MyFile 10


The following questions from Corvette enthusiasts are answered by Bloomington Gold: 

Question:  I have a 1965 396/425 corvette coupe with original paint, interior etc. that I would like to have judged. My question is... the engine block stamping has been primitively ground out and re-stamped. I am the second owner and the original owner swears the car was like that from the day he bought it and that the car never even had the engine removed during the entire time he owned the car. He had no real motive to lie as the value paid for the car would not have been raised or lowered due to the motor being original or not.  Have you ever heard of a factory re-stamp due to an error and if so, did they look like someone just ground down the stamp and re-stamped below it? Can the judges confirm the engines originality to the car? Also, can this car qualify to be judged because of this.  The car is in very good condition otherwise.

Smart question.  Never assume that a primitive grind-out and restamp is "not factory" because they can be!   Although more than 99% of restamps are NOT factory; yes, the factory did do it on occasion.  Here's why; if a 396 (a month or so before yours) came off the St. Louis line and during the test on the chassis dyno dropped a valve or had some serious engine problem develop, it was removed from the car and returned to the engine plant for rebuild. The car that originally had this engine would have immediately received a different 396 engine and that "new" engine stamped to match the car.  Then several weeks later the original engine would have rebuilt by the engine factory and once again shipped back to the Corvette plant and put back into stock.  (However, this rebuilt engine would not be put back into the original car from which it was removed because it would have already been shipped to a dealer for sale.)  Therefore, the VIN stamp on the original (rebuilt) block needed to be "ground out" and the VIN of whatever 396 car in which it would finally be installed could be stamped.  Make sense? In short, the block in your car could have originally been installed in a previous 396 and your 396 got it after being rebuilt.  Very rare and very interesting factory anomaly.  But very possible. This is not to say that this was the case in your particular 396, however, it would certainly be plausible; especially in a tempermental 396. Yes, we have engine inspectors at Bloomington Gold Certification that would very likely be able to determine if yours was, in fact, one of these rare cars. Finally, yes, this car can definitely qualify to be judged.  The findings may dictate what type rating or Certification it would receive, however, it would be my strong suggestion that it would be worth it to find out.

Question:  I just purchased a 1963 coupe Sting Ray with original AC and power glide. (I believe only 278 were made.)  The car was in storage for the past 18 or so years, I am the 3rd owner.  Even though the car was in storage most of its life, the wheels, battery, air filter and small little stuff were replaced on the car as well as the car being repainted.  Now after visiting your site, I wonder if I should just leave it alone or go ahead and change battery, power steering pump and wheels to original ones.  Drive train and every other thing on the car is original.

You are usually safe to leave things alone.  However, if your battery, power steering pump, etc. have already been changed, you can't do any harm by replacing those things with at least original unrestored components.  the things you don't want to do is anything that is irreversible, like painting or plating something.  That cannot ever be reversed.  Wheels and things that "bolt on" are reasonably safe because those actions can be reversed.  The thing to remember, once something is refinished (even if it is the "original" part that came on the car), it is no longer "unrestored".

Question about Rust:  I am considering entering my 1978 Corvette in the SURVIVOR┬« Corvette judging.   My car is original with documentation and the exterior and interior are in very good shape - however the chassis has a lot of surface rust.  What am I allowed to do as far as rust removal and repainting?  It is difficult for me to believe that owners can keep their car chassis rust free.  Any information on preserving my car would be appreciated.

DO NOTHING.  Anything you do endangers your chances because you can wreck the finishes.  Painting is irreversible and is definitely not advised. Do nothing more aggressive than hot water, Dawn dish soap and a heavy duty paint brush.  Otherwise, you can get into trouble and be forever sorry because you unintentionally and irreversibly ruined the factory finish.  Rule of thumb: you can't restore something to be unrestored.  You can only make it worse.

Certification Paint Question:  Can you tell me the different point deduction on a car that was painted single stage or base clear coat?

No, we can't!  The reason is this: we don't care what you paint it with.  We only care that it appears no better, no worse, no different from what it looked like when it left the St. Louis factory in 1965.  If you can get it to be almost undetectably different from a factory paint job in terms of texture, gloss, shade and thickness, then you will be given full credit, regardless of what type paint you use.  However,, the more detectable any or all of these variations become, the more penalty you will receive, even if re-painted with original lacquer.

