As with all things, there is a beginning and an end-and then sometimes a second beginning. Dave Vandegrift's '67 big-block is a fine example of this. Bought in 1971 from the original owner, Roy Beading of Zanesville, Ohio, the Vette came equipped with a 427/390, a Powerglide transmission, power brakes, power steering, power windows, and air conditioning, and it read just over 42,000 miles on the odometer. When the gas shortage hit, Dave almost sold his Sting Ray for $2,500 but changed his mind before any deals were struck. It sat covered in the garage for the next 10 years.
The next time Dave would drive it seriously, he was offered $30,000 cash on the spot. But, by then the Vette had only reached 57,000 miles and was a member of the family. In September of 2000, Dave had a life-threatening motorcycle accident and lost his left foot. Thankfully, the Corvette was an automatic so Dave had his daily driver-until the decision to restore the classic plastic was made and Corvette Restoration was contacted.
This month VETTE rounds out August's offerings with a second round of sandblasting-this time to the chassis itself. Having been separated from the body months ago, the frame is further prepped with the removal of the hardware, suspension, engine, transmission-everything. With the body moved, the frame takes its place and soon Dan Darst worked his magic on the '68's supporting structure. Along the way, Dan explained to Team Vette that it takes between 1 to 2 TONS of sand to blast a frame completely-and besides that, the obligatory rats and mice nests must be pulled from the frame itself. Over the years, Corvette Restoration has found everything from acorns to a gold coin, to a live snake from Alabama in the rear kickups.
With everything clean, inside and out, the chassis receives a coating of corrosion-resistant primer from owner Larry Bartley himself. After the frame has dried and Corvette Restoration has given it the proverbial once over, looking for missed spots, Larry will continue his work with a healthy does of GM Restoration Black paint. When all is said and done, the frame looks as good as new-and is just that! One thing worth mentioning is the discovery of factory shim marks. Here's what Loretta Bartley, Dan's wife and co-owner, had to say about this: "When the Corvettes were originally built, there was a machine that measured the frame. A worker would then mark each body mount with slash marks so that the assembly workers would know how many body shims were needed at each mounting point. After that, the correct amount of shims were installed and taped to the frame before the body was lowered onto the frame." Until next time!