Corvette Transformation

My entire childhood featured a revolving door of awesome cars. My dad bought, sold and traded a lot, so he always had a yard full of cars. And with his bodywork and paint skills, he started bringing in full on restorations and street rod builds. The Corvette I’m posting pictures of today is one of the most impressive transformations I’ve seen him perform.

Corvette Fender Flare Wheel Well repair

The starting point–a completely butchered ’65 Corvette roadster.

Corvette Fender Flare Wheel Well repair

Yikes…and to make matters worse, someone had stripped the paint down to the bare ‘glass.

The car is a ’65 Corvette convertible, and we actually had a small window of opportunity to buy this car last year. Instead, one of dad’s longtime friends, Bill Sims bought it and commissioned my dad to work it over. So my dad still got to put his hands on an old Corvette, which is always pleasure for him.

Corvette Fender Flare Wheel Well repair

At least the original headlight assemblies were still intact.

Corvette Fender Flare Wheel Well repair

The person responsible for this massacre should have their cut-off wheel privileges taken away.

Like many Midyear Corvettes, this one had been butchered at some point as an unsuccessful attempt at fabricating fender flares left it with huge wheel openings. It rolled in on a set of slotted mags, 15×8 up front and 15×10 on the rear, so you can imagine the looks that most people gave it. What most people didn’t know was that my dad could make this car look good in a matter of one week. When it comes to fiberglass, he can do anything.

Corvette Fender Flare Wheel Well repair

New patches are now in place, ready to be ‘glassed into the body.

So, he ordered a full set of wheel well repair panels from ACI (American Custom Industries), which really come in handy for projects such as this one. Other companies like Ecklers and Mid-America offered “repair kits” for C2 wheel openings, but their panels didn’t offer enough surface area to repair this big of a fender flare. So after I did some research, I told my dad that ACI was the only place that had what he needed.

Corvette Fender Flare Wheel Well repair

The patches for the rear wheel wells are actually quarter panel skins that have been trimmed to fit. He used a grinder to feather the edge of the patch panel and then filled the transition with fiberglass mat and resin.

My dad doesn’t always go “by the book” on certain stuff, so his installation process may differ from many others who have performed this task. First and foremost, any other builder would have replaced the entire quarter panels and front fender panels, but the budget didn’t allow for it. So my dad attached the wheel wells, using a special bonding adhesive. Instead of trying to splice in the new panels to the existing fiberglass, he overlapped the new panels, and filled the transition with fiberglass mat and resin.

Corvette Fender Flare Wheel Well repair

After filling the transition and straightening the original panels, he coated the body in high build primer.

Corvette Fender Flare Wheel Well repair

Another shot of the primed panels.

From there, the body required very little routine bodywork, and then a couple rounds of priming and block-sanding. Bright red paint was then applied and later sanded and buffed for a slick finish. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to do a photo shoot on the car, because Bill sold it a couple months after finishing the car. Anyway, just figured I would show a great transformation, and the fact that anything is possible with fiberglass!

Corvette Fender Flare Wheel Well repair

After the body was painted, my dad sanded and buffed the fresh materials for a slick finish.

Corvette Fender Flare Wheel Well repair

And here’s the finished product….not bad for a few weeks of work! Sure wish I had been able to get some decent pictures of the car before it was sold!

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One thought on “Corvette Transformation

  1. Great work. I have a similar flare replacement project I am about to start. Do you have any other pics of the front fender post patch but pre paint?

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