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)

When I consider this generation of Corvette, my initial impressions are...

Jim Strathearn: I first think of big-blocks. Who in their right mind wouldn't prefer a big-block mid-year?

Donnie Hyson: All Corvettes are unique in their own way and I'd like any of them in my garage, second or third generation. Every generation is special from 1953 through 2004.

Will my next Corvette be more like this car or my own?

Jim Strathearn: If I could purchase whatever I wanted right now, it would probably be a '69 427 with side pipes, so I guess my next one will be more like mine. However, if I could have three more, I'd choose a '63 Z06 and a '67 427 coupe to go with the '69.

Donnie Hyson: If I were to buy another Corvette, it would be a white '63, simply because then I'd have a red '63, a white '63, and a blue '63. Patriotic, don't you think? The American way!

If you were to drive this car a long distance, what necessities would you take?

Jim Strathearn: I'd have to bring Donnie along, because he would never leave me alone with his car. Plus, he's a great mechanic and if I broke anything, he'd be right on it.

Donnie Hyson: It would be necessary to take Jim along on a long-distance trip because he's the owner/driver; I'm only his mechanic!

From past comments you made to friends and family about this "other" generation of Corvettes, have you changed your opinion based on this Corvette swap?

Jim Strathearn: I've always wanted a big-block mid-year, so I've never had anything but good things to say about that generation. Economics being what they are, I believe we ended up with a great alternative, and my car came with a big-block hood.

Donnie Hyson: My friend Jim and his '71 Corvette are great and his car is a classic. My '63 is great and is a classic, also. We've got the Corvette Fever! All Corvettes are great in all seasons and I'd trade spaces with any, mainly because they're fun! They are America's legendary sports cars.


Under the hood, the 327ci/300hp RPO L75 engine remains the powerplant ofchoice. With 10.5:1 compression and a four-speed, this '63 is a blast todrive regardless of its stock configuration.

The interior was part of the recent body-on restoration to freshen upthe hides and make the split-window a joy to drive.

The base 350 for 1971 was the 270-horse. With the coming requirement ofunleaded fuel, the low-compression 350 could accept the 91-octane fuelrequirement of the day.

Only three exterior colors could gain you the Red interior option:Classic White, Nevada Silver, or Mille Miglia Red.


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