Pat Harper bought a custom 1973 Corvette back in 1980.
He owned it for about 15 years before he sold the ‘Vette to his brother in the mid-90s.
‘Pat still had an emotional connection with the car and bought it back from his brother in 2006.’
Pat started a frame-off restoration on his custom Vette in 2008-but he didn’t do it alone. His son Sean was involved in the whole process with Pat and the two generations of car guys built a monster street car over the next 8 years.
We caught up to this talented father and son team shortly after they finished the build in early June 2016. The public had already dubbed it the “Corvette Summer Car”, but Pat was quick to point out his ‘Vette is an entirely different beast.
Pat’s Corvette now sports a bored-out 454 Chevy big block that can now lay claim to 460 cubic reasons this ‘Vette should be feared on the street.
The car has aluminum heads and a large Holley 870 carb to add extra punch to the big block. It also has a custom header exhaust system to release all that fury from the combustion chambers.
The custom tilt hood was already on the car when Pat bought it back in 1980, but the custom tilt doors were part of the father and son touches on the car. They also added the hood scoop to the Corvette.
Sean showed off his considerable talents when he pointed out the new location under the driver side front fender for the Corvette’s electrical panel and explained how he was the man behind the move.
The eight year project started on the wrong footings when they discovered a huge problem with the body mounts-they were completely shot. Sean said that was the moment “a small project became a big project.”
Most car guys can identify with Pat and Sean because most projects have a few hidden surprises-the kind that usually cost more time and money than the original forecast.
Pat and Sean were lucky because they were able to tackle the heavy lifting on the ‘Vette, but they had to stretch the completion time because both guys had other demands on their time.
The car has a custom roll bar designed and built by Pat, along with an after-market air conditioning unit which is much better than factory in his opinion.
The car also sports an after-market five-speed manual transmission to handle all those horses from the tricked-out big block. The Harpers are confident the ‘Vette will dyno at about 450 horsepower at the rear wheels when the rubber hits the rollers.
Pat has already discovered how well the car rolls down the road with its new rack and pinion steering and fiberglass leaf springs in the rear. This Corvette may have left the factory in 1973 as a solid performer in its day, but Pat and Sean have given it a brand new day with all their changes.
Eight years later, that new day has come for Pat and his Corvette.
‘All it took was a little father and son bonding time with a car project to give this story a happy ending.’
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