The saga of Sonny and Debbie Freeman’s 1 of 4,293 Sting Ray Corvettes produced in 1967 in Goodwood Green began as an honest to goodness barn find. The original owner enjoyed the 1967 Corvette for a decade and then parked it with the intention of restoring it someday. The decades-long restoration plans changed to selling when he learned of the 1967’s as-is value.
Sonny struck the deal by phone and traveled from Lafayette, Louisiana, via truck and trailer to rural Hesston, Pennsylvania, where he hauled the long-mothballed Corvette home. Not that it would have mattered for the plans Sonny intended, but the 1967 was in relatively unmolested original condition if one overlooked its flared wheelwells and hopped-up 327 under a 427 hood. Ultimately, only the body with a few original bits and pieces were reused to complete the car.
Build direction is always the first consideration when undertaking a new project. There are three distinctly different schools of thought when it comes to appreciating vintage Corvettes, it’s just a matter of personal preference which to pursue. There’s the “has to be as factory correct as possible” crowd where even the type of original equipment hose clamps or how oversprayed the engine was painted have to jibe with factory methods as it was done on a certain day in time. Next, there’s the restomod devotees where an old Corvette appears almost exactly the same as when it rolled off the assembly line except it now has the latest style in custom wheels and tires mounted, plus a whole lot more going on performance wise that’s not easily detected.
Sonny’s 1967 Corvette Sting Ray convertible fits into the third category, known as street rodder style. Beyond how a car is customized to obtain a certain look, street rodder style brings a zero flaw philosophy that finishes with over the top results. The sky is the limit when it comes to the budget for building a Corvette street rodder style. No area is left untouched without dedicating a tremendous amount of attention to detail and adding unique design flair.
The first shop Sonny commissioned to build the 1967 was a shop he trusted his C1 Corvette to, but this time around things were moving at a glacial pace. Discontent, Sonny consulted four other name builders and chose to move the project to Mike Goldman Customs in Meridian, Mississippi. Sonny brought along a concept rendering by Eric Brockmeyer to Mike and the two hashed out the direction of the build following its guidelines.
Starting with the chassis, the stock 1967 Corvette frame was thrown out in favor of putting a Roadster Shop Fast Track chassis in place. Engineered to fit 1963-’67 Corvette Sting Rays, the Roadster Shop Fast Track starts out as a fully hand-fabricated 10-gauge structure with the option of selecting different widths to accommodate various wheel sizes. Goldman made minor modifications to rear of the Fast Track frame and brought the front framerails closer together in front to tighten up the turning radius. In front, Roadster Shop upper and lower control arms and sway bars were left as supplied with AFCO shocks fitted to all four corners. All Roadster Shop C2 chassis utilize C6 Z06 front spindles. For rear suspension there’s a Roadster Shop IRS with a Strange 4.11 Posi rearend. Wilwood six-piston calipers and 14-inch rotors are fitted to all four corners. Power steering with a quick-ratio box by Detroit Speed was installed to keep the car nimble. The wheels and tires are Forgeline MS3C Concaves, 18x7.5 front and 19x10 rear, mounted on Continentals, 225/40R18 up front and 275/35R19 in the rear.
Instead of the bright-red and black colors depicted in Brockmeyer’s rendering Goldman advised Sonny there were several high-end Sting Rays being built in red so a different color scheme was agreed. In spite of hearing a rumor white cars never make it to the cover of a magazine, the decision was to put the ’67 into white. Before the ’67 was rolled into Goldman’s spray booth to receive a super-slick coating of 2015 Corvette Arctic White Axalta Chroma Premier a series of subtle body modifications were made, including a 2-inch channel to drop the body even with the bottom of the framerails. Then beneath the grille and tucked bumpers the front roll pan was capped with a chin spoiler and extended into a full bellypan, reaching the rear roll pan. The hatch where the soft top is normally stored was indented with a waterfall and shaped to form a cove conforming to the seatbacks.
Every large or small piece of interior and exterior brightwork—whether it was the chrome front and rear bumpers, billet steering wheel, stainless steel windshield wiper arms or gauge bezels—was refinished in brushed nickel plated by Steve and his crew at Advanced Plating in Memphis, Tennessee. The Corinthian rust-hued leather interior designed, shaped and stitched by Paul Atkins Interiors of Hanceville, Alabama, features a complement of custom one-off gauges by Classic Instruments of Boyne City, Michigan. Ice-cold air conditioning comes from Vintage Air complete with Vintage Air’s Front Runner serpentine pulley system.
Goldman Customs retained the 427 hood Sonny inherited with the ’67 and heightened it to accommodate the eight velocity stacks poking up from the Hilborn injection. Beneath the fuel injection lies the 750hp 427-inch LS7 Mast Motorsports heart of Sonny’s Corvette. From Nacogdoches, Texas, Mast Motorsports is famous for extracting big horsepower with reliability from LS engines. Gear changes are handled with a McLeod Racing clutched Tremec T-56 Magnum six-speed transmission.
We spoke with Sonny a few times during the course of writing this feature and he had nothing but good things to say about his experience with Mike, Sherry and Talbert at Goldman Customs regarding every phase of the build, and ditto for Advanced Plating and Paul Atkins Interiors.