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Corvette Chassis - Getting Sideways

One of a kind...

K. Scott Teeters Feb 21, 2012
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Kevin Mackay, owner of Corvette Repair in Valley Stream, New York, is at it again. Mackay and his team of highly skilled craftsman have performed award-winning Corvette restorations for more than 25 years. Along the way, they've also created some of the most distinctive Corvette display pieces around, including the '67 427/435 L71 Drivable Chassis, the Suspended-Body '67 427/435 L71 Roadster, the '68 L88 Cut-Away Road Racer, and the '69 See-Thru L88 Corvette.

While the "sideways" C3 chassis shown here wasn't conceived as a display, it did make a big splash when it appeared at the NCRS National Convention in Novi, Michigan, last summer. The car is Indianan Ed Foss' very rare '71 454 ZR2 in a state of partial restoration.

The ZR2 option was only offered for the '71 model year, and it included heavy-duty brake, suspension, and cooling hardware, along with the 454ci LS6. A total of 12 cars were produced, of which seven are currently accounted for. Foss' car is one of two ZR2s exported to Canada.

While Mackay was working on the restoration for Foss, he had the opportunity to acquire the special rack that makes this display method possible. He explains, "I was at a Barrett-Jackson show a few years ago, and there was a new Ford Mustang that was displayed sideways on a very unique rack. I just loved the display, so I took about 500 photos. After a lot of phone calls, we were lucky enough to find the guy who designed and built the rack, and were able to buy one."

The mounting plates attached to the dollies bolt onto the front and rear hubs. Mackay then uses an engine hoist to slowly lift the chassis up and into its vertical position. The process takes about 30 minutes for lifting or lowering. Once the chassis is in position, the rear outriggers stabilize it. The resulting display makes it possible to view the ZR2's chassis as never before--straight down from the top and straight up from the bottom. You can see chassis, engine, and suspension details much like you would in the top view of a draftsman's three-view technical illustration.

Foss' ZR2 was built on May 28, 1971, as a Canadian-export Corvette. Mackay says that when the Brands Hatch Green car arrived at his shop, it was complete but very rough. "The car had been street raced, left outside, neglected, [and] beat, but it was at least complete. A super-rare car like this is definitely worthy of a full restoration."

In addition to the ZR2 package, the car was equipped with the LS6 454/425 engine, F41 suspension, GV8 differential carrier, G81 Positraction rear, J50 heavy-duty brakes, M22 four-speed heavy-duty manual transmission, PT1 F70x15 blackwall tires, V01 heavy-duty aluminum radiator, YE2 4.11 rear axle, ZK8 label tire pressure, W84 additional fuel delivery, and Z49 mandatory Canadian base-equipment modifications. The ZR2 and LS6 options cost $1,747 and $1,221 respectively, bringing the total price of the car to approximately $7,500.

The appearance of Foss' '71 ZR2 chassis at the NCRS National Convention in July wasn't its only brush with fame. Mackay also showed it at the Corvettes at Carlisle Show in August and the Muscle Car Nationals in November.

"The response to the car and the sideways display was amazing," he says. "People just loved being able to walk completely around the car. It was very educational."

Meanwhile, back at the shop, the rest of the parts to this rare machine were getting the full Corvette Repair treatment, with the ultimate goal of taking the entire car back to as-new condition. Once it's completed, Foss hopes to pursue the Corvette trifecta of wins in NCRS, Bloomington Gold, and Muscle Car Nationals competition.



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