This is a story of not only a very cool Corvette but also of the unique shop that built it.
How many times have you heard this scenario from a hot rodder Baby Boomer; “I had one of those (pick a car) while in high school, had to sell it and wanted another ever since”. Well that's what happened to Jack Curtis. He owned a 1971 Corvette that he raced many years ago. Fast forward several decades later, after enjoying a very successful career; Jack decided it's time for another '71. This one's gotta be a street car and not like any Corvette he's owned - or seen before. The #1 requirement was that it had to have huge 345 rear tires to remind him of his original drag car's slicks.
Enter Jeff Page and the Team at Heartland Customs. This Purcell, OK based shop has been in business a short 9 years and but has carved out a niche in the rod & custom sector by building some off-the-hook Corvettes. Heartland is compromised of Jeff, his wife, father father, wife and one talented technician.
As you saw, Jack Curtis' 1971 debuted at SEMA this year, very impressive since this car was built in only 2 years. Jack, being a Texas Tech fan, wished to incorporate the school's colors of gray and candy red in the build and was accomplished very tastefully. With an amazing 105 body mods. Most of the modifications were very subtle; like moving the bumpers in closer to the body, for example. Think of Heartland as a plastic surgeon clinic; some procedures they perform are very noticeable - like a boob job (think of the car in the movie “Corvette Summer”) - while others are just a nip and tuck here and there. The '71 is a prime example of the old “nip & tuck”. Dr. Jeff did an amazing job re-stating the Corvette's styling while being basically un-noticable to all but a Vette purist. One of the more significant changes, however, was eliminating the flip-up headlights, moving them to custom CNC machined front grills. Matching CNC side grills replace the originals.
This Vette contains tons of electronic wizardry - from a fully integrated touch screen system that controls everything from lights to power windows, a keyless entry system, push button start and a heads-up-display (HUD) monitor.
Sidenote: projecting the HUD on a traditional laminated windshield gives a double image without a small screen to project it on – which detracted from the clean unobstructed view Jeff was after. So, a custom acrylic windscreen was made and it reflects the HUD image perfectly. Another sophisticated design feature is where all the vehicle's wiring terminates; the fuse panel and all relays are contained in a powered drawer behind the seats.
The most impressive fact of the electronics is that Heartland completed all the wiring and systems integration by with no outside help.
If you've viewed the video, you already know about the hidden gun compartment in the dash; push a button and a lid opens just right of the gauges that contain a
.357 magnum – complete with bullets of course.
Here's a few shout-outs for some of the key suppliers that contributed to this beauty:
Greening Auto did all the amazing aluminum CNC work
Roadster Shop collaborated on building the completely modern chassis
Evod wheels carved the custom one-off billet rally wheels
Classic Instruments built the extraordinary gauge cluster
Compton Interiors of Fort Worth gets credit for the beautiful interior work
PPG paint was used for those Texas Tech colors
Congratulations to Jack Curtis and everyone at Heartland Customs for sharing their stunning 1971 Corvette; watch the video!