This actually opened up an opportunity for Comeau to have a bit of fun. Instead of removing the panels in the traditional way, he decided to take the “Truckster,” as it was now called, out for some fun in the woods. “Some serious four-wheeling action was needed to get rid of unnecessary parts on the car,” he recalls. “I found another clunker that ran and proceeded to run a collision course between the two vehicles.” (Search YouTube for “Let’s wreck a ’64 Corvette” to view this unorthodox practice.) To Comeau’s surprise, he had a hard time knocking off the panels. He ended up using a small tractor to pull them off with a chain.
After the demolition derby was over, the actual work began. Comeau removed what was left of the body from the frame, being very careful not to break the tub in half. After removing any remnants of the unwanted panels, he stripped multiple coats of paint and discovered serious rust on the birdcage directly behind the seats; he ended up replacing the rocker panels and the doorjambs. At this point, the body was no longer in danger of breaking in two.
With the body secure, the frame was next on the list. Since the Jeep frame was unusable, Comeau found a nice rust-free Corvette frame that he sand-blasted and then refinished. From there, he assembled the suspension with all-new components. Comeau then installed a 3.36-ratio rear end and an M21 four-speed manual transmission. The goal was to have a complete rolling chassis before the body was mated to the frame.
Nothing was right on this car, so trying to do a proper restoration was pointless,” says Comeau. With that in mind, his powertrain options were fairly open. Staying along the same lines as the previous ’64 he had done, Comeau decided to install a stroked small block. He wanted an engine that would deliver a good compromise between high performance and real-world drivability. He contacted Steve’s Machine Shop in Liberty, New York. The mechanics there began with a 350-cid block that was stroked to 392 cubic inches. A set of Dart aluminum heads were used to keep front-end weight to a minimum; all the bolt-on parts were also fabricated in aluminum. The compression ratio was kept at 10.75:1 to be able to run on pump fuel. For the cam, Comeau opted for a mild roller unit that yielded a smooth idle and would allow the aftermarket air-conditioning unit to function properly. For the exhaust, he went with a 2.5-inch Magnaflow system. This engine proved to be rather stout on the dyno, pumping out 438 horsepower at 3,800 rpm and 520 lbs-ft of torque at 5,700 rpm.