1963 Chevrolet Corvette - All In The Family

Once A Yenko, Always A Yenko

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"However, my father George always wanted what he called a 'married couple,' namely a '63 Split Window as well as a '63 Corvette convertible. We looked for a while and couldn't find anything. Then in 1978, cousin Don called us one Sunday evening and said 'George, we have a '63 split window coupe here that we think you would like to come and have a look at.' At the time, my father had just had an operation, so me and my younger brother Phillip drove up to Pennsylvania in a blinding snow storm to look at this car. The following Monday morning we went down to the dealership and bought the Corvette on sight!"

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According to Lesefky, the Sting Ray had been owned by a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers organization, who traded the split window in on a brand-new '78 Corvette Indianapolis 500 Pace Car! "Once we started digging deeper into the car, we noticed a couple of things that needed fixing. Cousin Don suggested that we leave the car there, and he would call us when he had fixed everything to our satisfaction, and we drove back home to Euclid, Ohio. Cousin Don kept the car for around six months. In the process, he gave the Corvette to Doug Ward who was one of his co-drivers and said, 'Drive it around and tell us what it needs!' "

"We picked the car up in the spring of 1978. Actually, we bought four cars. I bought a new '78 Caprice, my brother Tom bought a '78 Caprice Landau, and my sister Cori bought a Malibu SS. In actuality, my father and I bought the Corvette, and my brother Phillip drove it home. We also went up there to attend Don's oldest daughter Lynn's wedding, so we killed two birds with one stone. We drove the Corvette for about two years. Then we decided that it was time we restored both cars. Unfortunately, I'm sorry to say that my father George died of a massive heart attack in June of 1980, and we had a sudden change in plans."

Lesefky went on to relate that with three mouths to feed, he couldn't afford to restore both Corvettes. In the end, George kept the coupe and sold the '63 roadster to his cousin in Houston, Texas. "The split window sat for quite a while, at least until 1990. Finally, in 1991 we started putting the car back together. The car was completed in 1994, and this is the way the '63 looks today."

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You can credit George for the majority of the Corvette's restoration. He completely rebuilt the '63's 3.36:1 geared 9-leaf sprung IRS and short-long "SLA" coil spring front suspension himself. "The totally numbers matching chassis uses all NOS Corvette components," says George. "You must remember that in terms of time, this is an early restoration, and I had been collecting parts for quite a few years. Of course, the rebuild also included all new Delco-Moraine four-wheel-disc brake components right down to the factory original tin dipped-steel brake lines." Lesefky's Corvette also makes use of the optional 15x6-inch GM Knock-Off wheels complete with correct spinners and new 6.00x15-inch Coker Tire vintage Goodyear rubber.

Powering the '63 is the original serial numbers matching L-76 327-cid Corvette engine (factory rated @ 340 HP) machined up by Dean Gellner Engineering (Parma, OH) and owner-assembled. Internally, the solid lifter cammed small-block features a set of 11.25:1 compression TRW forged-aluminum pistons, GM camelback cylinder heads, Corvette L-76 cast-aluminum intake and Carter AFB carburetor with chrome-plated open-air/air cleaner, and Delco-Remy conventional ignition, the factory cast-iron rams horn exhaust, a six-quart capacity oil pan, the original Harrison aluminum radiator and Delcotron 37 AMP alternator. Backing it up is the original serial number Borg Warner T-10 and factory shifter.

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Inside, George's '63 makes use of an owner-installed Eckler's Code 490-898 Saddle Tan leather interior, complete with the stock Delco Electronics push-button AM radio, and paper Yenko Chevrolet floor mats. When it came to massaging the coupe's Owens-Corning fiberglass outer shell, Excalibur Auto Body & Paint's Mitch Wilson was the man of the hour, re-painting the '63 in the original Code 932-A Saddle Tan color. Of course, this coupe features a number of visual nuances reminding us of the fact that this '63 Split Window is a "Genuine Yenko." For example, there's the YENKO chrome and black letter dealer badge located above the taillight on the driver-side rear fender. There are the YENKO CHEVROLET license plate frames front and rear (the State of Ohio Vanity Plate reads, "SPL 63 IT,") and of course, a YENKO TUNED sticker located inside the lower front corner of the passenger side rear window. At NCRS Corvette Only events, Lesefky's genuine Yenko Corvette has scored a total of 94.6 points for originality. George and his wife Annette also own a '66 427 Chevrolet Caprice executive demo car with 37 listed options!

EDITOR'S NOTE: Bob McClurg has just finished his book, Yenko! The Man, the Machines, the Legend (Car Tech, Inc.) due for release Spring 2010.


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