James Politino 1969 C3 CORVETTE

GETTING THE KEYS TO THIS STINGRAY FULFILS A LONG-HELD AMBITION

WORDS ē PHOTOS GUY ALLEN

I picked this up fairly recently Ė this year. The previous owner had done a big body-off resto The original colour was yellow but the car was red when he got it and there was a layer of blue in there somewhere as well.

Itís been done in a custom variant based on the VZ Clubsport colour, so itís a little brighter than the original.

Originally it was a 427 big block, manual, but it had no hood or engine when the previous owner started work! He got a crate 350 stroked out to 383 with mild mods such as lifters and cams, Longreach headers and a custom stainless exhaust system.

They went all-out on the interior, with new leather for the seats, fresh roof lining new door cards and a lot of work.

He went for the rally wheels, which was a good choice, and of course you have to have the Goodyear T/A tyres!

Both the wiring and the vacuum system were gone over. Iím told the latter can be a hassle on these things, so itís good to have a set-up thatís been given the once-over.

The black piece on the hood may not look familiar to people - itís been custom fabricated to fit the air cleaner underneath.

These cars have a reputation for being difficult to reassemble as the fibreglass panels can be a pain to realign. This oneís very good. Thereís a hint of rubbing on one of the doors, but thatís probably the best compromise you could get. Itís protected by tape and it can always be touched up.

When I was in the market, I particularly wanted a manual Why a Stingray? I always wanted a muscle car. Iíve owned a few De Loreans - as nice and different as they are, theyíre a long way from being muscle cars. So I was looking at for a C3 chrome bumper, which means 68 to 72, or a 69 Camaro or 60s fastback Mustang. The fastbacks have gone up a lot and were getting beyond the budget. One I looked at was full of rust and had repair panels pop-rivetted on. It was going to be 30-40 grand to repair.

These C3s are really good value. The previous owner of this car had put a lot of effort into it and buying it was as much an interview as it was a transaction. I think I convinced them that I would look after it.