1966 Chevrolet Corvette - So Subtle, So Fine

"Coupester" Combines Classic C2 Lines With New Tech Hardware

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Look Again: You probably didn't notice the two shades of charcoal gray in the Coupester's color scheme at first. Many showgoers do a double-take when they notice the multi-hued color scheme.

The coupe's body received plenty of attention once the varying shades of primer came off. What stayed on and what was changed? Jeff explains, "The front fenders are original, the doors are original, the hood is from a big-block '67, and the grille is from a '64. The outside mirrors are from an '80-'82 Corvette, and the door handles are C5s." And that's just for starters. "In the front bumpers we have LED signal lights, and the LEDs in the rear bumpers are clear-lens back-up lights," Jeff says of the additions to his midyear's exterior lights. Likewise, the front fender vents "have a powdercoated mesh in them, as does the hoodscoop-which we opened up," he says.

A multitone color scheme consisting of black and two different shades of charcoal gray across the hood, roof, and tail was sprayed on by Eagleton's Custom Auto Paint in Huntington Beach. "It's not a big, fancy place . . . but they did a wonderful job," Jeff says. "One of the things that people always ask me about is the paint job, because black is very tough to do." Jeff adds this about the Coupester's cabin, "I came up with all these different little tweaks, even in the interior. There's a custom console with a custom shift plate, Vintage Air, and Auto Meter gauges. The interior trim isn't black, it's charcoal."

It all adds up to one spectacular-looking C2. "Everything's better about the car," Jeff says. "John's philosophy is, 'Have the old look with new technology.' Between what I conceived and what John built, it came out pretty near perfect. It turned out the way that we envisioned it, and it's a wonderful car."

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Fine Function: C5 door handles on the car look like Bill Mitchell styled them

What's it like to drive? "It drives very, very well-obviously, far better than the original product," Jeff says of the VBP-monoleaf-equipped car's ride. But the choice of the LS7 and near-stock-size rolling stock can present problems of its own. "With the size and width of wheels and tires that I have on there, I've never floored the car. I just don't want to eat up the rubber because it would just sit there and spin."

As of this writing, Jeff was getting ready to show the Coupester again at the prestigious Grand National Roadster Show at the L.A. County Fairplex in Pomona. Though he's driven it to some events, it's hauled in an enclosed trailer to most others, in order to help keep the paint looking from-the-shop fresh. Does Jeff have any advice for someone planning a Corvette project, Vette Rod or not? He does, indeed. "The way to go is to start from scratch," he says. "Start with a decent 'product'-something with a straight frame, and a reasonably-straight body. Don't forget that we're talking about cars that are 40-some-odd years old. Bite the bullet and start from scratch, and you won't spend a lot of time and money 'getting back to even.'"

Vestris Vettes




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