The Ultimate 1963 Chevy Corvette - 2008 Car Of The Year

After 30 Years Of Speed And Originality, Rod And Tina Saboury Have Achieved Unmatched Excellence With Their '63 Split-Window Corvette.

Mike Ficacci Feb 1, 2009 0 Comment(s)
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As we left the McDonald's drive-thru, piping hot coffee in hand, I was worried. Here I was, sitting in a car that pretty much defies every known law of physics and common sense, and the last thing I wanted was to spill the hot, tasty beverage on it and me. As we pulled onto the street, I braced myself for what I knew was coming. As Rod Saboury laid into the throttle, I took one hand and latched onto the seat, and the other I kept tightly grasping the cup. I knew that when the boost kicked in from the 2,400 hp, twin-turbocharged beast underneath the flip-top hood, things would go rearward in a hurry.

Rod told me to brace myself for an experience like no other, and I shook him off, having felt the sensation of 8- and 9-second hot rods smoking the tires on the pavement in the past. I replaced that little flappy thing in my coffee cup lid just in case. We pulled out behind a pickup truck who was much more interested in us than we were than him. At that instant, Rod put his foot to the floor, banging through second gear, accelerating from 15 mph to well past 80 in the blink of a eye, and I felt a sensation not only of being sucked into the seat, but also of not being able to move a muscle. The 22-inch tires were whining, but held us in check-the mark of a truly well-engineered vehicle. The ridiculous amount of g-forces pressed my entire frame so hard that I could not lift my head back to the sitting up position I was used to. I could only compare it to a spinning Gravitron much like they have at the fair, which, at top speed, makes it near impossible to lift your arms. Once he lifted his foot off the throttle, I grinned like a small child who has just endured his first burnout in pop's big-block Bow Tie.

Finally, we were cruising in the Sabourys' '63 Vette. We'd wanted to put something together on this car for awhile, but Rod wanted to see it go in the 6-second zone in the quarter-mile first. He reached that milestone last summer at the Super Chevy Show in Norwalk, Ohio. On the first day of the event, it ran a heart-stopping 6.95 at 210 mph on street tires-and it was far from a perfect run.

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The creative juice behind the world's fastest honest-to-goodness street machine is none other than Rod Saboury, a man synonymous with the Corvette, speed, and ingenuity. His '57 Corvette practically invented the fast streetcar genre when it ran in the 7s in the early '90s. Another essential piece of the puzzle is derived from a pioneer in the business of hair-dried horsepower known as Mike Moran. He custom-built a 400 cubic inch, all-aluminum, twin-turbo small-block that produces 2,400 horsepower and gets a ridiculous 11 miles per gallon on the highway. Do I stutter? No. This street mouse has more manners than an Englishman at tea with the queen.

A lot of people claim to own really sick street cars, but this Vette backs up the claim with civility and reliability. We drove around Maryland for the better part of one Thursday morning, refueling, cruising, and picking up McDonald's, and let me be the first to say-what a dream. Power windows, back-up lights, turn signals, factory roll-up headlights, interior lights, rear-view mirror, built-in cup holders, and air conditioning on order-my brand-new rental car didn't have as many amenities!

I have driven in racecars, street cars, and a bunch in between, and this car is most definitely a street car. Rod and I were able to keep a conversation without shouting, I still have all the fillings in my teeth, I didn't spill a single drop of coffee, and we drove through some potholes that I would avoid with my Suburban.

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