1969 Coupe - Earning His Stripes

Keith Wozny's understated, over-achieving C3.

Chris Endres Dec 13, 2011 0 Comment(s)
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It started innocently enough. "A friend knew I was looking for a '69 Corvette. He stumbled across this one and gave me a call," recounts Keith Wozny. "After I bought it, I was working on it constantly, trying to infuse it with my own personality." The car was solid, but had obviously led a hard life and needed a complete restoration. "This became a never-ending endeavor."

After owning the car for some seven years, Wozny felt the project had gotten more than a bit sideways. He had begun contemplating turning it over to a professional tuner to bring the car up to his standards. Now, understand this wasn't Wozny's first go-round with high-performance cars. He had already replaced the Vette's original, but tired, 350 with a Motown-based 427 small-block and installed a Holley Pro-Jection EFI unit. While the performance improvement was significant, the C3 just wasn't meeting his expectations.

It was a chance meeting with John Drahos, owner of Corvette Conspiracy, at a dyno session that led to the project being assigned to the Cleveland, Ohioûbased shop. "I saw a car they had recently completed and was blown away. I was sure they could make my '69 everything I wanted it to be."

Of course, the chassis is the basis for every serious performance vehicle. Looking for a first-rate foundation for his C3, Wozny turned to Athens, Alabama's Street Shop for a mandrel-formed shark setup. This allowed Corvette Conspiracy to bolt Wozny's original body to the upgraded chassis with no modifications.

Knowing that performance was first and foremost on Wozny's agenda, CC took every opportunity to upgrade all of the car's underpinnings. Mounted to the tube chassis is a complete C4 suspension system, front and rear, including a Dana 44 differential stuffed with a 3.70 gearset. And because slowing down can be almost as much fun as going fast, a brake upgrade was deemed a necessity. Here again, Corvette Conspiracy whipped up a set of custom brackets to mount the C6 Z06 calipers to C4 spindles. Custom satin-finish Boze forged wheels have a vintage feel while allowing just enough bright-red caliper and drilled rotor to peek out.

The powertrain is equally formidable. Wozny's original Motown 427 is still in place, though it is now force-fed courtesy of a massive ProCharger F-1R centrifugal blower. A custom Hogan sheetmetal intake manifold was selected not only for its performance, but also because it would allow retention of the stock hood. An Accufab 1,300-cfm billet throttle body is bolted on up front. The custom sheetmetal valve covers were embellished with mounts for the GM truck "smart" coils and painted to match the car's exterior. The engine is controlled by an ACCEL DFI engine-management system.

The amount of custom fabrication performed by Corvette Conspiracy is quite impressive. To the front of the Motown block is mounted a full range of CC-built accessory brackets, including the supercharger mount, water pump, power-steering pump, alternator, and air-conditioning compressor brackets. The intercooler mount was integrated into a custom tubular core support that also incorporates the radiator and bumper mounts. All of the intercooler plumbing was custom fabricated as well. A pair of bespoke 2-inch-primary headers feed 3.5-inch collectors and a CC-built 3.5-inch stainless-steel exhaust system with Flowmasters. All told, this combo belted out 796 hp and 790 lb-ft of torque on the chassis dyno.

While performance was obviously the main consideration during the build, that's not to say that occupant comfort was completely eschewed. A pair of C5 Sport seats were acquired, reupholstered, and installed, along with a complementing pair of Simpson harnesses. The six-point rollbar has swing-out sidebars to make ingress and egress less of a contortionist act. The dash has been filled with a full complement of Auto Meter Phantom gauges, which illuminate with a classy blue glow. An Alpine head unit and twin amplifiers drive an eight-speaker B&W system, which is augmented with a pair of Pioneer subwoofers.

"I was content to go without, but my wife, Mary, was insistent that the car have air conditioning," says Wozny. "Since we were installing the system anyway, Corvette Conspiracy also ducted a setup to cool the Accel DFI controller above the passenger-side footwell."

When it came time to make some decisions for the paint and bodywork, the choices were clear. Wozny wanted no aftermarket body panels and wanted to retain the stock hood. A little custom-blended base color (now known as "Woz Blue") and clear, with a whole lot of sanding and buffing, gave the impressive results shown. But--and there's always a but--there's a bit more to the story. Yes, the headlights were converted to 9005/9006 lamps, but there's still more. Ed Roethel at Cruisin' Customs fabricated the mounts and bezels and replaced the flaky vacuum-operated door mechanisms with electrically powered versions. Likewise, the windshield-wiper door is also driven by a billet linear door-actuator mount and modified wiper-door linkage.

Clearly, no project of this magnitude is ever done without lots of helps from experts in their respective fields. Wozny is quick to extend his gratitude to John Drahos and his crew of co-conspirators at Corvette Conspiracy. Special thanks also go to Mark W. Brown at Creative Powder Coatings; Jim Kolbrick at New Image Powder Coating and High Temperature Ceramic Coatings; and Ed Roethel at Cruisin' Solutions for all of their hard work, enthusiasm, and creativity.

All told, it took six years to get Wozny's coupe to this level. Six years is a long project by anyone's standards. But the results justified the patience and sacrifices made along the way. "I felt confident [Drahos] could make the car exactly what I dreamed it to be, and he did. I couldn't be happier!"

Spec Sheet

'69 Coupe
Owner Keith and Mary Wonzy
Block World Products Motown II iron 4.125-in bore
Displacement 427 ci
Heads GMPP LSX six-bolt ported aluminum
Valves 2.14/2.60
Camshaft Erson custom-spec roller
Pistons Wiseco 4.125-in bore
Crankshaft Callies 4.00-in stroke
Rods Eagle steel 5.850-in
Intake Manifold Hogan sheetmetal
Throttle Body Accufab 1,300 cfm
Fuel System Custom system by Vengeance Racing
Fuel Injectors FAST 65-lb/hr
Ignition ACCEL Dual Sync
Engine Management ACCEL DFI with FAST EDIST controlling GM truck smart coils
Power Adder ProCharger F-1R supercharger
Intercooler Custom intercooler and plumbing by Corvette Conspiracy
Maximum Boost 19 psi
Exhaust System Corvette Conspiracy custom 2-in headers with 3.5-in collectors, Flowmaster 3-in mufflers
Transmission Rockland Gear Tranzilla six-speed manual
Clutch McLeod triple disc
Suspension '96 Corvette C4 front and rear with rack-and-pinion steering and QA1 coilovers
Rearend Dana 44 with 3.70 gears
Front Brakes C6 Z06 with Corvette Conspiracy adapters
Rear Brakes C6 Z06 with Corvette Conspiracy adepters
Wheels Boze Forged (18x8.5 front, 19x9.5 rear)
Front Tires BFGoodrich g-Force 225/45-18
Rear Tires BFGoodrich g-Force 225/45-18
Fuel Octane 93

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