1968 Chevy Corvette - Cursed With Ambition

That's What Dan Spindler Is When It Comes To Customizing His '68 Stingray.

Rob Wallace III Feb 1, 2001 0 Comment(s)
Vemp_0102_06_z 1968_chevy_corvette Leather_interior 1/12

Dan remade the rear skin of his '68, raising the license plate opening and creating a custom roll pan and inner skirts, in order to more easily show off the extensively detailed and chromed rear suspension. The front suspension, while not as lavishly plated, boasts an equally high level of detailing.

Spindler's personalized Shark is powered by a L98 TPI 350 going through a 700-R4 automatic, both "donated" by an '88 C4. Copeland Transmission, again in House Spring, fortified the tranny with a manual valve body, a B&M Mega Shifter, and a 2,200-rpm stall converter. Spent gases escape though chromed Hooker side pipes. Dan dressed the engine himself, making an aluminum air cleaner box and aluminum header covers, as well as polishing everything under the hood to a radiant shine. He has also added billet engine pulleys, and the cooling power of twin electric fans. Dan created an aluminum core support and fan brackets in order to move the stock radiator back three inches, and has mounted the air cleaner in front of it, in the license plate opening

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The interior is subtle, but far from original. Dan has a leather-wrapped Grant steering wheel capping a '76 tilt-telescopic column. He opted to leave the ignition switch in the dash as it came in 1968, so he carefully removed the ignition switch from the '76 column. Dan makes use of black vinyl-clad '82 Corvette buckets and the rearview mirror out of a '90, complete with map lights. For improved visibility and style, Dan spent many hours at the kitchen table with tiny paintbrushes converting the stock instrument gauges to white-faces with orange illumination. Because he retained the TPI engine's electric distributor, Dan utilized a '75 Corvette electric tach. He milled and polished aluminum air vents, and installed a 400-watt JBL stereo system to drown out any excess road noise.

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The underside of Dan's '68 is every bit as immaculate as the rest of the car. Dan began on the frame by smoothing all the welds and polishing it to a gleam, and then chromed almost everything, including the sway bars, halfshafts, and shocks. A milled aluminum rearend cover hides a 3.92:1 Posi ring-and-pinion. He installed a composite monoleaf rear spring from Vette Brakes, and upgraded the cornering abilities with a '76 power steering and box. In the stopping department, Dan replaced all the brake lines with made stainless steel units, cross-drilled the stock rotors, and spent a lot of time smoothing the surfaces of the calipers and all the other components before chroming everything. To complete the package, the '68 rolls on a set of 15x8 and 15x9.5-inch Elite Mirage wheels wrapped in 225/60-15 and 275/60-15 tires.

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Working non-stop in his spare time, Dan completed the repairs and enhancements to his Vette in almost exactly a year and thus far has been well rewarded for his efforts. Almost exactly on the anniversary of its wreck, Dan's '68 earned its reprisal by sitting in the Winners Circle at Mid America Design's Funfest 2000, as a Celebrity Pick-just three days after its completion! "I love having something to show for my time," Dan says. But the party's not stopping here. Dan loves customizing his Corvette nearly as much as driving it, and is planning to add a billet grille and billet console, Dart heads, and a fairly radical Comp Cams camshaft this coming winter. Dan is, in his own words, "Cursed with ambition!"

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