Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Spirit of '76

As a teenager living in Milford, Utah back in 1976, I did not have the financial resources to own a Corvette. Even a beater. But for reasons unknown, I walked in the local Western Auto parts store one morning, and saw a new U.S.A. Bicentennial plate for sale.

Back in '76 there were tons of U.S. Bicentennial-related products available, but the commemorative tag was affordable and looked very cool in the eyes of a then, 16-year-old gearhead.

I can only imagine my plan was to use it for the car I was planning to purchase some day in the future, and it did grace the front bumper of my '71 Firebird Formula for a while. And after I sold that car, it sat on a shelf in my bedroom for many years.

But, unfortunately, after four decades and the many moves during that time, my U.S. Bicentennial plate was relegated to storage boxes and, eventually, lost.

A few days ago, by a fluke, I happened to come across one just like the one I used to own back in the day, or at least very similar, and I thought it would be great to have a period-correct accessory for my '76 Stingray. And for only twenty bucks, it was an easy decision.

Thank you for reading my '76 Corvette blog.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Adjusting the T-Top Panels

The gap between my T-tops was bugging the hell out of me. It was totally uneven being way wider at the front of the tops than at the rear.

I had to do something about it, and since I'd just replaced the weather rubber seals, what better opportunity to attempt this adjustment. I say "attempt" since it is not as easy as it seems.

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Corvette by any Other Name...

A while back at a local cruise, I noticed a young boy and his dad admiring my Vette. Actually, the kid was the one doing the admiring (he was 8 or 10-years-old). His dad was busy looking at his smart phone.

Anyway, since the kid obviously liked my car, I asked him if he'd like to sit in the driver's seat so his dad could take a pic of him at the controls, to which he eagerly agreed.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Replacing T-Top Panel Weatherstripping

Time, weather conditions, dirt and gravity will render any weatherstripping ineffective after a couple of decades, and the rubber seals on my '76's T-tops had hardened and become totally useless as far as keeping water out of the cabin.

And even though I do not drive my car when it's raining, you never know if you'll be caught in a downpour in Florida, so I want the seals to work properly.

Removing old weatherstripping is not difficult; as long as someone hasn't gone crazy with weatherstrip adhesive. Luckily, my T-tops only had some under the window top metal trim channel.

And since there's no use for old weather seals, I did not care if the stuff came off in pieces.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Front Bumper Alignment and Bodywork | DONE!

It took three weeks to get the front bumper cover aligned with the nose and fenders, plus getting the whole front end and hood repainted so everything matched properly.

While my Corvette was having the bodywork done, I took the opportunity to have the nose emblem and the alarm switch shaved, and I am very pleased with the results.

The only issue I still have to deal with is hood alignment, but since I am planning to have the motor rebuilt (which would require hood removal anyway), I will see if the shop can manage to get it to align—and close—properly.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Story of NASA Astronaut Alan Bean's 1969 Corvette

Even though Danny Reed was outbid back in 1971 as he attempted to own a piece of NASA's history, luck definitely was on his side as his $3,230 bid was accepted when the winner of the sealed-bid auction was unable to come up with the funds.

If Mr. Reed's account of how he became the owner of Alan Bean's Corvette is not the perfect example of serendipity, I don't know what is.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Abandoned, Neglected and Forgotten

I guess the owner of this '63 Sting Ray "split" at some point leaving the car to the elements. Why? It's anyone's guess.

Cryin' shame!

Photos of neglected, abused and abandoned Corvettes I find during my web travels.

Thanks for following!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Front Bumper Alignment and Bodywork | UPDATE 6/20/2016

The guys at the body and paint shop outdid themselves making sure the front bumper cover would align perfectly with the nose and fenders. And the color match is perfect so my car is looking better than ever.

Well, that is if you ignore the lousy repairs the previous owner did on the rear bumper. Needless to say, the rear end of the Vette will have to be taken care of eventually, but before I cross that bridge, I want to get the motor rebuilt so the car will run as good as it looks.

Here are a few photos I snapped this morning at the auto body shop.

Note: The bumperettes will be sprayed satin black and the hood still needs to be aligned a touch.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Badass Vettes

Photos of race or just badass Corvettes I find during my Internet travels.

Thank you for following my '76 Stingray blog!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Corvette News Magazine Artwork

There's something beautiful about line artwork from decades ago, when illustrators's drawings and paintings graced the covers and pages of factory brochures and—as in this case—the pages of Corvette News magazine.

According to the masthead, Corvette News was published by GM in Detroit. Not really sure if they're still around and—since I am mostly interested in gathering Corvette-related information from the 1970s—not that important.

