The body had already been off the car and the chassis refurbished. It had also been upgraded with a Herb Adams handling kit. This included solid A arm bushes and the biggest sway bars I had ever seen. Great for the track but would have been awful on the street. We rebuilt the suspension with polyurethane bushes throughout to give a better ride, and freshened up the paint on the chassis.
We then set about straightening out some of the damage to the structure. The right hand windshield pillar had been pushed in and this took some work to get right. When the repair was finished we took a mould of the windshield bodywork off another car and made a panel to be let in.
And this is how it all starts, the new front end gets hung on there so we can see what a Grand Sport is going to look like. The body panels were not particularly good quality and really took some fitting.
This shows the rear section laid out at the rear of the car. I seem to recall we were trying to decide which end to do first!
And now I can’t remember which end won that argument. Here is the car with the front and rear bodywork bonded into place. Looking awesome already!
The dash moulding was very tricky to get right, the panel came oversize and needed trimming to size. It also needed trimming for the dash cluster to fit. This was easier said than done because of the difficulty in getting the panel in the car and knowing just how much to take off so it was a slow process.
We also had to extend the centre piece so it would reach the transmission tunnel.
The instrument cluster was stripped and repainted black. We didn’t pick out the chrome accents around the gauges to give it more of a race car look.
Next was the hood louvers. The high rise hood kit came with a louver kit but they were just terrible. Ronni had to remake most of them which was very time consuming but as usual she did a superb job and the end result was stunning.
We also mocked up the headlight setup and Ronni made the brackets to hold the plexiglass headlight covers in place.
By this time we were really getting an idea how this car was going to look, it was all coming together very nicely. We cut the holes in the rear upper fender for the functional brake cooling ducts and let them in.
We also cut the holes for the side fenders and fitted the fender trims, again these needed to be remade as the fit of the supplied items was very poor.
The side pipes were originally black which we had ceramic coated white.
And after all the hard work that you cant see, its time for paint.
What a difference! The car is looking amazing
Starting to really take shape now. Getting some trim on the car gives us a real boost. We spend so long on the dusty mucky stuff that when it all comes together it is a real joy.
Take the hood louvers for example, they must have been fitted and removed 20 times during their manufacture, test fits, masking for paint, and then the final fit, those stripes don't paint themselves you know!
Oh My! The GS replica wheels were custom made for us and were a nightmare to get hold of, they were also a jaw dropping price, but are the only wheels that can be fitted to one of these. Note the LeMans style filler cap, that took some doing…
The park lights and tail lights are factory units cut down and then fitted with new lenses and we hand made the grille from aluminium stock. The amount of work that goes into these one off projects is mind blowing.
But this makes it all worthwhile.
I was very pleased with the interior of this car, I wanted a race car for the street feel about it with lots of exposed fasteners and toggle switches. We custom made the door panels in the style of the original Grand Sport cars with heat welded pleat lines and custom made the carpet and console covering.
I particularly like the satin finish we did on the dash.
Here are a few detail shots.
Ronni made the headlight cover retainers from aluminium and Chris had them anodised blue. The covers took a good deal of work to trim and get the fit as good as this.
Number 11 was the race number of Chris’ son Richard, whose favourite hotwheels toy was the inspiration behind this wonderful car.
And a few of this monster on the road.
Phase 2 of this rebuild took place the following year. Having had a bit of use from the car there were a few areas Chris wanted to improve upon.
One was to add an extra gear to make motorway speeds a bit more comfortable. A Tremec 5 speed transmission was installed. These are a lovely upgrade, and if you can get over the cost, it is absolutely the way to go.
Next was a set of Edelbrock aluminium heads and a new cam, sometimes those big blocks just aint big enough!
The ceramic coat on the exhaust was not holding up too well so Chris tried powder coating them. We wrapped the headers with an insulating material, one of my hobbies is cycling and my handlebar wrapping experience paid off here…..
Phase 3 was an upgrade to power brakes. Corvette brakes are superb, but they gotta be assisted baby! As usual though it wasn’t straight forward. One of the hood louvers fouled the master cylinder and had to be reshaped and then repainted.
Not only that, the valve cover fouled on the booster, the rockers were too tall to replace them with stock Corvette valve covers and try as we might I couldn't find anything that would work with this particular combination. The only option was to modify what we had. We cut the corner off the existing valve cover and then set too making a fillet piece that would give us rocker clearance and booster clearance. I had this piece welded in and then painted the valve covers satin black.
And after all that the new cam didn't make enough vacuum to operate the power brakes satisfactorily so the original cam was reinstalled. If only the car had had power steering we could have used a hydroboost system. The improvement in braking was worth the effort though.
This is a very special car to me. It was never meant to be an exact Grand Sport replica, the whole project was based on a hotwheels toy and I really dig that. The car looked like you could pick it up and zoom it round the carpet like I did when I was a kid!