Landers would have liked to go with much larger-than-stock tires for better grip but couldn’t bring himself to do what was necessary to the wheel openings to fit them: “I wanted to retain the stock body lines—it’s hard to improve on perfection—so I resisted the urge to radius the wheel wells.”
Though he didn’t alter the fiberglass, Landers did make some relatively subtle changes to the car’s body. He added a third taillight on either side, as was quite commonly done to mid-years in the ’60s and ’70s. He also removed the front bumpers and commissioned Tom Gasper of Top Fuel Diner fame to handcraft a custom bowtie emblem.
In 2010, the body was completely stripped and prepped by Hopped Up in Columbia Station, Ohio to remove all waves and other factory imperfections in the fiberglass. The same shop then sprayed the car Nassau Blue using a PPG base coat/clear coat combination. It carried the same hue of blue into the 8 × 15-inch knock-off-style Western Wheels and side-pipe covers.
At night, Landers is able to put on a light show owing to bright blue LEDs mounted behind the grille and front fender vents, inside the engine compartment and underneath the side moldings above the side-pipe covers. The underhood lights get a boost from all the chromed and polished metal surfaces, courtesy of Grafton Metal Finishing.
Landers removed everything from the interior and installed aluminum heat and sound-barrier material from Thermal Solutions to the floor and inside the doors. Reproduction bright blue carpeting went over the barrier material and the seat covers were upgraded from bright blue vinyl to bright blue leather with custom silver surrounds. New reproduction bright blue door panels were similarly modified with silver leather inserts like those on the seatbacks. The “Stingray 502” logos were embroidered by Sullivan Upholstery in New London, Ohio.
An audiophile most of his life, Landers put a lot of thought into configuring the car’s sound system. He chose to go with a 500-watt, 11-speaker setup from Phoenix Gold, featuring a Pioneer head unit. A clear “plexibox” subwoofer enclosure sits in the storage area behind the seats.
Since completing the car about three years ago, Landers has shown it extensively, earning over two dozen top prizes at everything from local club events to an International Show Car Association Autorama. Fortunately, Landers is not afraid to drive his old friend. “I drive to local cruises and car shows,” he says, “and frequently take it out for a nice ride.” Harkening back to his racing days, Landers also explores the car’s limits once in a while, “just to scare myself,” he tells us.
Reflecting on his 47-year love affair with this Corvette and its recent transformation into a unique-looking and more drivable car, Landers takes particular pride in the hands-on role he played. “It has been a long journey,” he says, “but the fact that I was completely involved during the restomod process with Fred Kubiak, as opposed to just buying the car finished or paying someone else to do all the work, gives back a great deal in pride of ownership.”