1967 Corvette Roadster - Two Shall Be One

Dick Dawson's Mind-Blowing "Z067" Midyear

Jeremy D. Clough Aug 1, 2008 0 Comment(s)
Vemp_0808_04_z 1967_chevrolet_corvette Rear_view 1/13

Dawson began looking at a number of different aftermarket frame manufacturers, ultimately contacting Tray Walden of Street Shop in Athens, Alabama. Although Street Shop is known for its C4 suspension frames for C1-C3 Vettes, sticking a transaxle in one was a new challenge altogether. After checking out the references that Walden supplied (including one customer who had frames from both Street Shop and a competitor), Dawson offered up his two project cars to be used in the creation of Street Shop's first C5 transaxle chassis.

Before they could come together, however, the '66 and the '02 had to part ways. The '66 went to nearby Wood's Body Shop, where Darrin Wood began the extensive fiberglass modifications required to fit the new mechanicals in place. The '02, meanwhile, stayed at Street Shop, where Walden began the painstaking process of building a frame jig and slowly welding the pieces in place. One of Walden's main conditions was that he put the body on himself, so he could make sure it was done right. "His attention to detail was exceptionally good," Dawson says. "He was great to work with."

Vemp_0808_05_z 1967_chevrolet_corvette Center_console 2/13

Among the upgrades to the stock-looking radio is a line-in hidden in the ashtray. A toggle switch under the dash switches from AM/FM to iPod, satellite radio, or whatever else you want to plug in. (Photo courtesy Dick Dawson)

Walden started with mandrel-formed rails, and by the time he was done cutting and welding, the body mounts were about the only things stock-looking on the new chassis. From the front end, with its mounts for the rack-and-pinion steering and C5 suspension components, to the rear cradle designed to accept the transaxle, everything else looked foreign on the C2 chassis. After Walden shortened the torque tube to fit and bolted it in place behind the LS6, the other C5 components were installed unmodified on the finished chassis. The shocks and transverse-mount fiberglass springs, however, fell by the wayside, replaced by Aldan American coilovers.

Meanwhile, Wood had no less of a challenge in doing the body work. Fortunately, says Dawson, "I don't have any aversion to cutting fiberglass." That is good, because there was a lot of it for Wood to cut. For starters, the C5 torque tube took up much more room than the usual C2 tranny and driveshaft. Wood had to fabricate a new fiberglass transmission tunnel to clear everything, one that was some 4 inches wider and 2 inches higher.

He also fabricated a new rear deck and installed tubs that would tuck the massive 18x10.5-inch Z06 wheels underneath the body without using flares. This would have been enough fun all by itself, except that the Z067 is a drop-top, and when that top drops, it's gotta go someplace. In this case, "someplace" means into painstakingly crafted notches in the tubs, which fill up the place that usually would hold the folded top.

Vemp_0808_06_z 1967_chevrolet_corvette Chassis 3/13

Where it all begins: Street Shop's transaxle chassis for the C2 Corvette. While you can do a lot to a stock midyear or shark chassis, nothing approaches the handling improvements offered by one of these frames.

The internal 'glass work wasn't all, though. One of Wood's trademarks is custom work so subtle that it blends almost imperceptibly into the car's original lines. On the Z067, this takes the form of a raised ridge running down the center of the hood bulge and stinger. Hard to do, and easy to botch, it's just one more thing about the Z067 that you only notice on close inspection.

With the fabrication complete and cured, Wood began the arduous prep work and block-sanding that ultimately led to a miles-deep Jet Black paint job and Rally Red stinger. The completed body and chassis were then taken to the nearby shop of Jim Hornaday, where the body drop was to be performed. Hornaday, a longtime Vette aficionado and an expert on C2 restoration, had become aware of the project early on, and when he heard that Dawson was mating a Z06 to a '67-style body, he referred to the car as a "Z067." The name stuck. Dawson's daughter, a graphic designer, laid out the distinctive Z06-inspired logo, which is found tastefully applied throughout the car. Another friend laser-cut the polished stainless-steel hood logos, the backs of which Dawson pocket-milled so he could install the red fiberglass inserts that show through the front.

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