The car was completely intact and functional when Epperson took delivery, and he enjoyed it "as is" for the following eight years. Then in 1995 he decided to do some cosmetic restoration work. The awesome Eckler's Can-Am body was completely disassembled and stripped to the bare fiberglass. Jim Mayden sprayed the dazzling red hue and custom stripes according to a design Epperson came up with. "I thought about repainting it exactly the way V. V. built it," Epperson says, "but I really wanted something a little more subdued and I love red, so I came up with this design."
Epperson also added chromed late-model ZR1 wheels, though of course he kept the American Racing mags that were on the car. "I think they give it kind of a high-tech look," he says, "and nicely blend the old with the new."
All throughout his ownership of this unique Corvette, Epperson has continued to compete with it. And after owning it for 12 years, and working on it and driving it for V. V. Cooke for another 12 years before that, he has a lot of great memories.
"There are two on-track accomplishments that really stand out in my memory," says Epperson. "The first was an SCCA two-day event for race cars only. It was held on a one-mile course with some tight turns and I had fastest time of the event, beating out a Formula Ford and winning a beautiful champagne bucket. The second, called the Corvette/Porsche Challenge, was in Columbus, Ohio. Two hundred of the baddest Corvettes and Porsches showed up to compete on a quarter-mile banked track that went into a half-mile high-banked track. There were other L88s and big-motor Porsches, but none could beat us!"
In addition to competing in the car Epperson has also actively shown it during the past few years, bringing home more than 100 trophies for his efforts. "My best memory of a show," he reports, "was getting picked out of 3,500 Corvettes in 1997 at the Mid America FunFest to go into the winner's circle."
While Epperson continues to show the car frequently, his competition activity has trailed off recently. "After I had it repainted I didn't want to get it messed up," he says rather apologetically. "I've thought about vintage racing it just for exhibition, but that's not in my nature. I'm from the old school of racing. When I go out on the track it's to win. I can't hold back. And with this car, there is no holding back!"
One look at this wild machine and you can't disagree with Epperson's assessment. From its wild custom-painted Can-Am II body to its mega-horsepower big-block, there's just no holding this unique Corvette back.