1966 Chevrolet Corvette - Marathon Man

This Modified Midyear Proves That Aging Gracefully Is For Suckers

Kevin Shaw May 10, 2007 0 Comment(s)
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The four-bolt main block was bored .040 over, clearanced for an Eagle cast steel crank with Eagle 6-inch "H" beam rods with 3 3/4-inch stroke, fitted with ARP bolts, Keith Black 9.8:1 compression pistons, a steep Comp Cams roller camshaft, and topped with a pair of aluminum RHS cylinder heads. Crane Gold roller rockers presses the RHS triple springs, while the heads are fed via a polished Weiand Stealth dual-plane intake and a Holley 670 Street Avenger carburetor. Healthy 131/44-inch Hooker headers plumb the gases through a set of Flowmaster mufflers and through 211/42-inch pipes. Ditching the factory Muncie, a state-of-the-art Tremec TKO500 five-speed (with overdrive) gearbox was purchased from Keisler Engineering and mated to a Hayes aluminum flywheel and Zoom 11-inch clutch.

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Power: This once mouse motor isn't so timid anymore with 385 ci of stroker motor growling under the hood. "Stump" at Rebel Rebuilders bored the small-block .040-over, and opened it up to take a 3 3/4-inch stroke. Keith Black pistons, RHS heads, a polished Weiand Stealth dual-plane intake, and a Holley 670 Street Avenger carburetor make up the winning combination that gets this long hauler where it needs to go.

Getting the Corvette to go was the easy part, but modernizing the Sting Ray's overall drivability turned out to be a bit more challenging. A Street and Slalom Suspension package from Vette Brakes was the first of many key improvements that drastically enhanced the roadster's on-road characteristics. Force 10 SSBC disc brakes were mated to the new suspension with powdercoated red calipers and Power Slot rotors. The pumpkin was cracked open and filled with a GM 3.70 posi-traction, while Torq-Thrust II polished aluminum rims were wrapped in Hancock Ventus HR II rubber. Bilstein shocks and coilsprings up front are manhandled by a 1.125-inch chromed sway bar, as Bilstein shocks mated to a composite monospring with poly-adjustable struts keep the rear wheels planted.

Inside the cabin, Dan installed a Vintage Air cold-air system underneath the otherwise stock dash. The buckets have been recovered in black vinyl by Acey's Top Shop and a JVC CD player and a quartet of new speakers fight to resonate over the rumble of the stroked mouse motor.

But it would be the unique paint scheme that would ultimately convert Dan's '66 from trick to wild. Wheeled into the booth at Reflections Paint & Body Shop in Cabot, Arkansas, the fiberglass body was thoroughly massaged and straightened before the inaugural layer of paint was sprayed over the sealing primer. Beginning with a couple passes of reflective gold as a base, multiple layers of candy apple red were then hazed over the bodylines.

Once cured and sealed, the vibrant red roadster radiated under the midday sun. It would be this hue that would give the Corvette the moniker "Rose." Dan had both window wings etched with a long-stem rose. Included in the striking repaint of the Corvette was a small tote trailer that Dan drags behind the '66 to allow more luggage and supplies than the midyear's limited storage space offered (read: none).

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Completed, though perpetually in a state of flux-as is characteristic of all home-wrencher's cars-the Corvette has taken home enough accolades and trophies to congest the shelf space of Dan's living room.

In addtion to serving as the president of the Central Arkansas Corvette Club (CACC), which hosts its own Corvette and Chevrolet shows and cruises, Dan has also taken home wins from local and state shows, the Hot Rod Power Tour, Cruise the Coast, shows in Texas, Missouri, Louisiana, and the national Super Chevy shows. The sum of these travels is an odometer reading 69,800-plus miles that covers several trips across an array of states and borders and a collage of event stickers to decorate his candy apple trailer.

Dan says if Chevrolet didn't want enthusiasts to enjoy their classic Corvettes, they wouldn't have made them so much fun to drive.

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