As Mike McComas told us, "When I went to high school in Sheridan, Wyoming, a guy named Donnie Davies had a yellow '66 425-horse 427 Vette coupe with side pipes and knock off wheels. All my life I've loved the looks of that car."
Mike eventually got a '66 Sunfire Yellow coupe, just like the one he longed for in high school. But, his didn't have a big-block under the hood. So, over time, he added side pipes, knock-off wheels, and other trinkets to bring it more in line with his dream car vision. Still, one thing it was missing was the requisite big-block hood. Luckily for Mike, Corvette Central had a reproduction version on the shelf. Its hand-laid fiberglass hood is very close to the hard-to-find OEM hood and when properly prepped and painted will look like it came straight from the General. So follow along as we ratchet up the coolness factor of Mike's '66.
01. Corvette Central sent us this ’66 big-block hood, made by American Custom Industries (ACI) from a mold taken directly off a factory hood. This hood features the familiar large bulge down the center, cutout’s for the stock ’66 hood grilles, and dimples in the hood to drill holes for the stock “Corvette Sting Ray” medallion.
02. Mike’s small-block hood is original, featuring flat black on the underside. The “X” member is called the “retainer” and adds rigidity to the hood’s structure. Factory hoods were “press molded.” Therefore, the underside is smooth like the top of the hood.
03. In contrast, American Custom Industries puts down a gel coat in the mold and then hand lays the fiberglass inside the hood to expose raw fiberglass.
04. A minor difference in the ACI big block hood is the presence of this “channel” around the inner edge of the underside of the hood.
05. Some Mid-Year Corvettes (’63-’67) mount the hood support on the passenger side, while others mount the hood support on the driver side. To be compatible with all ’64-’67 models, ACI builds their reproduction hoods with a mounting boss for the hood support on both sides for the hood.
06. Transferring the pair of spring-loaded hood lock assemblies from the original hood to the reproduction hood is an easy with the supplied holes.
07. After putting down some green masking tape to protect the paint, Mike set the new hood in place to check fitment. What he found that the hood fit really well out-of-the-box, and only minor work would be needed to get it perfect.
08. Mike wanted the inside of his hood to be smooth, like his factory hood. So he sanded the fiberglass, starting with 36-grit. Then, he used spot putty, primer, 200-grit, and 400-grit paper before painting it flat black.
09. After using the 36-grit paper, Mike applied spot putty, then primer, and finally sanded with finer and finer grit sandpaper until the raw fiberglass was smooth, like a factory hood.
10. Mike also filled in the channels around the inside edge of the perimeter of the hood with fiberglass. Like smoothing out the raw fiberglass, this step is personal preference and not necessary.
11. Painting the hood was easy. First, Mike applied a coat of epoxy primer.
12. He then drilled holes, defined by dimples, in the corner of the hood for the stock factory “Corvette Sting Ray” emblem.
13. After the epoxy primer dried, Mike applied sealer.
14. Finally, with help from Brady Brodgin at R & B Body Shop in Pampa, Texas, Mike applied a few coats of factory Sunfire Yellow paint.
15. The underside of the hood, once raw fiberglass, is now smooth and painted flat black, just like the original factory hood.
16. It was then time for Mike to install a pair of left and right hood grilles.
17. Both grilles attached to the new hood on the bottom side, just like on a factory hood.
18. The “Corvette Sting Ray” medallion from the small block hood is the same one used on the big block hood. He simply pressed the emblem into the holes and secured it with nuts on the underside.
19. The stock hood support was reused on the passenger side.
20. Like the hood support Mike also reused the original male hood lock assemblies.
21. The hood fit very well the first time, but was just a little low. Mike’s friend, Brady Brogdin, adjusted the hood lock assemblies so the hood set up a little higher.