Body Off Restoration of 1964 Corvette Coupe – Part 4

Today was a grungy job day.  It was time to roll out the pressure washer and clean the bottom of the body.  I covered the walls, floor and the frame with plastic to minimize damage to the garage.  After the preparation was finished, it was time to transfer the dirt from the car to the garage floor and….me!!   Three hours later, the bottom was much cleaner than before.  I did discover the production number on the firewall.  There were some areas that had obviously been painted black over the years but no surprises.



In order to repair the rusted area at body mount #3 on the left side, I had to remove the fiberglass splash shield just ahead of the rear wheel.  It is bonded to the adjacent fiberglass.  With the combination of a scraper and a small chisel, I was able to remove it.  Now the rusty area is accessible for repair.





Slightly above the splash shield is the drain for the air ventilation system installed in 1964 and 1965 models only.  It appears that the hose that should connect with the air intake ducts above is missing.  Another reason water got into the #3 body mount area.




I also removed the inner seat belt reinforcement plates that are just behind the seats in the center of the car.  These inner plates also serve as body mounts and were rusted on my car.  They are held in place with rivets.  By grinding off the rivet on the bottom, I was able to remove the brackets.  I then used a punch to push the rivets through to the inside of the car.



I also removed the #4 rearmost body mount reinforcement as well.  Two of the six rivets had pulled away and the bolt broke off when we removed the body.  Once I had all of the rivets ground down, I had to cut off the bolt to remove the bracket.  The other rear bracket is marginal so I will be looking at it tomorrow to decide whether or not to replace it.



The stack of parts coming off the car and the motor was beginning to get in the way.  So today I spent some time cleaning up parts and doing some painting.  The base of the distributor was showing its years.  The brackets that the ignition shield is screwed to needed some TLC.  I also painted the rear strut rods and one of the body mount reinforcements that arrived without paint.  Cleaned up the carb and the intake as well as the spark plug wires, etc.  Now I can store these parts until they are needed for the assembly process.


I also started a stack of parts that I want to bead blast and then paint.  Not an overly exciting day but work that needed to be done.  If all goes well, we will complete the frame repairs Saturday and then take the frame back to the metal finishers to powdercoating.




The parts to fix the frame horn arrived this past week.  Son Matt dutifully welded them in place and did a super job.  He also welded the cage nuts in the two center body mount locations that are located just behind the seats.  Tomorrow morning my buddy Reese and I will be taking the now finished frame back to the sandblasters for more blasting and then powdercoating.


Matt brought his 11 year old son along who wanted to help.  I took some old nasty parts out back and showed him how to use the pressure washer.  As happens when using a pressure washer, he got about as much dirt on him as he removed from the parts.  Said he enjoyed it and I appreciated the help.  I will have to find him something a little bit more fun to do the next time.

Monday afternoon, my buddy Reese and I drove to Concord to pick up the newly refurbished rear end.  Chip did a great job.  Besides inspecting everything, he installed new bearings and seals, sandblasted the case and then painted it.   Prior to taking it to Chip, I wasn’t sure if it had positraction.  Not only did it have posi, it was in very good condition and still had the original 140 gear fluid.  The car shows 40 some thousand miles on the odometer and, based on the condition of the posi, Chip said he would not be surprised if that was accurate.  The previous owner could not verify the mileage so I am not sure.  The positraction tag was still on the rear end as well.



Last week I received the disc brake equipment and I took it out of the box for inspection yesterday.  Should be a big improvement in braking.  That’s my new leaf spring in one of the photos.





The reason my buddy Reese went with me to pick up the rear end is that he had a Ford rear end from his street rod that he wanted to have rebuilt.  On the way back, we began discussing what to do with my motor.  On the one hand it was running fine.  On the other hand, when my son and I checked the timing, it was advanced considerably.  So much so, that we both wondered why it wasn’t pinging.  Both my son and Reese wonder what the pistons look like.  Although neither my son or I  have ever driven a fresh 327/365HP car, he felt it was a little soft on power.

Yesterday evening, I discussed this with my son and, as usual with him, his first suggestion was to put a LS in it.  His suggestion was the 5.3 iron block motor as it is fairly inexpensive and is the proper size.  I did some checking to see what was available and then studied what would be needed to make this work in the ’64.  I installed a LS1 in a Camaro last year and he has a LS1 in his ’79 El Camino and a LS3 in his ’69 Camaro so we are not novices.  However, in the end, I decided that I wanted to keep the original motor in the car but have it freshened up.


When my son worked for the Red Bull NASCAR team, one of his colleagues also built motors on the side for a number of race teams.  He has agreed to rebuild the motor to stock specs.  My 90 year old mother has been going downhill a bit so we are leaving in the morning to drive to Indiana to visit her.  It just so happens that the engine guy’s shop is on the way.  I have the engine loaded on my utility trailer and will drop both the trailer and the motor off there and continue on to Indiana.  At this point, with everything else fresh, it just seemed right to make sure everthing is OK with the motor.


I had removed the intake manifold and cleaned it up but wanted to take it with the motor so the engine guy can install it.  So I painted it this afternoon and it is ready to go.  Long way to go but every step gets me a little closer.



  1. Good call on using the stock motor

    • My only real reservation was that something might happen to the motor. That’s why I wanted to have someone go through it. This guy is good so it will be interesting to see how it runs.

  2. With a corvette, i think you made a good choice retaining the orig. engine. Will be worth more in the long run.

    • The Tremec 5 speed will put less wear and tear on that motor as well. 75MPH will see the RPM’s drop from 3200 to 2000.

  3. Remarkable issues here. I’m very glad to look your article. Thanks so much and I’m
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