By national-prize-winning, we mean cars that compete for the top titles in the rod-and-custom show world, including the Ridler Award at the Detroit Autorama and "America's Most Beautiful Roadster" at L.A.'s Grand National Roadster Show. Lest you think this car is a one-off like a Ridler or AMBR contender, Karl Kustom Corvettes has turned out more than just this one. "To date, there are about 12 of them on the road," says Dave, "and I've got five of them in the shop in production."
Already, these '67-look C6s are getting plenty of attention. "People look at it twice," Bob says. "All of the panels fit in the same places-at first you look at it and say, 'That's an interesting '67.' If the top's down, they say, 'Boy those are different wheels!' And then when they start looking closer, they say, 'This isn't a '67! This isn't a Midyear-what's going on?' If the top's up, because of the slack windshield and shorter convertible top, it's easily identifiable." But, when it comes to driving it on the road, Bob says his defensive driving skills are put to the test. "I've had people with their cellphone cameras coming up alongside me taking pictures, and cutting in front of me to take a picture of the front end, riding my bumper."
We took our first look at the car at 2009's C5/C6 Bash in Bowling Green, and Bob's also had it out to Vettes on the Rockies in Colorado. "Rollie Purifoy was out there from Lupton, Colorado (whose Callaway Corvettes we've previously featured -Ed.). I've known him for a while, and he had Ron Fellows come in for a day. Fellows pulled up with Rollie and introduced himself, and they were circling around it and kidding each other about taking this one out for a ride. Rollie said, 'The last time you did that, you scared the crap out of me,' and I said, 'Neither one of you is going to drive it, after listening to you guys for a while!'"
Bob is also particular about what cars go in his garage, as well as who drives them. "I've got 22 different cars that are high-dollar cars," he says of his collection, which also includes a pair of '53 Vette Commemorative Edition look-alikes (a roadster and a "Waldorf" Nomad wagon). "I'm real picky about quality, fit, and finish, and those guys just do it right." In Bob's mind, they do it so well that he came back to Karl for another C6/C2 conversion: a coupe converted to a '63 split-window look-alike. "That also turned out great, says Bob. "We did that in Mosport Green-the '66 light-silver-green color. It's very subtle, but it's very attractive."
Meanwhile, Dave has this to say about a repeat customer like Bob: "He's a great spokesman for us," he says. "If a guy's coming back for seconds, I don't think I need to say anything else. That speaks volumes for me!"