The Right Stuf

Skin deep is just the start...

Drew Hardin Jul 21, 2005 0 Comment(s)
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It's rare to see the words "outrageous custom paint" and "driver" usedto describe the same car.

The two terms are fairly exclusive. Most whodrop serious coin on a make-you-stop-and-stare paint job aren't braveenough to risk said paint by--gasp--putting it on the road and in harm'sway.

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The Stuf Products Vette rolls on BFGoodrich g-Force KDW tires and WeldEvo rims--18s in front, 20s in back. Through the spokes, you can see thehybrid brake system, which consists of Baer EradiSpeed rotors andStainless Steel Brakes three-piston calipers.

Then again, most who go for the outlandish paint schemes don't havethe same resources as Dean Fueroghne. Name ring a bell? He's the manbehind Stuf Products, which means he has a veritable arsenal of beautysupplies at hand in case his '99 Vette gets grimed on the way to a show.

And by that we don't mean the putt-putt to the local burger joint for aFriday night cruise, though he's probably done that more than a fewtimes. No, by "driver" we mean that Dean has piloted his flamed Corvettehundreds of miles from Stuf's Pasadena, California, headquarters toplaces like the SEMA show in Las Vegas and to a Goodguys event in DelMar, down San Diego way. He also drove it to our photo shoot location,which meant about an hour of freeway time, followed by seriouslypotholed side streets and a graded dirt road or two. Didn't faze him onebit. Whenever we stopped, he'd just get out and, joined by businesspartner Lesley Kays, wiped the car with Final Stuf detailing spray.(Lesley, it turns out, has a serious cleaning jones. While Wes wastaking pictures of Dean's stunt driving, she'd attack the criminallyoxidized chrome wheels on Wes' van to try to get them shiny again.Eventually she gave up, but not until all four rims had at least alittle sheen around the salt pitting.)

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The Magnuson twin-screw supercharger sits on an intercooler that'sintegrated with the intake manifold. Boost levels and timing vary withthe traction control settings; with the traction control switched on, it"feels like a stock engine, only louder," reports Stuf's Dean Fueroghne.Switch it off and you get the benefit of the engine's 600-plus horsesand more than 500 lb-ft of torque. "It's a good idea to leave thetraction control on," admits Dean. "It's easy to get in over your headpretty quickly with it off."

Dean has owned this Vette sinceit was new. It's his tenth Corvette, and he can trace his love affairwith America's sports car back to when he was little and his olderbrother owned a blue and white '53. Dean used his '99 as transportationfor a number of years, until he realized that his growing car carecompany could use its own promotional vehicle.

The car was originallyblack, and Dean's initial plan was to go the subtle route: pearl purpleover fresh black paint, with purple and black ghost flames. "But youcouldn't see it," Lesley said of the tint and graphics. "It wasessentially a black car, and it didn't work as a show car."

So, inApril, 2004, Dean started over. Illustrator Jason Hulst rendered a freshvision for the Vette that retained the old-school flame design but in ayellow-to-orange fade over metallic purple. Dean enlisted Mike Face'sCustom Paint in San Bernardino, California, to strip the old paint andshave the Vette of every emblem, save the lettering between thetaillights. Before executing Hulst's color scheme, Face also 'glassed inACI rear brake ducts and front bumper winglets, and custom-fit the ACIhigh-rise hood to the car.

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