It requires quite a bit of fortitude to take on the challenges presented in altering one of the most iconic shapes ever to roll out of Detroit. Coveted by their owners as well as the legions of fans that span the globe, the Corvette’s balance of design, performance and engineering makes it one of the most revered sports cars to stand the test of time. If you plan on changing it you’d better do your homework to be sure the final presentation pays proper homage to the marque.
For Jason Flis of Nokesville, Virginia, a lifelong fascination with Corvettes has always played a significant role in his life. Growing up in nearby Fairfax, he spent plenty of late nights watching street racing along with his friends as well as weekends standing pie-eyed at the drags. There’s nothing quite like seeing your heroes pilot their nitro-fueled hop-ups from the lights down the quarter-mile in a haze of tire smoke. Somehow it was always the Corvettes that he paid specific attention to, analyzing what particular modifications the owners made to squeeze even more performance out of what he considered the ultimate factory hot rod.
As the years passed, he followed a trail of high-performance cars built in his family garage while also racing Winston series Late Model stock cars for close to a decade at Old Dominion Speedway. His capabilities as a car designer and builder evolved with each completed project showcasing his unique craft till he eventually opened both All American Street Rods (AASR) and JF Kustoms located in Manassas. Even though he had taken on an endless stream of builds for himself and his clients, he had always thought about infusing ideas to inject his particular style into a C1 Corvette. All the while he knew changing anything to alter the legendary looks would have to be treated with great respect to the original designers.
Before moving forward on the build, Jason translated all of his creative ideas onto paper to outline the design flow of morphing a heavily modified 1957 Corvette front clip with that of a 1962 body from the firewall back, ending with a custom, extended tail section. Undertaking the radical transformation would take thousands of hours due to all of the custom fabrication, one-off parts and attention to detail needed. Ready to take on the challenge, he then began the quest for a suitable donor car to get started with. After quite a bit of searching he was able to source a 1962 C1 roller locally that was missing its original driveline and many of its factory-minted parts making it a perfect candidate for the transformation. Once back at the shop the car was dismantled with the remaining unnecessary parts being sold off, including the original chassis and nose section.
In order to create a unique platform that would act as a base for the build to rise from, Jason contacted David Ancel of Ohio to incorporate a number of design elements capable of supporting all of the changes he anticipated to the body structure. A decision was made to craft the frame from 2-inch chromoly tube for plenty of strength. This allowed him to incorporate custom crossmembers and body and driveline mounts while also achieving a flowing wheelbase extension of 2 inches ahead of the firewall. The spine was then treated to plenty of extra attention with all of its welds smoothed and molded to perfection.
To transfer the power to the street, a Chris Alston’s Chassisworks FAB9 rear was narrowed 11 inches and packed with a Strange Engineering nodular iron centersection spinning 35-spline axles through 3.89:1 gears. It’s suspended in place by a Chassisworks chrome four-link with a deftly matched sway bar to Strange Engineering aluminum double-adjustable coilover shocks with QA1 springs. For superior handling up front Strange Engineering forged aluminum struts with their exclusive stainless steel spindles were matched to QA1 springs and TCI Engineering chrome lower control arms with steering moving through a manual rack-and-pinion. If you’re going to be running a healthy dose of power, you’d better have rock-solid brakes to slow it all down. A Strange Engineering dual master pushes fluid through polished stainless lines to 14-inch drilled and slotted discs with polished four-piston calipers from Aerospace Components up front and 11 3/4-inch drilled and slotted discs out back wearing polished four-piston calipers from Wilwood. Anchoring it all to the street are 18x7 front and 20x10 rear Billet Specialties SLG45 series wheels wearing BFGoodrich g-Force T/As sized 225/40ZR18 and 295/45R20, respectively.
