Spiteri's 1963 Corvette Stingray
At first glance Charlie Spiteri is probably not the kind of bloke you’d expect
to see driving around in a classic 1963 Corvette. While most people tend to associate
Corvettes with the ‘corporate car enthusiast’ stereo-type, the reality is that
these iconic vehicles appeal to a very wide cross section of the automotive community.
long term member of the NSW Unlimited Corvette Club and a motorcycle enthusiast
from way back Charlie has certainly earned his stripes on both two and four wheels.
first came into contact with his now treasured ‘63 ‘vette back in the early 1980s
when he saw it sitting in a mate’s garage. Back then it was just a body and chassis
but Charlie took an instant shine to it. A kind of magnetic attraction you might
say. "I watched George spend ten years or more and a lot of money getting parts
and repairing the body and chassis". Charlie said. "Then one day out of the blue
George went and sold it as an unfinished project to Bob Maynes". Bob was responsible
for advancing the project further which included a new paint job. Charlie heard
on the grapevine that the car might be coming up for sale once again. "I went
around to see Bob to see if there was any truth in the rumour. It turned out that
his wife didn’t really want him to sell it but he said he‘d think about it". Charlie
waited patiently for a week while Bob decided what he wanted to do. In the end
Charlie rang Bob to get the final verdict and to Charlie’s delight successful
negotiations were entered into resulting a much anticipated sale.
that Charlie had the project of his dreams in his possession, the next step was
to find a motor and gearbox. He sourced a 350 Chev and a Muncie 4 speed transmission
which served the purpose for about three years. When Charlie decided that an upgrade
was due he stumbled across an opportunity to buy the original 350ci supercharged
motor that George May had planned to put into the car back when he owned it. Funny
how things work out!
years down the track and the supercharger spat the dummy. Charlie, a mechanic
by trade repaired the damaged unit but about 500 miles later, the same thing happened.
"By now I was getting a bit tired of that bloody supercharger but I didn’t want
to downgrade from the power level it was putting out". said Charlie. "I got talking
to a mate and he was telling me about these LS7 ‘crate motors’ that you can buy
now. They put out 505hp from the factory". These motors are the standard factory
issue for the Z06 C6 Corvettes which have been billed as the fastest, most powerful
car ever offered by Chevrolet and GM.
satisfied with 500+ horsepower straight out of the box, Charlie just had to tweak
it!. He needed more!. The standard fuel injection system has been replaced with
a 90mm Holley Throttle Body and larger injection. The LS7 now runs a Comp Cams
XER287HR camshaft and custom made JE forged pistons have been installed to cope
with the extra grunt, while the engine is kept lubricated via a dry sump system.
The spent gasses are sent out the sides courtesy of the custom stainless steel
2" headers and stainless steel 3.1/2" side pipes. In all the LS7 now packs a hefty
extra power is delivered to the wheels via the Tremec 6 speed transmission, LS7
clutch, heavy duty drive shaft and Corvette 3.7:1 positive traction diff.
front suspension consists of Pedders coil springs and Koni shock absorbers while
the rear end runs a composite monospring system, Koni shocks and a ¾" anti-sway
bar. To get that tough stance the car has been lowered 2.5" all round and fitted
with nylothane bushes. Stopping power is provided by the Corvette vented and drilled
discs and 4-spot calipers.
interior of the Corvette has been fully refurbished to match the quality of the
exquisite exterior. Black is the colour of choice as it offsets to full instrumentation
nicely. The full array of Autometer gauges have been carefully fitted into the
standard Corvette dash so as to create a modified yet authentic looking finish.
The steering wheel has been upgraded to a SAAS sports version and the aftermarket
Recaro seats have been fitted with full racing harnesses.
cargo area behind the seats is now home to a brace bar, Kenwood 500W amplifier,
Kenwood 6x9 speakers and a sizable Sony sub-woofer. Other audio components include
Kenwood tweeters and a Sony head unit.
those who know their Corvettes are probably arguing that Charlie’s car is not
a ‘63 because it doesn’t have a split rear window, but it is in fact a true 1963
Corvette. You see the split window only came out in 1963. After that America’s
equivalent the RTA ruled the centre pillar an obstruction of view and legislation
was passed forcing the manufacturer to discontinue the current rear window design
as of the following year. As this was the most obvious visual change, it became
a popular practice for ‘63 owners to grab a hacksaw and remove the ‘outdated’
version and simply throw in a 1964 rear glass and trim. If there’s one thing that
really annoys Charlie it’s that bloody back window!. "That’s one thing I’m definitely
going to put back to original" said Charlie. "It’ll cost me three or four grand
all up to do it but to me it will be worth it"
the ‘vette retains a classic stance, the body is actually far from original. The
guards have been flared to give a ‘fatter’ look - or should that read ‘phatter’?
Charlie has also added an aftermarket front spoiler that fits like a glove. It
really follows the lines of the car nicely and most people would be forgiven for
thinking that it came from the factory that way. " It’s not just for looks either"
said Charlie. "it’s really noticeable how well it holds the car to the road at
look underneath and it’s obvious that this car is owned by a true perfectionist.
Although the car is built to drive, and drive hard, the level of workmanship and
attention to detail on the undercarriage needs to be seen to be truly appreciated.
There is no shortage of braided lines, polished aluminium and performance enhancing
equipment. The twin Bosch hi flow electric fuel pumps keep up the demand for fuel
while a Carter fuel pump accommodates the surge tank and the custom aluminium
fuel cell stores the supply. Even the short-shafts are enshrouded in the star
spangled banner while the brake and suspension components are colour coded in
Custom CS Corvette Red.
to detail is everywhere right down to the Chev bow tie on the brake calipers.
Nothing has been overlooked.
no secret that Charlie loves his horsepower but even a motor that’s been built
to go as hard as this one still needs to look it's best. No expense has been spared
within the engine compartment with colour coding and polished aluminium being
the flavour. The underside of the bonnet has been tastefully trimmed in black
to match the interior while the underside of the bonnet scoop has been done in
polished aluminium. The Chev bow tie has been cunningly applied to reflect in
the aluminium. The effect is stunning!. Other enhancements include the colour
coded engine covers, power steering reservoir, air filter intake tube and engine
Charlie likes getting the car out on the road and giving it a boot-full but he
also enjoys entering it into the occasional car show so that others can appreciate
it too. The ‘vette has won the ‘Car of the Show Award’ two years running.
still has a few more things he’d like to do to the car before he considers it
totally finished - but then again, are these projects ever finished? There‘s always
something more that can be done. In addition to the aforementioned back window
he also has a few more tweaks in the planning. Charlie’s really happy with the
way the car has come up so far and would like to extend his sincere gratitude
to his good friends Tony Roberts, Ray Langlois, Oscar, Joseph and John from Illawarra
Collision Repairs and his cousin Joe Spiteri. Without these guys the car could
never have reached the standard that it is today.
more photos of this car at our Feature Cars gallery >
Custom CS Corvette Red
Type: 7ltr LS7 V8 Induction: 90mm Holley Throttle Body with larger injection
Custom made JE forged Cam: Comp Cams XER287HR
Custom stainless steel 2" headers and 3.5" side pipes
Tremec 6 speed
Corvette 3.7:1 positive traction
brakes & steering
Springs: (f) Pedders coils (r) Composite monospring
Shocks: Koni all round Steering: RHD Toyota Cressida
Brakes: ‘65 Corvette
vented & drilled discs, 4-spot calipers Wheels & tyres Tyres: (f) 235/40x17" (r)255/40x17"
Wheels: Dragway (f)17"x9" (r)17"x9.5"
accepting International Orders. Place your order here >