Tall Man's Bluff

It may look like a mid-year on the outside, but this '65 coupe is packing C5 suspension, and a C6 engine—and more leg room than any factory Corvette ever built.

March 16, 2012

Also from Issue 73

  • 2013 427 Convertible
  • 1993 40th Anniversary
  • Buyer's Guide: $15K
  • 1961 Convertible
  • Oak Beach Inn
  • Dick Guldstrand
  • Track Face-off: C3 vs. C5
  • Racing: New Prototype
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ACCORDING TO THE LATEST NATIONAL CENTER FOR HEALTH Statistics report, the average height for an adult male in the United States is 5 feet, 9.2 inches. That is one inch more than similar statistics compiled in the early ’60s. Men that measure 6 feet, 4 inches or taller account for only 0.5 percent of the male population. Standing 6 feet, 5 inches tall, Corvette enthusiast Jeff Goldstein is one of them. Due to his height, the Rhode Island native has struggled to fully enjoy his vintage Corvettes—but he knew what he was getting into when he bought them. “Being a lifelong Corvette lover, I understood the limits for driving enjoyment of the mid-year Corvettes, especially compared to modern ones,” he says. However, this is not to say Goldstein hasn’t taken steps to make his C2s more comfortable.

In 1986, Goldstein purchased his first mid-year Corvette, a ’66 convertible. When he decided to restore it, maintaining strict originality wasn’t a priority. “My ’66 led a hard life; it was raced and left with hardly any original parts,” says Goldstein. Therefore, he took some liberties to increase his leg room: “I cut the pedals about 1 inch below the hinge point under the dash, then welded a horizontal piece extending rearward. The cut-off pedal was then welded to the horizontal piece, so the hinge point remains the same, but the actual pedal location is further back.” In addition, Goldstein moved the toe board out, closer to the front tire. These mods allow him to operate the pedals without his knees hitting the steering wheel.

In 2007, Goldstein acquired his second C2, a ’67 convertible. Unlike the ’66, this car was unmolested, so maintaining its originality was of the utmost priority during its restoration—no chopping the pedals this time around. Instead, the car was brought up to a National Corvette Restorers Society judging level, i.e., as close to how it rolled off the assembly line as possible. As a result, Goldstein drove this mid-year a lot less than his ’66. But the Corvette he drove the most—indeed, it served as his daily ride—was an ’06 C6 coupe. Goldstein found it to be quite comfortable, as well as a pleasure to drive. This sixth-generation car got him thinking about his next second-generation one. “I wanted a mid-year Corvette that looked completely original, but had the comfort, performance and driving characteristics of a new Corvette,” Goldstein recalls.

At the 2008 Corvettes at Carlisle show, Goldstein had the opportunity to speak with several restomod Corvette builders and see examples of their work on display. The outlines of his dream Corvette were beginning to take shape. “I’m tall, and being comfortable in the car was a high priority. I also wanted a higher level of workmanship with fit and finish. Basically, I wanted to build the ultimate driver’s mid-year Corvette that could also hold its own at any car show.”

To get the project started, a donor C2 was needed. Goldstein chased down a number of leads before finding what seemed to be a suitable candidate in California—a ’65 coupe. The owner had intended to turn the car into a restomod, but the project was halted before completion. In his haste to get his own project going, Goldstein bought the Corvette sight unseen. “Knowing what I know now,” he admits, “I might have looked for a better car to start with.”

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