To that end, a lot of new hardware was bolted on, including a Competition Roller Cam, World Products Heads, Chevy Bowtie rods, Speed Pro Hypertec pistons, an Eagle Steel crankshaft, MSD ignition, Hooker Ceramic headers, a 650-cfm Demon carb and an Eldelbrock intake. The 4-speed gearbox and 3.55:1 final drive were retained since they were still in excellent condition.
In February 2008, Hofer turned his attention to the exterior, handing the Corvette over to Collegeville Auto Body shop. The body was stripped and sanded to the gel coat, then hundreds of hours were spent preparing the fiberglass for the base coat, which again ended up being Nassau Blue. The prep work alone took ten weeks.
Since Hofer was after a custom theme, he wanted some form of airbrush work to be done, and commissioned local artist Kristoffer Ziegler to wield the gun. After discussing various options, Hofer and Ziegler decided that the artwork would center on the big-block-style hood and the coupe’s rear window. The goal was to create graphics that would be dynamic, yet subtle and tasteful.
Over the course of many weeks, Ziegler came up with various design possibilities. He would airbrush ideas on scraps of sheet metal laying around the shop. Explains Hofer, “This process proved invaluable. We learned what looked good from many hours of trial and error. We finally decided on a design which would incorporate the Chevy bowtie—front and back—and a stylized version of the fleur-de-lis and crossed flags on the hood.”
With the design finalized and the prep work on the body completed, it was finally time to apply the PPG Nassau Blue base coat. That same day, Ziegler started the graphics. Going well into the night, he ended up spending 18 continuous hours airbrushing the artwork in Pearl White and Electric Blue. “The car spoke to me like no other canvas,” says Ziegler of the experience. “The natural lines of the ’65 spoke loud and clear! This Corvette is so sexy to begin with. For me, it’s like putting make-up on a super model, she doesn’t need it but she looks damn good in it!”
The final phase in the project was the interior. In keeping with his desire to maintain a blend of classic elements and modern comforts, Hofer added ’75-style Corvette seats with Al Knoch custom bright blue covers, a chrome tilt steering column, a chromed ’79-style steering wheel, a chromed console, a custom bright blue leather boot cover and white-face gauges with blue LED lights. Since the rules of the game at custom car shows have changed over the years, with judges now giving points for in-car entertainment, Hofer had a 1,200-watt audio system installed.
With the addition of a 100-shot nitrous-oxide system to extract even more power from the small block, Hofer decided to have a 4-point roll bar and 5-point racing harnesses installed as safety measures. The control buttons for the NOS system are cleverly hidden in the ash tray.
In May 2008, Hofer showed the ’65 for the first time. It proved to be a crowd pleaser and came away with a peoples’ choice award. It continued to do well throughout the year, garnering a total of 15 awards at various shows, including best of show, best paint and sponsor’s choice. Recently, Hofer has done some additional detail work, which he hopes will lead to even more success.
As much as he enjoys the competition, however, Hofer gets the most satisfaction when he shares the turbulent story of his car and how it was resurrected from the automotive grave. The original owners have also expressed a real sense of satisfaction in being able to see how their hard work and perseverance has allowed someone to fulfill a dream—one that they also share.