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NYPD Custom 1967 Chevy Corvette - Having Your Cake And Driving It Too

Retired NYPD Officer John Walluk Likes His Vettes As Both Numbers-Matching Originals And Modified Road-Masters

Richard Prince Nov 1, 2002
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Cops and Corvettes have been a natural fit since the marque's beginning half a century ago. Of course, our friends-in-blue love Corvettes for all the same reasons everyone else does; the cars are beautiful to look at, a thrill to drive, and have the greatest performance value in the history of the automobile. There is, however, perhaps another reason why police officers are especially enamored with Corvettes. Law enforcement, at any level, easily ranks among the most stressful professions under the sun. And what better way to relieve some of that job related stress than to fire up the Corvette and go for a cruise?

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Clean, refined, classic styling makes '67coupes a favorite with collectors. This car's side pipes are original while its aluminum bolt-on wheels are reproductions.

Stress relief might have played a role in Nassau County, New York police officer John Walluk's attraction to Corvettes in the past, but now that he's retired it's no longer a factor. Nowadays his pure love for the styling of the cars and the exhilaration that he gets from driving them goes a long way in keeping his interest up. John also derives a great deal of pleasure from doing restoration work to his cars and has done just about everything imaginable, ranging from engine detailing to a full-bore body-off-the-frame restoration of a '70 big-block coupe. That silver coupe, which went on to win the NCRS Duntov Mark of Excellence award and a Bloomington Gold certificate, graced the cover of VETTE's 1970 Silver Salute issue in 1995.

In addition to his passion for Corvettes and his interest in restoring them, John has another impetus for staying involved with Corvettes. "The best part of this hobby," he says without hesitating, "is all of the great people I've met from around the country and even from around the world." The opportunities to meet so many different people has come about because of John's intense involvement with various organizations, most notably NCRS, on both the local and national levels. He has served that organization in various capacities, most recently as judging chairman for the Long Island Metro Chapter.

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Engine looks mostly stock but it's actually an over-the-counter LS6 454. As you would expect, the car has no trouble in the acceleration department.

When people learn that he was an NCRS judging chairman and has gone to the extreme efforts necessary to earn Duntov and Bloomington Gold awards they assume John is an unmitigated purist. While he obviously does have an attraction to excruciatingly correct restorations, this is only part of what keeps him interested and engaged with the hobby. John can best be described as something of a Renaissance man in the Corvette world, with interests that vary widely. To wit, his current ride is a '67 coupe that appears almost entirely stock-but really isn't.

According to John the car started life as a 427/435 four-speed with side pipes, leather seat covers, AM/FM radio, and tinted glass. But, as so often happened with 435 Corvettes, the engine was damaged and rather than repair it a previous owner took the easy way out and simply replaced it. As anyone who has ever had the pleasure of experiencing a '67 427/435 will tell you, it is pretty difficult to find happiness with a lesser engine. That's why the previous owner, seeking a substitute for his damaged powerplant, went to his local Chevrolet dealer and bought a complete LS6 454.

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While the LS6's 425hp rating is slightly lower than the coupe's original engine, the longer stroked 454 makes noticeably more torque so the car will actually accelerate quicker now than when it was new. That's important to John because, despite his involvement with restoring and showing cars, he is also passionate about driving them. It is for that reason he set about making various improvements to the car soon after buying it. He began by executing a complete rebuild of its suspension, including new bushings, bearings, springs, shocks, tie rod ends, ball joints, and so on. Of course, while the suspension was apart, he cleaned and cosmetically restored everything including the chassis itself. He next turned his attention to the interior, which, though basically in sound condition, was starting to show signs of old age. That was remedied with new carpeting, repainting of the dash, and miscellaneous other detailing. To further enhance the driving experience, John opted to add a few options the car didn't originally come equipped with. These include power steering, power brakes, and headrests. For safety's sake shoulder belts and a fire extinguisher were also added.

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Future plans call for installation of air conditioning, which is practically a necessity in a big-block coupe that gets driven far regardless of the weather. In keeping with his Renaissance approach to the Corvette hobby, John does indeed plan to continue driving his steed at every available opportunity. Besides visiting at least a half dozen different states he also intends to do a bit of touring in Canada this year, thus sharing the sweet sight and sound of a big-block mid-year singing through its side pipes with our neighbors to the north.



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