Just as there’s no one classic car that is everyone’s favorite, there are various approaches to restoration. For example, some car enthusiasts expect originality to be maintained above all else, while others want all the latest technology, but in a vintage body style. Unlike other shops that specialize in only specific types of restorations, RK Motors’ Performance Center can handle any kind of project, regardless of its scope. Gerry Notara, who is vice president of the Performance Center, provided an inside look at two restorations currently in progress. One will maintain the car’s originality, inside and out, and the other will upgrade the car’s on-road performance, while preserving its outward appearance. Two very different jobs but with the same goal in mind: creating quality classic cars, to the unique specifications of the owners.
1967 Corvette Convertible: Keeping It Original
Upon entering the shop, I saw a blue body shell of a 1967 Vette sitting high on top of a two-post lift. The car’s original frame and running gear sat on the floor, alongside a brand new frame. When the Performance Center team completes this restoration, the owner will have a 1967 Corvette Convertible, as if it just rolled off the assembly line.
Gerry explained that although the car’s body is like-new, the frame needed to be replaced due to significant corrosion damage. The new frame was special ordered, with the requirement that it exactly replicate the original. This meant that every weld, stamping, and dimension had to match the factory specification.
The next step for the shop will be to transfer all the number-matching running gear to the new frame, and then reinstall the body. Since this car came equipped with the small block 327 cubic inch motor, and because originality rules, at least for this particular car, no upgrades will be made to the engine. The “mouse motor,” as well as all other GM-supplied equipment, will remain.
Once completed, the owner plans to pursue the coveted Corvette Top Flight award, which recognizes “excellence in the areas of restoration, performance, or preservation.”
1968 Mustang Shelby GT500: Making It Bad-to-the-Bone
Let me say upfront, for the Mustang purist, no Shelbys were harmed in this build.
A car dressed in Ford Red, with white Le Mans stripes, and looking very much like a 1968 Shelby GT500, sat on jack stands in another part of the shop. As is usually the case, every classic car has a story, and Gerry was able to share the unique history of this car. In the beginning, it was a real-deal big block Shelby Mustang, but unfortunately, one of its former owners let the body deteriorate to the point that it was beyond repair. A subsequent owner restored this iconic Shelby by replacing the entire body with a Dynacorn 1968 Mustang shell. The exterior was fully “Shelbyized,” with scoops, spoilers, fiberglass hood, and front facial, as well as all Shelby badging. The cloning job, which included a complete Shelby look-alike interior, was a high-quality tribute to the original. However, the current owner has decided that he wants the ultimate Shelby, with more power and the latest handling technology. This will require a major rebuild, with state-of-the-art equipment. So the first task for RK Motors’ Performance Center was to remove all the original running gear components, suspension, and exhaust system, leaving only the replacement body shell, with the interior. Next, they cut out the front shock towers for more engine room, similar to the mods made for the Boss 429. However, instead of settling for just a 429 cubic inch semi hemi engine, this pony received an all-aluminum, fuel injected Jon Kaase Boss 527 power plant. Of course, this is only the beginning of the good stuff going into this build. Here are some other modifications and upgrades to this one-of-a-kind Shelby Boss.
• Manual 6-Speed D&D transmission
• 15″ front disc brakes/14″ rear disc brakes with Baer 6 piston calipers
• 18″ wheels with period correct look
• Detroit Speed Aulumiframe front suspension and Detroit Speed Quadra link rear suspension
• Custom built headers (multi-piece design)
On the outside, this car will look like a stock Shelby GT500, with the only possible giveaway being its large 18″ wheels. Of course, one look under the hood, at the massive Mountain Motor, and you’ll know, this Shelby is anything but stock. Its debut will be at the April Mustang 50th Anniversary bash in Charlotte, and if you’re lucky enough to be on the Hot Rod Power Tour 2014 Run from Charlotte to Wisconsin, this car will be part of the convoy headed north.
Two radically different restoration jobs: a 1967 Corvette destined to lead a pampered life on the classic car show circuit, and a bad-to-the-bone 1968 Shelby look-a-like built to be driven — hard.
For a 360 walk around of the work-in-progress on the Shelby Boss 527, see eClassicAutos’ video.