1961 Corvette: A Subtle Yet Impressive Build with Modern Touches

There are builds out there that are over-the-top and then there are builds that are a little more subtle. Kathy Lange’s 1961 Corvette is certainly more on the subtle side with a virtually stock looking exterior, but that doesn’t mean that it took any less time to perfect for builder Bobby Alloway and his crew at Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop in Tennessee.

We got word of this beautiful build through our friends at the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association who spotted it in Alloway’s booth at the 7th Nashville Nationals. Once we saw this beauty, we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to get in touch with Alloway to get the scoop on this C1 creation.

Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop has been building stellar rods since 1991, but Alloway tells us, his hot rod projects started long before back in the 1970s.

With years of experience and a tuned eye for immaculate designs, Alloway has produced many award-winning cars including ones that have gone on to win such accolades as the Ridler Award, America’s Most Beautiful Hot Rod designation and the Goodguys Street Machine of the Year Award.

Lange’s Corvette is a bit different from Alloway’s typical builds, however, but it’s impressive nonetheless. Lange’s husband has several cars built by Alloway, including a ’57 T-bird that won the 2004 Goodguys Street Machine of the Year Award, so when Lange wanted a more street-friendly car of her own, Alloway obliged.

“She wanted a car she could get in and drive,” Alloway told us.

The attention to detail on Lange's Corvette is astonishing. From the body lines to the way the chassis fits up under the car, there is no denying this is a piece of artwork.

The project came about with Lange’s original 1961 Corvette fuelie car not being very forgiving to drive, so Alloway created a similar car that was a bit more user friendly. To do so, Alloway put his skills of mixing modern technology with classic cars to work and produced the optimal pleasure car for his customer.

As everyone knows, the first step to a comfortable ride is a world-class chassis and suspension system, so the Corvette sits on a full Art Morrison chassis that was built to Alloway’s specifications, including an Art Morrison coilover suspension system.

This is strapped to 1963 “knock off” 8-inch wheels that are wrapped in a set of Redline tires specially made for the car. For stopping power, the Corvette is complimented with Wilwood brakes on all four corners while the rearend is a Ford 9-inch setup.

To fit the wheel and tire combination, Alloway’s had to modify the rear wheel tubs and inner wheel wells of the Corvette a bit, but you’d never notice without taking a closer look. The stance of the Corvette is virtually identical to a factory 1961 Corvette, bringing the appeal of both new and old school designs in one killer combination. Alloway’s also paid close attention to getting every bit of the chassis and body to marry up perfectly so nothing rubs when the car turns.

Although this isn't a factory engine, it still looks relatively tame for what it is. And thanks to a modified engine bay, it sits quite nicely under the hood.

With details like that, you know there’s bound to be something good under the hood. Powering this classic Corvette is a 383ci engine with FAST fuel injection, which Alloway tells us produces 425 HP. Just like the rest of the car, a lot of work went into preserving a relatively factory look, with nothing too over the top. That’s why the car maintains things like the stock ignition shielding in the modified engine bay.

The engine is tied to a manual transmission that not only keeps with the theme of the car, but also provides what some may call the true driving experience.

To give the car a little more flair, Alloways took out the seats and reupholstered them in blue leather, which compliments the blue carpeting, dash, steering wheel, center console and door panels. To top it off, the car was painted in Glacial Blue, a light blue hue borrowed from the modern Aston Martin offerings and given a blue Hartz Cloth top for less than ideal roadster driving weather.

There is no denying the beauty of this car with everything, even the modern performance upgrades, tied so immaculately together. So what was Alloway’s favorite part of the year build project?

“Making her [Lange] happy and building the car she wanted,” he told us. With a car like this, we’re sure Lange couldn’t be happier.

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About the author

Lindsey Fisher

Lindsey is a freelance writer and lover of anything with a rumble. Hot rods, muscle cars, motorcycles - she's owned and driven it all. When she's not busy writing about them, she's out in her garage wrenching away. Who doesn't love a tech-savy gal that knows her way around a garage?
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