Article and photos by Larry Crain
Look up “Black Sheep through Google and you will see a whole bunch of different ways to take it, but my favorite is from the Urban Dictionary, which says “A Black Sheep is someone who doesn’t follow mainstream ways or someone who doesn’t care what is in or out”. You can really apply that statement to this super-sharp looking 1961 Corvette owned and built by Jack Sheppard of Grovetown, Georgia. While everyone else is trying to restore an early Corvette to numbers matching perfection, this little gem was built in the extreme opposite.
Here’s a recipe for a cool hot rod. Start out with an American classic, such as this all fiberglass body Corvette produced by GM in 1961. Taking that rough-riding, not so great handling chassis and roll it out behind the shop. Set that Dupont painted black body with Charcoal coves onto an Art Morrison chassis and you are ready to handle any road out there, plus look good doing it. Want an awesome stance? Just throw on a classic looking set of Bonneville wheels from Billet Specialties, 18x7 on the front mounted with Goodyear 245/45/18 and 20x11 on the rear mounted with Goodyear 265/50/20.
Next major step in becoming a black sheep in the Corvette world is to throw away that factory small block and install a 427 Big Block pumping out 540 horsepower thanks to the combination of Dart block, heads and intake. Dress this monster motor in some polished aluminum and slick black covers, and you have a killer look. Want to rub a little more salt in that wound of restoration? Trash can that factory tranny for a great pavement pounding highway cruising Tremec 5 speed. But if you want to really drive a purist totally nuts, be sure and let them know that there is a Ford 9 inch rear end with 4:88 gears putting all that horsepower to the asphalt.
Of course what fun is it to have all that horsepower and handling but not be comfortable? Problem solved with a trip to Pro Auto Custom Interiors and some magic worked by Steve Holcomb and his crew. An interior dressed out, not in traditional black, but grey leather with red stitching to really catch a person’s eye from several steps away. Throw in creature comforts like a custom leather wrapped steering wheel, Vintage Air a/c, power windows, big screen display for the radio and the ever popular back up camera!
Get through with a project like this and you’ll want to take it somewhere special, oh say maybe Shades of the Past where you bring home a Top 25. Now you can say you have done something a lot of others have not. You might be a black sheep in some crowds after building this Corvette your way, but dang if you don’t look good going down the highway.
Shops and manufacturers used in the building of this car.