Big-Block-Powered Custom 1967 Chevy Corvette

By Nick Licata   –   Photography by Wes Allison

A lot of things go down with a school-age kid that influence what happens later in that young person’s life. Between studying geography, math, and science, a 12-year-old George Abittan was also studying the anatomy of his older brother Simon’s ’67 Chevy Corvette he owned during his college-age years. A young George was mesmerized by the sleek body lines of that C2 Corvette. And of course, he looked up to his older brother, which had a big influence on his taste in muscle cars and his infatuation with the Corvette.

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But George’s first dive into a classic muscle car wasn’t a Corvette. At age 15 he set out to purchase a ’69 Road Runner without telling his dad. Ironically, his dad’s girlfriend co-signed for the car that George made payments on but never got to take home. “I was paying $50 a month on the car, and when I was close to paying the $1,700 in full my dad found out and squashed the deal, so I never even got to bring it home,” George tells. “I was totally bummed.”

006 Performance upgraded 1967 Corvette Stingray rear angle vivid blue sky

Read More: Chevy Concepts — 1963 Chevrolet Corvette

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Eventually, George got past the botched Road Runner purchase and moved onto owning numerous other muscle cars throughout his life, but he was never able to shake the image of his brother’s Corvette. Years later he and his son were watching The Fate of the Furious  and both were digging the red C2 Corvette with Michelle Rodriguez’s character Letty Ortiz behind the wheel. The car was sporting a widebody with fat tires all around and that brought George back to his brother’s ’67 and the idea for his next build—the same one he’d wanted since he was 12.

007 Black 1967 Corvette Stingray rear three quarter view gold rims desert road

With the Corvette fresh on his mind, George picked up one in decent shape and hauled it over to Dustin Hacker and the crew at Nostalgia Hot Rods (NHR) in nearby Henderson, Nevada, for a full makeover. According to George, he and Dustin share a similar vision when it comes to building cars. “Most of my cars have a common trait in that they must be wide and low,” George states. “Dustin has the same taste, so the first idea was to turn this Corvette into a widebody beast. Throughout the build process I would come up with an idea and Hacker would totally play off it and make it happen exactly how I had envisioned.”

010 rear view 1967 Corvette Stingray black finish custom gold trim

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The NHR crew tastefully fattened up the body (14 inches up front and 16 inches out back) careful not to cross the line and “overcook” it, then prepped the bulbus Vette to perfection prior to dousing the body in a decadent layer of R-M black paint that looks as deep as the car is wide thanks to the multiple layers of R-M clearcoat and Haker’s insane attention to detail. “I’ve seen Dustin in action, and his quality control is off the charts,” George says. “If there is one subtle blemish in any aspect of a build, he’ll do it over until it’s right. That’s just how he and his team operate. It’s what makes his builds stand out above and beyond most anything else out there.”

009 1967 Corvette Stingray Restomod front facing golden stripe clear day

Read More: Mike Dorvillier’s 1963 Corvette

Custom touches include NHR-made stinger hood scoop, modified factory bumpers, and Ringbrothers outside mirrors. George subscribes to keeping a good balance between custom nuances and original ancestry with most of his cars. Yes, he could have gone with more over-the-top, one-off bits on the Corvette, which is quite possible with the talented NHR crew, but that wasn’t the plan for this car.

011 Detailed engine view 1967 Corvette Stingray Restomod gold induction trumpets

That objective also lies under the hood in which the NHR gang shoehorned a 427ci big-block between the ’rails and topped it with a vintage-looking FiTech GO Stack injection system. “This engine actually came out of a ’69 Camaro that Hacker was building for a customer at the shop. The Camaro owner wanted to go with a huge horsepower, twin-turbo LS, so I snagged up the big-block as it was a perfect fit for this build,” George states. “I have other cars with big power, but with this engine coming in at about 550 hp to the tires, it makes a nice street driver that behaves well in pretty much any situation, which is one of the reasons I wanted to build this car. Oh, and it looks totally badass.”

024 ndercarriage view 1967 Corvette custom suspension gold and black contrast

The original chassis was swapped for an Art Morrison GT Sport chassis, which offers increased chassis stiffness, increased caster adjustability, modern steering, and, as advertised, comes with a choice of two available ride heights: low and very low. That chassis is also armed with AME’s Multilink IRS complete with Strange Engineering double-adjustable coilover shocks, providing superior handling performance. George prefers a manual shifting experience so a TREMEC T-56 six-speed transmission mates up to a McLeod SFT twin-disc clutch and onto a Strange 12-bolt carrier armed with 3.90 gears.

