1964 Chevy Corvette Convertible - The Mako Mama & Her Vette

Putting A Feminine Touch On A Manly Car

Jerry Heasley May 1, 2002 0 Comment(s)
Sucp_0205_01_z 1964_chevy_corvette_convertible Front_view 1/5

The car is "Miss Mako," a feminine version of the more macho Mako Shark show Corvette. The lady is Joan Spoerndle, the "Mako Mama." She campaigns her '64 Vette show car around the country to raise money for various charities, such as the American Cancer Society and the American Red Cross. The "Miss Mako" came about after Joan tried to buy the original but was unsucessful. She was unperturbed because she saw areas she could improve, such as the color. She felt it was too gray and needed more light blue and white.

At first, she hesitated building the car. The decision to build came after inspiration from a friend, Sandy Labaree, who was struggling with cancer and was campaigning her Corvette to raise money to fight the disease.

Building the Mako was no small task. Two years ago, Joan called on Dave Secaur at Final Finish in nearby Branford, Connecticut, to do the design, bodywork, and paint. Dave used pictures of the original Mako Shark plus a Franklin Mint model for the build. "We used most of the visuals the original Mako had," Secaur explained. "We've got the front parking lights, which are shaped like a gill. Those were a little tricky to do. They are operating turn signals. We had to make a mold first and custom lenses to fit."

The front grille and bumpers are a major departure from stock and really give Joan's Corvette a Mako Shark look. Dave remembered, "There was a lot of work done to the front quarters where the side pipes come out. The wheel opening is quite a lot different from stock. We copied the bumper design, but here again, it is not exact. The grille has slats that go straight across. They [the original Mako slats] are much tighter than the ones we have, but we were doing a car that needed to be streetable, and we needed airflow. We also had to pass inspection and needed headlights."

The side pipes are made of stainless steel (bent, welded, and polished). They feature an inner core muffler and a fabricated outer shielding consisting of grates, not so closely spaced as the originals on the Mako Shark. The hood is Mako-like. "We took a '64 hood and made it work. It's not as large as the original Mako. It's a little more petit."

The rear end is also very special. "We copied their treatment of the rear quarter, re-worked the back of the car for the three tail lights, and completely remade the license plate surround. The lower rear pan was completely re-worked to make it smooth."

You are likely to see Miss Mako (the car, remember) at any Corvette or Chevy or other show in the country. Alongside Miss Mako will be Mako Mama. For her schedule, go to www.missmako.com.

Vehicle
'64 Corvette convertible

Engine
350 V-8, Vortec cast-iron heads, Edelbrock Performer intake, Accel 4-bbl throttle-body fuel injection with speed density management, 304 bhp @ 5000 rpm, 340 lb-ft @ 2250 rpm, MSD electronic distributor with tach drive, MSD ignition control box.

Transmission
4L60 automatic with lock-up torque converter
Rear End
'64 Corvette with 4.11:1 Positraction carrier

Suspension
Front
Adjustable fiberglass transverse leaf spring, polygraphite bushings Rear
Adjustable fiberglass transverse leaf spring, antisway bar with polygraphite bushings, rear camber rods with adjustment sleeves, rear crossmember reinforcement kit with differential mounting bushings

Wheels
15x7 American Racing Torque-Thrust IITires
Toyo 800 Ultras 215/65R/15

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