Wanting to add plenty of modern horsepower and technology to give the car newfound performance, Jason went direct to Chevrolet Performance to review their engine offerings. He selected their high-performance LSX454 V-8 rated at 627 hp at 6,300 rpm straight out of the crate. The engine comes packed with a speed shop full of go-fast goods, starting with an LSX cast-iron block with six-bolt, cross bolted main caps filled with a stout 4340 forged steel crank linked to matching 4340 forged steel rods topped with forged aluminum pistons. A hydraulic roller cam sets a heavy beat while a set of aluminum LSX-LS7 heads with “as-cast” 70cc chambers generate an 11.0:1 compression ratio. Up top, Jason added an LS7 production intake manifold assembly from Chevrolet Performance that came fully assembled, including all injectors, fuel rails and 90mm ETC throttle body. Spent gasses move through stainless headers from Ultimate Headers to a custom 3-inch stainless exhaust with Borla mufflers and C7 exhaust tips. Added details include a custom-fabricated engine cover by AASR as well as a serpentine front runner system and air cleaner assembly from Street & Performance, accented by plenty of polish and plating. The goods move rearward through a Chevrolet Performance SuperMatic 4L80E four-speed automatic to a custom driveshaft.
When it came time to bring his vision to life, Jason worked alongside the very talented team at his shop, including Pat Rowan, Charlie Sargent, Billy Rollins and Jimmy Rollins, investing thousands of hours to complete the transformation of over 30 major body modifications as well as molding the entire underside of the car to the chassis. Looking at all of the detailed updates is best to start at the front and work our way back to properly follow the flow of design elements. To get started, the 1957 front clip was molded to the body and gracefully stretched 2 inches along with the hood being extended 1-inch and the front wheel openings being moved forward and radiused to the exact tire size. The nose was then treated to a custom grille opening that was widened and complemented by a hand-fabricated grille along with one-off molded front bumpers and frenched Jeep Liberty headlights. Underneath the remote control operated hood, the engine bay received custom-molded inner wheelwells along with a smoothed and molded firewall accented outside by handmade stainless trim outlining the body side coves, shaved door handles and rearview mirror.
The body was then channeled 2 inches and treated to a custom sheetmetal floor, which was raised by 2 inches. The team continued on by lowering the rockers 2 inches, molding the doorjambs and door hinge pockets to the body, shaving the sill plates and adding remote door openers. To give the roof line a subtle flow, the rear of the roof was lowered 1 inch while also being molded to the body with the unique element of still being removable. In order for the rear body lines to stay balanced, the rear quarters were then sectioned and lowered by 2 inches along with the rear wheel openings being stretched by 1 inch while 12-inch inner wheeltubs were fabricated and molded in to allow access for the extra-wide rubber. The rear body line was then extended to continue into the rear spoiler, which was molded and accented by a 3-inch lengthened decklid worked into the spoiler. To wrap it up a remolded tail pan features a custom license plate housing as well as custom exhaust cutouts, flush-fit custom bumpers and Chevy HHR taillights. Final details include a remote control trunk lid and relocated gas door and filler. With all of the modifications complete the body was massaged to perfection with all of the gaps being made razor sharp. To add just the right amount of dazzle Jason mixed up custom silver/green pearl PPG blend tagged Color of Money and had team member Jimmy Rollins lay down the mile-deep vibe.
To have the business office reflect the rest of the build, Jason started with a fresh sheet of paper to lay out the dynamics. The team crafted a custom sheetmetal dash with its ends wrapped into the door tops along with a unique center console and chromoly rollbar. To monitor all of the vitals a set of dials from Dakota Digital keeps the driver in the know while steering moves through a Billet Specialties steering wheel mounted to an ididit tilt column and shifts fly through a pushbutton, console-mounted unit combined with paddle shifters by Powertrain Control Solutions (PCS) for lightning-fast getaways. Cool breezes from Vintage Air keep the cabin perfect while cruising on those hot days. For the ultimate in comfort, Joe’s Superior Interiors of Clinton, Maryland, reworked a pair of Camaro buckets and wrapped them in saddle-toned Ultraleather in a classic-themed pattern accented by matching door, kick panels and floors with plenty of attention paid to the finer details. Seeing the completed car in person is breathtaking, proving that it has a special allure that will carry it well into the future.