1961 Chevrolet Corvette - Z Whiz

Suppose A '61 Roadster Swapped DNA With A '92 ZR1

Tom Shaw May 25, 2009 0 Comment(s)
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Five spoke Colorado Custom Alcatraz wheels blend two classics looks-chrome Cragar SS's and Torque Thrust Ds. The 18-inchers up front and 20s on back give the stance a bit of a rake.

All of these goodies reside beneath a '61 Corvette body. As with the rest of the project, it had its tweaks, too. A '58 grille replaced the fine-mesh '61, and fresh trim from Corvette Central added that special vintage sparkle. Time Machines is set up for high-end paint jobs, and once the body prep was complete, the fiberglass received a luxurious coat of PPG Ferrari Blue. Coves were painted in custom pearl white, a shade developed by Time Machines.

Inside, the Corvette was modernized, but not so much that it would lose its vintage vibe. Redline Gaugeworks converted the instrument cluster to all modern, white-face instruments, including a 6,200-rpm redline tach. They also calibrate them so that the readings are accurate. Seats were rebuilt and covered in genuine leather-black edges, and white inserts-that was cut and stitched up by Time Machines' interior and upholstery department. The dash was treated to a matching leather cover, while door panels were updated with a matching black/white leather design. Polished metal panels surround the door latch handles, and a skinny consolette tops the transmission tunnel. Specialty Power Windows supplied the electric-window lift kits, and a Classic Auto Air heater/air-conditioning system, designed for this vintage Corvette, was installed.

To keep it lively, an elaborate Sony stereo rig was chosen, teamed with a dash-mounted DVD monitor, and a large trunk-mounted monitor. A pair of Sony Xplod amps provide abundant amperage, and two matching woofers in the trunk are wired together with speakers in the passenger compartment to make sure the entertainment has plenty of thump with decibels to spare. Stinger stereo accessories were used to hook up all the components. A black canvas top keeps the comfort in and the weather out.

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The project comes together beautifully. The classic lines of the early Corvette remain intact, while beneath the skin beats the heart of a new generation of Corvette. This isn't a show car. It was built to drive, and it drives very well. Startup is quick, clean, and precise, just like new cars are known for. Idle is smooth as glass, and throttle response is quick as an F1 racer. But this '61 doesn't drive like a ZR1-it drives better, thanks to the improved exhaust, custom fuel mapping, steeper rear gears, upgraded brakes, and very light weight. As you might imagine, grin-factor behind the wheel is very high. Steering is razor sharp and grabs like you just drove into a swimming pool full of peanut butter. After the build, Bill and Becky Sefton took a fancy to the hybrid Corvette and bought it from Richard, relocating it to Arizona.

So there you are, smacking through the gears, top-down, chasing an Arizona sunset at 5,000 rpm through the high desert on the smooth roads out past the airport. You're amazed how the engine's power keeps building even at redline and beyond. The big, grippy radials grab the high-speed curves like hot glue, without so much as chirping. Grab another gear and pour on the coals. When you drive a car like Z Whiz, it's an experience that awaits every time the garage door is opened.


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