Shop proprietor Kerry Jamison was excited about the project. "The body was basically original, and the only piece we had to replace was the hood," he says. "Other than that, it had the normal stress cracks and age cracks typical of a midyear Vette." After a meticulous sanding-and-primering process, Jamison sprayed the car with four coats of Standox Tuxedo Black basecoat and three coats of Standox 2K Premium Clear Coat. "To make the look show quality, we wet-sanded the entire exterior with progressive grits of 1,200-2,000," he says.
Jamison also rebuilt the car's original M-20 close-ratio trans and Posi-traction rearend. To improve ride and handling, he borrowed parts from the '64 F40 heavy-duty suspension package, which included heavier front springs and shocks, along with a 1 1/8-inch front stabilizer bar. A heavy-duty composite rear monospring replaced the original leaf spring, and a big-block rear stabilizer bar was added. "The original drum braking system was retained but upgraded with all-new parts, including [the] master cylinder, stainless-steel brake lines and hoses, and a new power booster."
Engine-bay mods include a custom-made stainless air-induction system with a K&N air filter, GM-style horsepower decals on the valve covers, a DeWitts aluminum radiator and electric fan, and March billet-aluminum underdrive pulleys. Ignition is sourced from a MSD 8571 electronic distributor and directed through MSD Superconductor 8.5mm wires to AC Delco R44LTS plugs. Exhaust gases, meanwhile, are evacuated through Sanderson 1 3/4-inch ceramic-coated headers and into a set of stainless midyear side pipes. A TPIS speed-density computer handles the EFI and distributor functions.
The Vette's interior was restored to factory-correct condition, a process that included the freshening of the original gauges, clock, AM/FM Delco radio, glove box, and power windows. Other details include reproduction black-leather seat covers and door panels from Al Knoch, 80/20 loop black carpet, an upgraded teakwood steering wheel, and custom Corvette-logo floor mats. The exterior was accented with new GM Restoration Parts emblems, P40 cast-aluminum knock-off wheels, and Coker Classic Redline radials.
The restoration, which consumed 20 months from start to finish, netted fantastic results. "I can honestly say it could not have turned out any better," Long says. "It looks and drives better than my wildest expectations, and is better built than what the factory would have produced in '64. The fuel-injection unit provides immediate throttle response with gobs of power available at any speed, which makes for an awesome driving experience."
But aside from its new-age powerplant, Long's car remains mechanically faithful to the midyear formula. "By retaining the original frame, transmission, rear differential, and midyear suspension, the car actually drives much like a new '64 would have," he reckons. "I guess one could say I took delivery of a new '64 Corvette, 40-something years after its original birthday."
When asked if he would rush seafood to market in his '64 Corvette after blessing it with a second lease on life, Long laughs. "That's probably the most common question I get from those who have either seen the shark picture or know of my past. My standard answer among friends and certain acquaintances is, 'No, those days are long gone.' For the article, perhaps a more fitting answer would be, 'No, sir, I have since adopted a catch-and-release policy. And besides, I've found that a pick-up truck does a much better job. The only thing this beautiful Corvette hauls now is ass.'"