Fast-forward nearly a decade to the end of 1999, and Puccella and Young had a ’65 coupe with a ton of new parts that was ready for paint. After careful consideration, they decided on Nassau Blue since it was the coupe’s original color. After the car was completed, however, it was seldom used, spending most of its time parked in storage.
By 2006, the friends realized that the ’65 would need another restoration. For Puccella, that became a problem. He was busy with the day-to-day running of his business, Trappe Auto, and didn’t have the time to devote to the project. As a result, he sold the Corvette outright to Young, who had a longstanding desire to transform the car into a substantially more radical restomod. Unfortunately, before he was able to begin the project, he became ill, and told Puccella that he just didn’t have the energy needed to complete his dream.
The following year, Puccella spoke with Hofer about buying the ’65 coupe at a Keystone State Corvette Club meeting. Puccella was a past president of the club, while Hofer was the current one, so the men knew each other well. Puccella told Hofer that Young was willing to sell the ’65 coupe. As it turns out, Hofer also had a desire to build a mid-year restomod. Having owned several stock C2 show cars, he was looking for the right car that would allow him to enter into modified and custom show classes. Confident that he had found the ideal candidate, he purchased the car from Young.
For Hofer, the task of rebuilding the ’65 began in late 2007. He was very clear about what he wanted to achieve with the car and how he would proceed. His goal was for it to have a strong custom visual presence, yet maintain the essence and elegance of the mid-year body.
“One of my first requirements was for the car to have a low, aggressive stance,” says Hofer. This meant modifying the suspension. Up front, he opted for shorter heavy-duty springs, while at the back special-length rear bolts were fabricated to accommodate a one-piece fiberglass leaf spring. Additional suspension work included fitting offset trailing arms and power rack-and-pinion steering. Power brakes with a proportioning system were also fitted. Ironically, it was Puccella’s shop that did the work.
Hofer’s choice of tall wheels and low-profile tires also played a major role in achieving the car’s aggressive stance. Not content with off-the-shelf items, Puccella had Foose Design create a set of one-off alloys—7 x 17-inch front, 8 × 18-inch rear. They wear 235/45ZR17 and 245/40ZR18 Toyo tires.
When it came to propulsion, Hofer had a good starting point. The ’88 Corvette engine had been fully rebuilt by Puccella in 2004. He had bored and stroked it from 350 to 383 cubic inches and performed a full balance-and-blueprint job. Hofer’s output goal was 500 horsepower.