Moran built possibly his finest engine for Rod, and even admits that he wasn't expecting this car to run as well as it does. It is, after all, made for the road, complete with a custom-ground mild camshaft, tight ring pack, and low spring pressure. We didn't dig for too many horsepower secrets as Mike classified this baby as "Top Secret." I kept a close eye on the coolant temperature gauge the whole time were driving and never saw it slip above 190, even as we sat at a stoplight for close to 10 minutes as the po-po shut down the road for an airplane transporter.
"The key to the low temperatures is the giant four-row aluminum radiator, twin fans, and custom cooling box behind the seat that pumps cold water through a frame rail, and into the radiator," Rod said. The engine is backed by a triple-disc AFT clutch and Lenco four-speed transmission, which is absolutely seamless on the road when upshifting and downshifting.
The exterior of the car underwent a serious makeover from the dilapidated $2,500 shell Rod purchased six years ago. Yes, it is a real '63 split window Corvette, dear readers. Frank Morawski got his hands on the car first and tackled the sectioning. He cut it apart in three spots, adding a total of 12 inches to the overall length and giving it a sleeker look. Next, Dave Bell and Flavio DeCruz attacked the bodywork, including fabricating the one-off carbon-fiber hood that holds a price tag slightly higher than the last car I purchased. The Candy Brandywine/Apple paint job was applied by Connery Custom Paint, and the graphics were laid over top. Great care was taken to make sure the interior paint on the doors, dash, and tunnel matched perfectly to the outside. They even took time to mirror the inside driver door to the exterior of the passenger door and vice versa.
Underneath, Lowdown Hot Rods turned the car into a full chromoly tube chassis, as per NHRA guidelines for a car capable of such speeds. They installed a custom 4-link rear suspension and Strange rear with 4.10:1 gears and 22-inch Mickey Thompson tires out back with ET (15x15) rims. Up front are American Torq Thrust wheels wrapped in Mickey Thompson radials (24x5-inches). Strange also supplied the hardware up front in the form of their drag spindles, double adjustable shocks, and lightweight drag-specific brakes. Moran has high hopes for the strip, and wants to see the car in the mid-6s at over 220 mph.
We simply cannot say enough about this car, but can only ask the question-is this the greatest hot rod of all time? We are having a hard time finding something to match it. Rod and Tina have put close to 1,000 miles on the car in the last 18 months, and plan to do even more driving in the future. It's the only car we've ever seen that could be competitive in NHRA Comp Eliminator and do it after being driven to the track.
You are a rock star wherever you go in this unique automobile. People stop, stare, ask questions, hold up traffic, and are generally in awe at any pause the Vette makes. It's great that Rod and Tina are so personable, because they simply get mobbed at every turn.
Congratulations to Rod and Tina Saboury, as their 1963 Corvette is our Super Chevy Magazine Car Of The Year.