Along the way, Balogh also added vacuum and tachometer gauges to the engine compartment. "I put them there because it makes it easier when I'm doing tuning adjustments," he says.
Balogh tells us he's left his Corvette's brakes and suspension alone, at least for the time being. The FE7 Gymkhana system still features all its original-spec hardware, from the stiffer, seven-leaf rear spring and matching shocks to the beefier front and rear stabilizer bars with heavy-duty rubber mounting hardware. The brakes, meanwhile, employ four-piston calipers clamping 11.75-inch steel rotors, just like when they left the factory.
One thing Balogh did opt to accessorize was the Vette's wheel-and-tire combo. The original YJ8 aluminum rims and QRZ "White Lettered Steel Belted Tires" were replaced with Hurricane 15x8-inch alloys wrapped in Bridgestone 235/60-15 front and Sumitomo 255/60-15 rear rubber.
Balogh then focused his talents on the interior, replacing the factory buckets with Autotechnic high-back leather thrones, swapping the stock Chevy steering wheel for a Formula One unit, installing new carpet and dash upholstery, and augmenting the factory instrumentation with an amperage gauge.
In the first four years of Vette ownership, Balogh earned a reputation for having a top-notch trophy-puller at Australia's most prestigious car shows, winning Second Place at the Norwest Homemaker Collection Show (2003), First Place at Corvettes at Fox (2004), and Runner-Up in the C3 Class at Bella Vista (2005).
By 2007, Balogh was beginning to dream in color. Although his Corvette's black paint was still presentable, it was beginning to show stress cracks around the rear window and front fenders. He already knew what he wanted to use as a replacement. "I could just imagine how the Vette would look in Tartan Turquoise," he says. "The color comes from a '64 EH Holden [in the U.S., Chevrolet Truck/GMC offered Tartan Turquoise for one year only, in 1958], and over the many years of customizing and rebuilding many of the vehicles I've owned, I've managed no fewer than five resprays using it."
Working on the project by himself, Balogh needed months of prep work to get the Vette ready for its vivid new complexion. Stripping, blocking, sanding, filling, and priming slowly gave way to a straight, wave-free, ready-to-paint body. He already knew the brand, too: Spartan SuperCryl Acrylic Lacquer, which he carefully applied to the Corvette's body in multiple coats. After allowing the paint to dry, he then hand-rubbed it to a brilliant, awe-inspiring shine.
After its completion, Balogh's retro-colored C3 won two Second Place awards at the Albion Park Show in 2008-one in the Best Muscle Car class, and the other in Best Coupe. He hopes his successes on the car show circuit will continue.
"I absolutely love my Vette . . . it's my passion and hobby," he says. "I drive it as much as possible, mainly on weekends and holidays, and I'm always thinking up new ideas as to what I can do to make it even better. The one thing I won't change, however, is its Tartan Turquoise color. I love it that much. Indeed, it really is a dream come true."