Question:  My question is that a dealer undercoated the vehicle with Zeibart undercoating.  That is how it survived 29 years in chicago.  Will this hurt us in the judging?  Eliminate the chassis portion?

Zeibart is a dealer installed option.  SURVIVOR awards are based on assembly plant roll-out because that is where the clock started ticking.  It becomes a can of worms to sort through the variety of modifications/options made available thereafter by dealers.  There could be some pretty weird things dealers would do that had nothing to do with factory production and we can't open the flood gates up to where to draw the line acceptability.  And of course, it definitely makes those who "sneaked" through and escaped any dealer modifications naturally more rare.

The good news is that undercoating alone will not prevent those cars from still receiving high praise and awards at SURVIVOR Collector Car.   My personal advice to owners is to accept it for what it is and that is now a part of its history.  Further, I'd suggest NOT trying to remove it and end up with a mess and be worse off than if you'd left it alone.

Question:  My question is about shocks for my Corvette.  I am having problems finding a correct shock without having to sell the car to buy them.  If I go with a Delco replacement shock painted the correct color, what is the total point deduction?  Any suggestions would help. 

That by itself will be nearly insignificant in the scheme of the overall.  As long as they appear reasonably close, it will actually be insignificant.  And if your left them off entirely, it would still be insignificant assuming everything else on the car was in order.  On the contrary, if there is a little problem in every part of the vehicle, the little things do add up.  but if shock absorbers are your only problem, it should be no problem at all.

QUESTION:  I am the original and only owner of a 1975 Corvette convertible "baby" L48 hydra-matic automatic transmission, in St. Louis , MO; the car has never left St. Louis.  I've owned the car since it was new and I have 16,000 + actual miles on the car.  Interestingly, the serial plate with the VIN code # and spec # stamped into it have the word "SPEC" for special stamped into it for the paint code, as the car was built and delivered to the dealer in PRIME coat, never painted from the factory because I wanted a BLACK Corvette and for 1975 that was the only way I was going to get it.  It was painted for me by a very special man to me, who had been the ONLY Corvette and fiberglass body man at this Chevrolet dealership for well over 20 years.  This dealership was the 1st dealership to sponsor THE Original Corvette Club of St. Louis; they actually used to have the Corvette for the TV Show "Route 66" delivered through this dealership, Barford Chevrolet.

Sorry for the long introduction, but my question is which way should I go; with a Survivor or as a Benchmark car?

The most major improvement I need to make to the car at this time are the inside door panels that have cracked and have not held up over 35 years and I guess I need to replace them with the sets that are available as replacement sets?  Or do I look for actual panels that were original that someone might have?  I'm not exactly in the collector car world, but perhaps the time is quickly approaching that I should jump into the mix.

Any idea of an approximate value of what my car is worth? So where do I go from here suggesting my renewed interest in becoming active in the world of Corvettes again?  What am I not asking or am I not describing.  I'd appreciate hearing from you and I thank you for your time and thoughts in both reading my email and replying to me.

You may have some misperceptions regarding SURVIVOR and BENCHMARK.  It's not possible to "restore" something to meet SURVIVOR or BENCHMARK standards. The whole concept revolves around vehicles remaining unrestored and in excellent condition.  Once something is replaced/repaired, it detracts from its factory original state.  Cars can be restored to meet Gold Certified standards.  However, both SURVIVOR and BENCHMARK are measures of the cars UNRESTORED state. I suggest the following:   1. and study it thoroughly for definitions of the various award levels and study the typical mistakes people make.   2.  If you still have questions, feel free to call me and I will spend a little time trying to clarify anything left unclear.  The best thing for anyone to do is FIRST have it judged in our SURVIVOR event BEFORE you do anything.  That allows you to get a fair evaluation of what you have before you do anything to the vehicle that you would regret later.  Once you've been evaluated, then you have a much more clear game plan of what/if you should do.   Last, we don't do car appraisals, so I'm sorry we can't help you there.  However, there are numerous websites that you could consult that would be far more accurate than my estimates.