022 detailed wheel shot 1967 Corvette Restomod gold forged wheels red calipers

Read More: 1963 Chevrolet Corvette – Vehicle build by Crown Concepts, Tucson, Arizona

A set of Wilwood binders reside on all four corners for maximum stopping performance and look stellar inside the 19-inch custom gold-painted Forgeline MS3C Concave wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero rubber. The unique wheel color commands attention and coincides with the car’s black paint and gold hood stripe.

017 Interior shot 1967 Corvette Stingray carbon fiber details manual transmission

A visit inside reveals a fiberglass dash by Dashworks wrapped in carbon fiber by NHR and populated with Dakota Digital RTX gauges that fit Corvette’s classic style. The matching NHR custom carbon-fiber door panels and center console continue a performance theme while showcasing the NHR’s ability to articulate tasteful artistry inside and out. The NHR crew also modified the stock seats and wrapped them in black leather and stingray-logo suede inserts that provide a comfy ride while conforming with the cockpit’s overall arrangement. Other modern features include a Billet Specialties steering wheel, ididit steering column, Lokar pedals, and a Ringbrothers shifter handle. A Vintage Air HVAC system keeps the climate in check with the Gen 4 control panel perched in the dash just below the Rockford Fosgate head unit.

004 Custom Black 1967 Corvette Stingray golden rims side view on gravel

Read More: Split Window

“I’ve been in the classic car scene for over 30 years now, and I’ve had and still have numerous vintage cars in my collection, some are built for over-the-top shock value, but this ’67 Corvette is a driver,” George surmises. “It’s wide, it’s low, and carries a ton of attitude. Exactly how I wanted it.”

008 Custom built 1967 Corvette Stingray side profile gold wheels open road

TECH CHECK
Owner: George Abittan, Henderson, Nevada
Vehicle: ’67 Chevy Corvette

Engine
Type: Chevrolet Bowtie 427
Displacement: 427 ci
Compression Ratio: 10.7:1
Bore: 4.125 inches
Stroke: 4.0 inches
Induction: FiTech GO Stack
Exhaust: Nostalgia Hot Rods custom headers with 2 1/8-inch primary tubes, baffled 3-inch side exhaust
Ancillaries: NHR custom aluminum valve covers, Concept One pulley system, Ron Davis aluminum radiator, custom stainless fuel tank
Output: 550 rwhp

Drivetrain
Transmission: TREMEC T-56 Magnum
Clutch: McLeod twin disc
Rear Axle: Strange Engineering 12-bolt rearend, Truetrac limited-slip differential, GM 3.90 gearset

Chassis
Chassis: AME GT Sport chassis
Front Suspension: AME IFS, tubular upper and lower control arms, Strange double-adjustable shocks, Hyperco springs
Rear Suspension: AME IRS, Strange double-adjustable shocks, Hyperco springs
Brakes: Wilwood 14-inch rotors, six-piston calipers front and rear, Wilwood master cylinder, Wilwood proportion valve

Wheels & Tires
Wheels: Gold Forgeline MS3C Concave (19×12 front, 19×13 rear)
Tires: Pirelli 325/30R19 front, 355/30R19 rear

Interior
Upholstery: Black loop carpet, custom carbon-fiber door panels and center console
Installation: Nostalgia Hot Rods (Henderson, NV)
Seats: Modified stock wrapped in leather with stingray logo suede inserts
Steering: Ididit steering column, Billet Specialties steering wheel
Shifter: Ringbrothers
Dash: Custom fiberglass by Dashworks with carbon-fiber wrap by Nostalgia Hot Rods
Instrumentation: Dakota Digital RTX
Pedals: Lokar
Wiring: American Autowire installed by Nostalgia Hot Rods
HVAC: Vintage Air
Entertainment System: Rockford Fosgate head unit, amplifier, 5×6-inch speakers (four), subwoofer

Exterior
Bodywork and Paint: Nostalgia Hot Rods
Paint: R-M black
Grille: Factory
Front Bumper: Factory modified
Rear Bumper: Factory modified
Hood: Factory with custom hood scoop
Headlights: Holley Retrobright
Taillights: Digi-Tails
Side Mirrors: Ringbrothers

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of Big-Block-Powered Custom 1967 Chevy Corvette.

acp february 2024

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