'd like to have his wheels. The period-specific Cragars really make this car stand out. Oh, yeah--I'd add a nice stereo like his. Donnie and his wife Judy like to ride in style.

Donnie Hyson commenting on Jim Strathearn's '71: What's there to add or change on the '63 Chevrolet Corvette that Zora Duntov engineered and Larry Shinoda designed? What's to add or change on the '71 Chevrolet Corvette that was Chief Stylist Bill Mitchell's vision or Larry Shinoda's design? Top talent, top Corvettes!

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While stock down to the drum brakes, Donnie Hyson's '63 coupe features aset of Cragar GT five-spokes that were sourced from a friend's mortuarywarehouse. The mags are a period-modification that cannot be replicatedtoday.

If you were going to change anything about this car, what would it be?

Jim Strathearn: Donnie just recently did a frame-on partial restoration that included fresh paint and a new interior. There is little that I would change, but if I had to do something, I'd probably blow the carbon out of it for him!

Donnie Hyson: How could one improve on Shinoda and Mitchell?

Driving this Corvette is better than mine when...

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In the span of less than two years, Jim had bought his first Corvetteand his third Corvette, this '71 four-speed 350. The Mille Miglia Redcoupe convinced his wife, Linda, that this was the Corvette to keep.

Jim Strathearn: If I could drive it, it would have to be the fresh restoration, but that's why I haven't driven it, either.

Donnie Hyson: Just driving a Corvette, whether it's the '71 shark (as it is designed after!) or the '63 Sting Ray (as it is designed after!), is what it's all about! A mean-looking shark or a strong Sting Ray, nothing fishy there!

I prefer my car because...

Jim Strathearn: It's red. I also enjoy the fact that I can remove the T-tops and the rear window.

Donnie Hyson: Paid for and I own it--it's in my garage! I'm sure Jim feels the same way about his.

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