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1960 Corvette is All “Go” with Plenty of “Whoa”

The Turquoise Terror: This 1960 Corvette is not what it first appears to be

Wayne Ellwood Aug 9, 2016
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Actually, owner Ron Langlois calls his car Tropical Turquoise, based on the specially mixed color. But after seeing the car perform, I think that “Terror” might be equally valid.

Ron bought this 1960 Corvette in 2004. He had been craving another C1 Corvette. He had already owned four but now it was time for another. It wasn’t until the middle of winter that he received a phone call from a man in Toronto. He had such a car for sale. This particular car had been built on September 11, 1959. The car was red with white coves and a red interior and was number 200 of 544 built with power windows. The car had a little over 100,000 miles on the odometer. It looked good despite some wear.

To double-up on his assessment, however, he also asked Ernie Barrett from Vette Works in Port Perry, Ontario, Canada, to go over the car. Ernie had been signed up to do any restoration work and his experienced eye would be very helpful in assessing the financial implications. They both felt the car was complete but did have a replacement block. This meant that, because of a non-original engine, it could never be restored to a fully NCRS-correct state at any kind of reasonable cost. Ron was good with that. He wanted a driver so he could still do some basic changes but still maintain an NCRS appearance. He began to look for colors. With Ernie’s help, they developed this particular shade of turquoise. It’s based on the Tasco Turquoise from the 1960 model year, but with a bit more green.

1 1960 Chevrolet Corvette Front Side 2/16
10 1960 Chevrolet Corvette Interior 3/16
3 1960 Chevrolet Corvette Rear View 4/16

Over the next 10 years, Ron continued the process of improving the car. He sourced a lot of “correct” Corvette parts from various merchandisers. He paid special attention to those items that would assure a reliable ride. He rebuilt the generator, overhauled the carburetor, replaced hoses, and so on. But the car was a hard drive and it wasn’t especially frugal on gas. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that Ron began to update his vision of what his C1 might be.

Ron was methodical in the next stages of modifying his car. The first step was to select a chassis that would be best suited to his needs. Ron narrowed it down to Corvette Corrections in Seguin, Texas. This shop, owned by Bill Dawson, specialized in C1, C2 and Tri-Five Chevys. He ordered his Stage III kit with C4-style suspension, 2008 Z06 wheels, an LS3 engine putting out 450 hp and a six-speed overdrive automatic transmission. The kit also came with a stainless steel gas tank, fuel pump (installed) and a Dana 44 rearend with 3.08:1 gears. The end result would eventually prove to be worth 26 mpg.

The next step in the process was, of course, the body. The body was removed from the old chassis. The engine compartment was stripped and the firewall smoothed. Filler pieces were designed to visually isolate the engine and give an overall “finished” appearance. The engine bay was painted in the same turquoise to match the exterior. Many of the engine’s trim and filler pieces were also painted to match. The window in the hood (roughly based on the C6 ZR1 item) was provided by Power Portal Products. Installation required the re-work of the supporting structure on the underside of the hood. Finally, ceramic-coated exhaust headers were adapted from a Camaro. Two and a half-inch undercar exhaust complete that part of the package.

5 1960 Chevrolet Corvette Ls3 Engine 5/16
8 1960 Chevrolet Corvette Interior 9/16

At the same time, the interior was removed and the inner surfaces and underside were stripped and painted in “lizard skin”... a coating that deadens noise and helps resist heat infiltration. The whole interior was refurbished by Trim Tech, in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, with a color-correct kit from Al Knoch. The seats received embroidered C1 logos. The interior and trunk were also updated with new carpet, including the hinged spare tire compartment (tub). The C1 logo was again embroidered in the trunk carpeting.

For comfort, a Vintage Air system for A/C and heat was installed. The gauges and other dash components were refurbished by Classic Industries. All running lights were converted to LED units and even the exhaust bezels in the rear bumper were filled with LED brake lights ... sort of an early version of the high-mounted brake lights.

The process took several years. Ron started in 2014 and has only recently completed the work. The car’s first outing was the spring custom car show in Toronto, as part of his local club’s display. Now it’s time to enjoy the car.

Ron plans his first big international trip to the NCRS National Convention in Rhode Island this summer. After that, it’s an open game, with scheduling designed to fit around his plans for a few more touch-ups. The stock radio isn’t really up to the task, so a new system is planned.

9 1960 Chevrolet Corvette Steering Wheel 10/16
14 1960 Chevrolet Corvette Trunk 11/16

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