A few days ago, while looking for some back issues of Corvette magazines on eBay, I came across a set of 1976 issues of Corvette News and, since the price was right, I decided to go ahead and get them.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Front Bumper Alignment and Bodywork | UPDATE 6/15/2016

Imagine my surprise when I stopped by the auto body shop this morning, only to find out they had redone the bumper cover and prepped the whole front of the car for paint, again.

They apologized and told me the owner of the shop was not pleased as to how the bumper fit with the nose of the car, so he decided to do a little more bodywork, realign the parts and re-prep everything.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

C3 Corvettes of Years Past

While looking through a couple of old photo albums that had been sitting in a drawer for many years, I found a couple of photos of the 1971 Corvettes I owned back in 1980 for a short while. Even at a young age I was flipping cars. Didn't make any money, but that's another story.

Although the photos are of very low quality, I went ahead and scanned them in order to preserve them digitally for years to come.

The Bridgehampton Blue '71 had slotted rims, while the Sunflower Yellow '71 sported Turbines and '69 side pipes, which look fantastic on any year C3. As far as engines are concerned, nothing worth writing home about, as they had the factory 270 horse 350 mills. And they both had auto transmissions.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Front Bumper Alignment and Bodywork | UPDATE 6/13/2016

The guys at the auto body shop painted the nose and bumper cover over the weekend, and everything's looking great. But now the hood looks like it could use a fresh coat of paint, so I asked him to take care of it since the car is at the shop anyway.

I know that I added a few extra days to this project, as well as more money, but sometimes you just have to go for it and have things done right.

By the way, they were in the process of fitting the bumper when I took these photos, hence the big gaps. Plus they also have to repaint the bumperettes semi-gloss black.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Front Bumper Alignment and Bodywork | UPDATE 6/10/2016

The nose and front bumper are prepped and ready for paint, but since I arrived early, the paint update will have to wait until next week.

But I am super happy with the fact that the unsightly alarm keyhole is no longer an issue. That ugly-looking thing has been shaved and it's now history. And the same goes for the big, Staples "Easy" button lookalike nose emblem!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Front Bumper Alignment and Bodywork | UPDATE 6/9/2016

I can only imagine the conversation that took place back in the day, that led to the decision by Corvette designers to have the alarm on/off keyhole installed in the front left fender, right next to the Stingray badge.

What were they smoking?

Since I stopped by the body shop this morning to see how things are coming along, I talked to the owner about getting rid of that eyesore for good, so they'll take it off, cap the wires and tuck them out of the way, and then patch the fender. That will be a great improvement and can't wait to see the finished product.

Motors: Crate of Rebuilt? That's the Question.

It's damn near impossible not to hear about the numbers-matching topic when talking about cars. And if you own (or are planning to purchase) a classic, this subject will come up at some point or another.

In the case of my 1976 Corvette, since the car is basically all original, the powerplant it came with from the factory is the original 350 cubic-inch Chevy motor. But, since it was built in 1976, it also has the original 185 horses of that era, although by now, it seems that at least half of them are suffering from emphysema. Yes, my Vette is a dog!

Plus, as many other C3s out there, leaks seem to be ever present. And try as I may, tough to eradicate. And lets not even open the burnt-oil stinky smell can of worms.

It is time to do something about all that!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Front Bumper Alignment and Bodywork | UPDATE 6/8/2016

The owner of the auto body shop that is doing the repairs and paint, sent me a couple of pics he shot this morning of the nose and front bumper of my Vette on primer.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Front Bumper Alignment and Bodywork | UPDATE 6/7/2016

The guys at the auto body shop in Longwood, Florida, wasted no time and started making the urethane bumper fit properly. This involved removing the bumper to check for any hidden damage which, fortunately, was not the case.

As the photo on the right shows, there were a couple of small cracks which will be properly repaired before the nose is assembled one last time, and some of the rivets will also be replaced.

Even though they just got started, the fit of the bumper is a hundred times better and they are making sure everything lines up perfectly, so it will look fantastic once they're done with it.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The "Rubber Bumper Corvette" Stigma

If I had to guess as to how the silliness about rubber bumper C3s—not being as desirable or valuable as their chrome bumper cousins—got started, I would have to guess that it coincided with the fuel crisis of the mid '70s, as American car manufacturers tried to comply with federal emission and safety mandates.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Getting the Front Bumper Professionally Aligned

The fact that the ill-fitting front bumper color does not perfectly match the rest of the body, has bugged me to no end since day one. So although the price tag to have it removed, reworked, and reinstalled properly—not to mentioned repainted the right shade of red—is significant, sometimes you just have to get things done.