In 1966, Chevrolet dropped one of their potent L-88 427s into a competition-prepped Corvette and shipped it to a gentleman by the name of Roger Penske. The car not only competed in the 24 Hours of Daytona, it took home 1st in its class and 11th place overall. While the #9 had a great story, it was its signature flared fenders, prototype Stinger hood and sealed headlights that made the car instantly recognizable. The styling of Penske’s GT Corvette remains influential today as evidenced by this killer pro-touring ’64 Corvette. From the flares to the hood, many of those legendary cues are present and backed up by a 489 cubic inch big block, Tremec five-speed manual transmission, and a modernized interior suited for the street or road course. Rebuilt and refined and every imaginable way, this fully restored C2 is a blast to drive and engineered to stay on the road for a years to come.
Long before this ''Vette underwent its transformation, it was a straightforward production coupe born on GM''s Saint Louis assembly line. Dressed in a stock coat of Tuxedo Black with a white vinyl interior, it was undoubtedly a striking car but in a very different way from today. The restoration process began with stripping the entire shell down to bare fiberglass and tending to the stress cracks that had developed over the years. In addition to repair work, the flip-up headlights were shaved, the mounting holes for the bumpers were filled, a set of fender flares were molded into place and a Stinger-style hood was fitted between the newly widened front fenders. Once the work was complete, the body was gel-coated for some extra protection from the elements, then shot with a fresh coat of bright red PPG paint. In the center of the hood, gloss black follows the Stinger lines just like GM painted them years after this car left the plant. The paintwork looks great from all angles and suits the car''s updated shape perfectly. Panel fitment is equally nice and, if you know Corvette bodies, you know how tough that is to accomplish.
Taking a closer look at the exterior of this C2, the details certainly weren''t overlooked either. The front end has a unique look thanks to a pair of rectangular headlights fitted into the stock grille opening. At either side, the factory turn signals remain in place but look more prominent thanks to the deleted front bumper. Follow the 489-badged hood back to the cowl and fresh greenhouse glass comes into view, framed by new stainless trim. The side profile is free of badges, wearing only stainless rocker trim, chrome door handles and updated rear view mirrors painted body color. The rear view looks exceptionally sleek thanks to a deleted rear bumper that refocuses attention to the car’s signature dual tail lamps and deep license plate recess. Despite the high-quality fit and finish, the final product manages to keep a stripped-down track-friendly feel.
With its vintage GT-influenced looks, having some extra horsepower on tap was mandatory. Tilt the hood forward and a built 489cid big block comes into view. The mill starts with a four-bolt main 454cid GM block that’s been stroked .250 and bored .030 over. Inside, forged SRP pistons, Eagle rods, a forged crank and a Comp Cams hydraulic roller cam lay the foundation for some serious power. Down low, a Moroso six-quart oil pan and pickup pair with a Melling high-volume pump to keep it all lubricated. Fuel is delivered by a Quick Fuel 830 cfm carburetor, tucked neatly under a chrome-topped open-element air filter. Below, an Edelbrock Performer series intake manifold is wedged between a pair of Edelbrock aluminum heads updated with 1.7 rocker arms. To the front of big block, an attractive Concept One billet pulley system spins a chrome alternator alongside a Sanderson compressor for the air conditioning system while, opposite, an aluminum Be Cool radiator keeps things cool with the help of dual electric fans. An Optima red-top battery sends fire to a MSD ignition system that, when ignited, starts the well-dressed big block with ease. Spent exhaust gases spiral through Hooker ceramic coated headers connected to large no-nonsense side pipes that look and sound like something born of a racetrack. Despite all the updated hardware, the car idles well and runs like a well-built Corvette should.
Put this C2 in the air and a clean undercarriage comes into view with satin black floors and a whole catalog worth of new hardware. In the center, a Keisler-modified Tremec five-speed manual allows full control over the potent big block. The trick transmission is supported by a Zoom 11-inch clutch, a Hays steel flywheel and a Lakewood scatter shield. From there, power is transferred through a custom driveshaft and new U-joints to a factory GM Posi-Traction rear packed with 3.36 gears. Around the drivetrain, the suspension uses a smart mix of factory and aftermarket parts to create a much-improved driving experience. The front end utilizes stock A-arms with later-production spindles, F41-spec coils and KYB gas shocks while the rear combines a fiberglass monoleaf with adjustable strut rods and offset trailing arms. New front and rear sway bars complete the package. While steering is manual, the box has been completely rebuilt and feels great on the road. Braking comes courtesy of dual-pin calipers and cross-drilled rotors at all four corners completed by braided lines and a polished Wilwood master cylinder and proportioning valve. The chassis meets the road through Firestone radials wrapped around fifteen-inch American Racing Torque Thrust D’s that suit the vintage racing theme perfectly.
Peer inside and find an interior that is pure Corvette. Seating is provided by 2005 Z06 Corvette seats wrapped in red and black leather. Between the seats, a factory center console flows into an instantly recognizable C2 dashboard. From the driver seat, a reconditioned gauge cluster hosts Autometer instrumentation which monitors fuel, voltage, speed, revs, oil pressure and temperature. In the center, a factory clock sits just above controls for the Custom Autosound AM/FM/Cassette head unit which sends signal to new speakers throughout, including a Polk Audio subwoofer mounted in a tidy custom enclosure. Driver is connected to the front wheels through a leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel mounted a factory steering column. Around the seating area, new materials cover nearly everything. The floor sports fresh black carpet installed over a layer of sound deadener. New factory-style door panels are updated with power window switches while, overhead, a new headliner caps off the cabin. The racing theme once again makes an appearance in the sturdy eight-point roll cage which, in coordination with extra support brackets, adds an additional layer of safety to this big-block bruiser.
Should you have any questions about the work performed on this Corvette, a look through its documentation will definitely provide answers. From wiring diagrams to installation instructions, nearly everything used during the build has corresponding paperwork. There is also a detailed spec sheet and two pages worth of special instructions and procedures to make sure everything on the car is used as intended.
Corvettes often end up the subject of intensive factory-correct restorations where, when completed, they live out their days in trailers and climate controlled garages. This C2 is a great reminder of how to have fun with a Corvette while honoring the amazing racing history of the brand. Well engineered, fully sorted and an absolute blast on the road, if you’re ready to enjoy Corvettes again, don’t miss the chance to take this killer ’64 coupe home today!