The Goodguys 2009 Street Machine of the Year
Vintage American cars have a style all of their own. They have bold lines, larger-than-life features and big horsepower. They have all that and more. But sleek? Not so much, which even went for the early Corvettes. Sure, the rear section had a pleasing aerodynamic shape, but with its dual headlight setup, the ’62 Vette was more in your face than a kiss on the cheek. We’re not saying that they weren’t good-looking in a masculine sort of way, but you wouldn’t confuse one with the smooth lines of a Jag or Ferrari of the day. That was until The Roadster Shop unveiled this particular ’62 Corvette.
Dubbed the “C1-RS,” this Vette is the cumulative effect between owner Barry Blomquist, designer Eric Brockmeyer and the crew at the Roadster Shop. It can only be described as a successful venture, as this car was named the Goodguys 2009 Street Machine of the Year.
According to the Roadster Shop, located in Mundelein, Illinois, the Vette was in sad shape. Because they were going to do so much bodywork anyway, it really didn’t matter. In fact, they claim that every panel on the car was hand-built and modified, except for the trunk lid. Starting at the front, TRS reshaped front grilles from hand-fabbed aluminum, while an aluminum grille bar has been infused with Porsche 997 running lights. Speaking of lights, the one-off headlight assemblies machined for this car have internal turn signals. The custom hood has been equipped with carbon fiber louvers, while further down the stock cove in doors/fenders has been eliminated and reinvented with carbon fiber louvers. Prototype Composites in Milwaukee produced all carbon panels.
Gone is the convertible top, and the windshield was cut down and leaned back for a more aggressive roadster look. The windshield was framed with aluminum window and windshield trim. The Roadster Shop, following Borckmeyers design, squared-off the rear of the car, widened the rear quarter-panels by 1.25-inch per side, and then formed a rear lip spoiler that carries off the lines of the wheel openings. A carbon fiber taillight panel was formed that incorporates one-off LED taillight assemblies. Beneath is an aluminum, rear lower air diffuser, with carbon fiber splitters, and features a hand-fabbed stainless center exhaust tip.
When all that was done, the Roadster Shop applied a healthy coating of PPG Black, which not only sets off the carbon fiberwork, it gives the C1-RS a refined yet somehow sinister look.
As pretty as this car is, don’t be fooled into thinking that is all there is to this Vette; it has been made to handle an autocross course, too. The Roadster Shop is of the mind that a great handling car begins with a great chassis. For this Vette, they constructed fully boxed rails that narrow 2 inches per side to accommodate up to a 14-inch tire. Up front, a DSE IFS suspension, utilizing C6 Corvette geometry, along with adjustable Afco double, remote reservoir coilover shocks is used. The shocks have Eibach progressive springs, and a splined front sway bar completes the front suspension system. Huge Brembo disc brakes (355×32 mm) featuring cross-drilled rotors that are clamped with a six-piston, mono-block caliper adorn the front. Speaking of adorning, the Roadster Shop had Forgeline produce a one-off wheel design with custom knock-off center lug. Measuring out to 19×10 inches, and shod with Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires (275/30R19), the wheels have a dark inner with a polished ring, which not only works perfectly with the overall look, it gives the viewer a great view of the massive Brembo rotor and caliper.
The rear suspension uses a DSE swivel link, parallel four-bar rear suspension setup that holds the 53.5-inch–wide Ford 9-inch housing. The rear end is equipped with a Tru-Trac Posi unit, 3.89 gears, and features 31-spline axles. Again, Brembo disc brakes are used, and the Forgeline wheels/ Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires are used, this time though the wheels measure out to 20×12.5 inches, and the tires are 335/30R20.
This chassis is the one that the Roadster Shop used to perfect its product, so know that this complete chassis is available for those who have an early (’54-’62) Vette. A Roadster Shop, Street Machine of the Year replica frame is just a phone call away, and don’t forget to tell them <Drive!> sent you.
Corvettes are known for their muscle, and thanks to the Turn Key Engine Supply LS7/427 producing 618 hp, power is not a concern. Based in Oceanside, California, Turn Key bored, stroked and balanced the ’09 vintage block before adding the trick Kinsler, one-off, carbon fiber, cross ram injection system. Matching carbon fiber valve covers are used, as well. Providing the sparks is an MSD Ignition, while Roadster Shop headers exit the spent fuel to the custom Bill Boat mufflers. A Billet Specialties Tru-Trac pulley system completes the look.
Some cars need to be “shifters,” and a Corvette is one of them. To that end, a Tremec T-56 transmission, equipped with a Center Force clutch, was worked over by the crew at Bowler Performance Transmission of Lawrenceville, Illinois, and provides the perfect gearbox for the performance car.
While performance is great, comfort and style are always nice, too, and the interior of this Vette is style personified. Beginning with the custom gauge panel, it is filled with Classic Instruments’ best, from the custom hand-built aluminum dash and center console to the no-nonsense Momo “Gotham” steering wheel. The interior is one of function raised to art form. Adding a splash of color to the vehicle is the Italian red leather and Alcantara suede-covered seats and door panels, all of which were custom made by The Recovery Room upholstery shop.
Protruding from the center console is the Roadster Shop custom-built shifter and monitor for the Pioneer stereo system. The electrical impulses are pumped up with a Pioneer amp, and then sent on to the 6-inch Boston Acoustics speakers, which The Roadster Shop have hidden around the interior. A Ron Francis wiring system was used to connect all of the electrical dots.
They say that time is money, and vehicles like this don’t just happen. It took the Roadster Shop a full nine months to construct the car, but when the July 2009 completion date rolled around, all knew they had made something magical. That assessment was further cemented when the C1-RS won the GM Design Award at SEMA, multiple Goodguys Builder’s Choice Awards throughout the 2009 season, culminating with being named the Goodguys 2009 Street Machine of the Year.
This Corvette is still a Detroit muscle car, but now thanks to an inspired design and meticulous craftsmanship, the only rough edges are those felt by its competition.