"I registered and drove it for a while, but there were a couple of little dimples in the paint where the luggage rack used to be," he says. "The idea was to quickly repair them and blend in new paint, but the next thing I knew, I was overwhelmed with the idea of completely redoing it with a total rebuild, color change, and interior retrim."
Enter Detroit Custom Bodyworks, the Sydney-based muscle-car-restoration firm Evans enlisted to strip the Corvette to its shell, gut its interior, and transform it into a sensual road rocket. "We added a '67 Stinger hood and painted the car Arctic Silver with a Corsa Rosa stripe. We also laser-cut some Bowtie-themed front grilles and Chevrolet-logo side-pipe covers to add to its customization," Evans says.
Next, Concord Motor Trimmers in Concord designed and installed the beautiful two-tone interior. The shop utilized four different black and red Belgium leathers to fabricate the seat covers and matching door panels. Additional cabin accoutrements include Simpson racing harnesses, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a custom billet console and gauge bezel, an MSD tachometer and transmission-temperature gauge (augmenting the stock units), and a roll bar.
Next, the ZZ3 was rebuilt using Ross pistons, Manley rods, a Comp Cams hydraulic roller, Yella Terra roller rockers, and an Edelbrock Pro-Flo EFI system. A Hurricane Superduty 700-R4 automatic trans took the place of the Turbo 400, and a B&M Magnum Grip shifter was called upon to manhandle the gears.
Not yet ready to call it quits, Evans turned his attention to the Vette's under-bonnet appearance. He called upon Peter Huckstepp, who outfitted the bay in billet, polished aluminum, and other brightwork, including the alternator, a Tuff Stuff power-brake setup, a five-core radiator, a 3,500-cfm electric fan and shroud, and various trim pieces.
Hooker Super Comp side-mount headers, Spiral Turbo Specialties baffles, Speedy 17x8-inch wheels, and Kumho 255/50ZR17 rubber round out the "restification." What remains original on the Stingray? "Not much," Evans says, "except for the factory four-wheel disc-brake setup and the IRS."
Though Evans says there's still some fine detail work to perform, his Stingray is more than ready to show and go. In fact, it's earned four trophies in its first three events: Best in Class at the Castle Hill RSL Club, Best American at the Silverwater Charity Show, and Top Car of Show and First Place Modified, '73-'79, at the Belle Vista Corvette Show.
The Vette's track times are winners, too. In a recent outing, the car blasted through the quarter-mile in 12.97 seconds, a full three seconds faster than it was capable of when new.
"I always wanted a Corvette, and I'm glad this one wasn't a numbers-matching car," Evans says. "It made the rebuild more fun, and it enabled me to build the car the way I like."
There's no doubt the '74 Vette was lacking in performance by today's standards. But thanks to one dedicated Australian, there's one more shark prowling the waters with the bite it needs to back up its name. "Corvettes are meant to have power, and to draw attention wherever they go," Evans says. "Before, this car was a Corvette in name; now it's a Corvette in spirit. To me, that's the best it can ever be."