Automotive personalization is a great concept within the hobby. Imagine if we all liked the same thing? It would be tough to get excited about a hundred red (insert make and model of car here) sitting at a car show or cruise night.
Gary Hayden of Warrenton, Virginia, definitely does not conform to the idea of having a car that looks like anyone else’s. Sure, a ’63 Corvette is liked by all, but Gary has definitely made his a standout, wherever it goes.
“I found the car listed on Craigslist in 2010,” Gary stated. “It needed a lot of work, but it was a ’63 that needed to be saved.” When any Corvette rebuild is begun, rust is not an issue to which Corvette bodies are plagued. But, cracks in the fiberglass body is an entirely different repair that is usually required. Gary’s Corvette had the usual body issues that needed addressed. Once it was deemed ready for color, Bruce Mullins sprayed an eye-searing shade of House of Kolor’s Ultra Orange and then added flames. For many, the paintjob alone would be enough to make the car stand out, but not Gary.
“The car is back-halved using the original frame rails, but there is chromoly tubing added in various places to increase rigidity,” Gary affirmed. “I’ve been into racing ever since I remember my dad doing it.” For that reason, Gary’s Corvette is just as capable on the track as it is the show field.
To make sure the ‘Vette was outfitted with the needed race-ready suspension items, Gary decided to use front upper and lower control arms from Global West, and front struts and rear coilovers from QA1. A manual rack-and-pinion steering system helps make maneuvering possible. Finally, Mickey Thompson Pro 5 wheels support Pro Trac 5.60-15 front tires and the rear Hoosier Quick Time Pros measuring 31 x 18.5-15, which can be turned to smoke on a whim.
Under the hood, you’ll find a Merlin Gen-X aluminum block filled with a Callies, 4.25-inch crankshaft and Manley rods building a 9.0:1 compression ratio with JE pistons. The 540-cube monster has the breathing controlled by a Bullet solid-lifter camshaft. Finally, a set of Airflow Research cylinder heads support a Hilborn EFI system metering the air and fuel mix sucked in by the 8-71 blower. Behind that is an FTI-built Turbo 400 and a Fab 9 rearend with 4.10 gears.
Gary’s ’63 Corvette is definitely over-the-top in the visual department, but it’s good looks are definitely outdone by the monster lurking under – and through the hood.