1964 Chevrolet Corvette - From Drags To Riches

An Elite Quarter-Miler Finds New Essentials Down Under

Christopher R. Phillip Feb 1, 2008 0 Comment(s)
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The ignition was upgraded with an MSD chrome-billet distributor and 6A amplifier box feeding MSD 8.5mm wires and NGK BP 5S plugs. The exhaust exits through 1 5/8-inch Hedman headers and flows into 2 1/4-inch glass-pack mufflers mounted in midyear-style sidepipes.

To get this classic Vette rolling, a replacement '64 Muncie M20 with a 2.56 First gear was installed and linked to a GM bellhousing, flywheel, and stock clutch. A similarly stock driveshaft moves the power to a 3.55 gearset (the Vette came to Silk with 3.71s installed) housed in a rebuilt factory rearend equipped with a stocker GM Posi.

The front suspension remains stock as well, save for the addition of Koni performance shocks. A power-steering box from an '80 Vette abets handling precision and road feel. In back, a fiberglass monoleaf spring installed by Corvette Automotive and another pair of Konis supplant the archaic original setup.

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Braking power comes from '80 Corvette discs and GM two-piston calipers at all four corners. Silk also upgraded the Vette with a polished-chrome C4 master cylinder and booster. The classy Sting Ray rides on 15x8-inch American Racing wheels wrapped in BFG 245/60-15 front and 255/60-15 rear rubber.

When it was time to address the interior, Silk decided to get personally involved once again. He installed the mods himself, using SAAS racing seats with five-point RPM harnesses, an '80 Corvette steering wheel, and a Pioneer sound system. "When the car was purchased, the dash and instruments were never fitted, and some of them didn't work," Silk says. "After much perseverance, all were repaired and recalibrated."

After the laborious, 13-month rebuild was complete, Silk entered his reborn classic in numerous large car shows throughout Australia. Not surprisingly, he came away with a bounty of successes, the more notable of which are listed below.

Silk says his Vette is a ringer at the shows. "There are too many [accolades] to list," he says. "My Corvette has around 40 trophies."

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As fun as all the trophies and the attention are, Silk says he derives comparable enjoyment from the unorthodox (for Australia) positioning of the steering wheel and pedals. While most Australian Corvettes are converted to right-hand drive, Silk's C2 remains in its original, U.S.-spec configuration. "Australian road rules specify that a car over 30 years old can be left-hand drive. It was a little odd to drive at first, but now I just love it."

Although he has a second Vette-a '66 small-block convertible-and has owned three Corvette coupes-a '77, an '86, and a '90-in the past, Silk's richly adorned midyear is the most cherished of the bunch. "I have had several Corvettes, but the '64 is my favorite. I know it had some sort of interesting life. She drives so well and is very responsive for such an old car. She gets the looks and appreciation she deserves. She is a classic.

* Best '63-'67 Modified, Australian National Corvette Convention (2001, 2002, 2004, 2007)
* Second Best Paint and Best Engine Bay,Queensland Corvette Club Concours (2000)
* Best Coupe, All American Car & Bike Show (2000)
* Best Exterior Overall, Australian Corvette Nationals (2004)
* Grand Champion, People's Choice, and Best '63-'67 Corvette, Down Under Concours (2000)

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