Suzie and the Beast
My future son-in-law Steve bought a ‘68 Corvette convertible (aqua blue/black with ugly aftermarket rims). He brought it over to show me and let me drive it – fun to drive, but no real interest on my part at that point. Steve later parked “Suzie” near a boat ramp and a boat trailer ripped off the left rear of the car. He had it repaired and painted red and replaced the ugly rims with correct rally wheels, and replaced the worn interior parts and poof! A great looking, matching numbers red ‘68 convertible ‘Vette, 4-speed is born.
That summer, my 16-year-old son Brett was vacationing with us in Ruidoso , New Mexico . He bought an Auto Trader magazine, and he and I found a ‘70 Vette t-top for $13,500 in Houston , two hours from our home in Austin . The ad said it had good mechanicals and paint. After several e-mails and attached pictures, we mailed a deposit and upon our return to Austin , rent a trailer and make the trip to Houston to drive and possibly buy it. It has 3” exhausts, Flowmaster mufflers, electric fan and serpentine belt system. One drive and we’re hooked!
We load it onto the trailer and bring it to Austin . My son and I, with the son-in-law’s help (and a shop or two) have repainted it red and have changed the interior to Light Saddle and there you have the “Beast” as we fondly refer to the car. My son has driven it to his high-school homecoming the last two years as a reward for good grades and behavior. He takes his friends into the garage to shows them the car and points out the mechanicals as well as I can.
Steve has followed the full numbers matching restoration route for Suzie with all factory-correct parts with the exception of a cherry red paint job. Suzie’s a beauty! Recently, a woman who had just finished her wedding pictures flagged Steve down and had the photographer take photos in and around his ‘Vette. Beast, on the other hand, had a non-matching numbers engine, so I have made a few custom additions to include a new bright red paint job with four coats of poly; a two tone brown and light saddle interior, and lots of chrome under the hood; plus remember it came with 3” exhaust pipes with low restriction mufflers, serpentine belt system, and electric fan; so the horsepower is really up. Everyone always says “awesome car and love that exhaust!”
My wife and I, our son, son-in-law and daughter go to the local ‘Vette club, the Austin Stingray Sharks, each month. Two red ‘Vettes and two happy families! Bottom line – how the young and young-at-heart got involved! My wife and I take the car out every Saturday night (weather permitting) where Beast creates a stir and the valet guys always put it up front out of harms way. These cars truly transcend the generations. I can’t tell you how much fun and enjoyment we’ve had from these cars!
– Hal, Kathy and Brett Lanham + Steve and Laura Pavlas
Austin , Texas