1960 Corvette - Full Circle

A Big Brake Fuelie That's Part Of A Family Tree

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Once a Race, Now a Street Driver: A small-diameter steering wheel and latter-day sound system were just two updates to the '60s interior when it was turned from racer to driver. Note the tach's 6,500-rpm redline.

Following the '66 season, the '60 was parked when Steve got a new Z/28 Camaro to race, and it didn't see a race track again until its last year of competition: 1971. Then, it sat in Steve's garage, waiting to be restored-a wait that took nearly two decades.

In 1989, Steve decided the time was right to restore his '60 Vette and turn it into a streetable driver. He enlisted the only mechanic he'd ever had work on it, Doug Madsen, to do the restoration at Madsen's restoration shop.

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Still a Winner: Repro seat covers by Al Knoch cover the '60's original bucket seats. Note absence of race-related safety gear, save for a pair of lap belts.

One question that had been on Steve's mind for years was finally answered: what color should this car really be? "Steve had a blue race car. He set out to do certain things with it. he did everything he wanted to do with it as a race car, and he was done racing it," says Kim. "Now he wanted to enjoy it as a street car, and he always wanted a red one. He agonized long and hard over it, and he decided to paint the car red."

In its new color scheme, the '60 was a driver and show-goer for Steve, who brought it with him when he moved from the East Coast to Arizona.

Unfortunately, in 2004, he passed away, and about a year later, Kim bought it from his daughter-bringing the car full circle back to its original mechanic's family. It had been parked for quite some time before Kim got it, so he brought it into his Corvette Restoration AZ shop in Tempe, Arizona, and gave it a resto freshening that resulted in the '60 looking the way you see it here. He also acquired just about every item relating to its history. He says, "When I bought the car, I got boxes and boxes with it, including every trophy, all the dash plaques-hundreds of those-all the sterling-silver bowls [that it won], plus all the newspaper and magazine articles about the car."

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Best of the East: This 327-inch small-block powered Kim Ian Madsen's '60 to most of its race wins in the '60s. Bill Thomas modified the fuelie's plenum, and Noland Adams autographed it.

During its time in Kim's shop, he had a question on his mind as big as the blue-or-red question that Steve had: Should he keep the 327 that was already in the car, or should he seek out a correct '60-vintage 283 block and build it into a replacement for the car's original fuelie powerplant? Says Kim, "I thought about going back to original with it, but that [327] was what the car raced with. That was the motor that it won most of its awards with." Kim adds that he has no plans to build a 283 for it. "This is what the car is and was. I would be foolish to try to go find an original 283 block and put the car back to stock because the car was a race car. This is what it was raced with. At least the powertrain is as-raced, which I feel is more valuable than as-born-with. This is the car the way people remember it."

As for those who are still seeking that dream Vette in a barn or other hideaway somewhere, Kim says to keep looking for them. "They're still out there! as the owner of Corvette Restoration AZ, I am amazed at the phone calls that I get, and I go and pull Corvettes out from behind houses or uncover them in a garage. It's amazing what's still out there." He cites an original-owner '67 roadster that's owned by the Commanding General of the Arizona National Guard, which was stored near his shop, and that he just brought in for a restoration. "He bought it brand-new; it's in original unrestored condition. We dragged it out of his house, brought it to my shop, dropped the tank, and found the sticker, which I gave to him to preserve. Now we're doing a restoration on it. Isn't that something?"

So, how does it drive? "It's a thrill! It's a handful. It's a man's car," says Kim, who took the RPO 687 quick-steering adapter off because it was just too much for him. "It's extremely powerful. My license plate says XCELR8 because that car is all about accelerating. I have respect for what Steve Elfenbein did with that car, how he tossed it around. He must have been fearless!"

And another chapter in Corvette history is rediscovered and restored just like Kim's big-brake '60 fuelie.




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