Where's the best place to find a Corvette that's destined to capture a Top Flight award? It all depends-it could be in a neighbor's garage, it could be in the collection of someone whose ad you've read, or it could be...just about anywhere. Nick Minoia has always loved the second-generation Corvette, and he wanted a midyear to grace his collection. Fortunately for Nick, he had some help in looking-help that found a prospective purchase within a day's drive. "I found out about it from my brother back in late-2005, early-2006," he says from his Succasunna, New Jersey, home. "The car had had a frame-off restoration by this guy in upstate New York, but it had passed to another owner who was frustrated by the fact that it had knock-off wheels on it. He'd driven the car, and one of the wheels started to come off, and it scared the hell out of him. He ended up parking the car in the garage, and he never drove it again."
That split-window had been restored by Paul Bohensky in his Elmira, New York, garage several years earlier. The car had been parked at a used-car store/body shop in Elmira, and though it didn't move through space, its journey through time left it with more than a few problems. Through his brother's efforts, Nick looked up the Sting Ray's owner. "When I called the owner, he said, 'Funny you should call right now. 'I just bought a lake house, and I frankly could use the money, so I might be willing to sell it if you want to do something quick." Nick adds, "Timing is everything in life, and this was just one of those things that happens for a reason."
Nick drove up to Elmira that weekend and checked out the '63. "We drove it around the block, and it was running rough, the brakes weren't really working, and there were a lot of issues with the steering," he recalls. "It hadn't been driven in about five or six years. The tires were lumpy-they'd never even rolled, it was like driving on square tires."
But what Nick calls "the bones of the car" were there, and he could tell that it needed to be "brought back from the dead," as he puts it. The deal was done, and Nick brought the '63 home. Over the next two years, he brought the Sting Ray into more than just drivable shape-it was ready for NCRS judging. But not before a lot of "little" things needed doing. "I must have spent about $10,000-$15,000 in parts," Nick says. "Me and Long Island Corvette got to know each other real well!"
The previous restoration was of good quality, but not a Top Flight-level restoration, so Nick set out to make his C2 worthy of the NCRS' top honors. "There were so many things that needed to be brought up to speed, like period tires, wheels and hubcaps, bolt head markings, engine detailing, finding the correct numbers-matching parts like the alternator, starter and regulator," he recalls while estimating that he did about 95 percent of the work himself that was needed to bring the split-window up to Top Flight quality. "The only things that I had done were rebuilding of the master cylinder and the wheel cylinders as well as sending out pieces like the clock and wiper motor to be rebuilt. When I found the right date-coded alternator, I sent that out to have new diodes put in and have the finish redone on it."
One thing that didn't need re-doing was the split-window's Daytona Blue exterior color. Paul Bohensky had re-painted the car in acrylic lacquer during the previous frame-off-the same type of paint Chevrolet used at St. Louis Assembly. "It's a little over ten years old, and it still has a great look to it," he says. "That's the beauty of lacquer, where you can just hit it, rub it out, and bring it back to like-new condition."