I pretty much drive the hell out of it," Bill Pierceall told us about his '60 Corvette. "That's the reason I built it." We can't argue with that. The car's current '60/C4 hybrid form absolutely lends itself to hard and frequent driving, and it gets plenty of it-everything from coast-to-coast treks to banzai runs in the Silver State Classic Challenge. But, even before the Vette's modernization, Pierceall drove the '60 a lot. In fact, the Newark, California, resident has racked up over a half-million miles during the 31 years he's owned his favorite ride, and with the car's recent modifications, he may rack up a half-million more.
The long-term relationship started in 1970, when a "friend of a friend" was looking to sell his '60 Vette. Bill bought the 10-year-old, 120,000-mile Corvette a few days later, and used it as his daily driver for the next three years. In 1973, with over 200,000 miles on the clock the solid-axle was treated to its first major rebuild, with "everything" mechanical being redone, along with brakes, front suspension, upholstery, and paint. The two biggest changes were sliding in a '70 LT-1, and changing the exterior hues from black and silver to blue.
By 1986, Bill's Vette was again totally worn out, showing just over 500,000 miles on the clock and in need of a total rebuild. He parked the car and started disassembling it, wanting to keep it as a driver. "After all the years and miles," he told us, "I couldn't handle the idea of it being any other way." With that settled, Bill faced another dilemma. He'd been "spoiled" by the good ride, brakes, and handling of his '92 ZR-1. With the rebuild of his '60, he had an important goal: "No more driving like a drunken shopping cart."
The perfect solution came when Bill read about Paul Newman
Car Creations and their C4 suspension, brake, and steering grafts on solid-axle Vettes. Bill immediately delivered the '60 to Alf Eberoth at Performance Automotive in Seaside, California, as a rolling shell. Eberoth and crew removed the body and sent the frame to Newman's facility.
Newman went to work, modifying the old solid-axle frame to accept late C4 suspension systems fore and aft including a complete '96 Grand Sport front instead of "normal" C4 pieces. "How could I resist the 13-inch front rotors and stronger black calipers?" Bill thought. He went with the whole GS package: 17x9.5-inch wheels up front, and 11s out back. Of course, that meant that the rear tires would be much too wide for the stock rear fenders. So.
Eberoth's shop got to work on the body, removing the rear quarter-panels and widening them by 3 inches per side before they were reinstalled. The bumpers were recontured to fit the broader tail, making it hard to distinguish from stock (if you don't notice the 315/40ZR17 Goodyears under them, that is). Pierceall also had Eberoth widen the exhaust tube passageways, preparing them to accept 2-1/2-inch pipes, as well as 'glass in the cowl vent, fill in the front and rear emblem holes, remove the stainless cove trim pieces, and eliminate the chrome strips from the top of the front fenders. The headlight trim rings had a "peak" cut into them to keep the contours looking right.
When it came time to motor-vate his re-created '60, Pierceall found the perfect power source-a complete, brand new LT4 from GM. The engine was fitted with ceramic-coated shorty headers (which connect through a similarly coated exhaust to Flowmaster mufflers), Lingenfelter throttle body, and a K&N air filter. A reprogrammed '95 a new T56 six-speed. A custom mechanical drive was created to mate the T56 to the 1960-vintage speedometer. A 15-gallon fuel tank was fabricated with the proper pressure and return lines to feed the new powerplant, and a custom aluminum driveshaft carries the ponies back to the 3.92:1-geared rearend.