This car represents a lot of things. The inspiration to become a car designer, for one. ‘60s road racing at Riverside International Raceway is another. It’s a piece of accessible Chevrolet racing history, as Hall’s awe-inspiring Chaparrals and Duntov’s Grand Sports were in another world altogether. It’s a tribute to my dad in a way, for his encouragement and that he overlooked several mistakes made by his teenage car enthusiast.

The car represents an era that is lost and gone forever. The circumstances surrounding the design and development of the C2 were unique. It’s the creation of Pete Brock, Larry Shinoda, Bill Mitchell, Zora Duntov, and many others.


My dad, the race fan.

I was 16 years old when the ’65 Corvette came out. The C2 Corvette was mind boggling in its day, and the ’65 raised the stakes considerably. The year of disc brakes and the 396. American Racing modified their Torq-Thrust wheels to fit the Corvette disc brakes and called the new design the Torq-Thrust D, and that what’s on the car in a 16-inch version.

The colors on the car are a tribute to American automobile racing, when white and blue represented America at tracks like LeMans and Sebring.

It’s old school. Four-bolt main 350 CID (dated late 1971) small block fueled by a Holley. The only consideration to technology is an HEI distributor. Four-speed Muncie transmission, Hurst shifter, Power brakes, but no power steering. That said, the tie rods are attached to the “fast ratio” holes in the steering knuckles. Thanks, Zora.

No carpet. I finished and painted the interior instead. Probably added a year to the project. More race car look. The underneath was coated with Lizard Skin for heat control and sound deadening. To minimize interior modifications, the four-point roll bar has tube clamps and can be removed. The lower portion bolts to the frame.

The car is stripped of gingerbread and non-essential accessories. Heater? Don’t need that. I live in Arizona. Air Conditioning? Don’t need that. The car has vent windows. Radio? According to Jay Leno, if you can hear the radio the exhaust isn’t loud enough. So, don’t need that either. Bumpers? Race cars don’t have bumpers. And the Grand Sports didn’t have retractable headlights, so neither does the C2R. No idea how much weight that saved. The result: the C2R is 320 pounds lighter than a typical small block mid-year coupe. 

Is a C3R next?

If you are or were a car designer and would like to have your car or motorcycle build featured on Dean’s Garage, let me know.

The entire eight year + build (probably more photos than anybody has patience to wade through) is on Dean’s Garage.

Video was made by Bill Boudreau of ZR51 Performance.

What a mess.

  1. Dick Ruzzin


    Some poor soul will look at your car someday and say to himself “I can do that, it looks like it was easy”, not realizing in a million years that it was done with passion and skill by a professional car designer with much experience and as Bill Mitchell would say, “gasoline in your blood”. Your Corvette will inspire others, Street Racer is not a class at St. John’s or Pebble Beech but I think it would get into Eyes On Design. Maybe some day you will spawn a new class in some show. I am sure you will be in that big event over at the shopping center near the Macdonalds in Phoenix every Friday night.

    I can see and hear you cruising some warm night about 1 in the morning on some little side street past the streetlights. I know you were going easy on the engine, keeping the revs down in the video and I hope you will really let it go by the time that you will make the movie. The oil filter shows why. The sound was fantastic.

    The car is wonderful, designed into it is that quiet dignity with the character of a really fast car that is not pretending. It says I want to go, somewhere, anywhere. Please. It is a Dream Cruiser, It would be great to have you here in Detroit someday to do the Dream Cruise and spend some time at Pasteiner’s. Everyone would love it and I guarantee that you would meet a lot of people who are big fans of Dean’s Garage. I have a bedroom for you and your wife if you ever do.

    Your Dad would be very proud.

    Dick Ruzzin

  2. Pete Klain

    Gary, Great job as always. The car looks like it could go on the track and win. The graphics and paint are flawless as usual with your vehicles. Well Done!!!

  3. ETMC

    Beautiful build. Strikes me as the perfect balance betwen a vintage Z06 racer and a full-blown Grand Sport – not unlike Penske’s ’66 car – but with a nuanced attention to detail throughout, as can only be expected from a designer of your caliber. Well done indeed.


    Impressive build, Gary. Wish it was mine.

  5. george tingom

    I really like the video and sounds. Had not thought about a need to allow exhaust
    to freely escape. Therefore, no need to worry about the radio acoustics.

    I also like John 5:24 quote in full at the bottom.

  6. Norman

    I didn’t listen to the car, since I know what they sound like. Not to over-praise, but nice car. All of us, especially those of us who experienced C2’s (my Dad had a big-block ’66 convertible…) have certain “tastes” where the styling is concerned. Dad had the useless front bumpers removed and the mount points smoothed, so good on you there.

    I drive a C7, but only because I didn’t have the time to build what I wanted…which was a modified ’67 C2. Basically, Dad’s car brought up to date. I salute your work, especially since you gave the car the headlights it always should have had!

  7. Gary….I fell in love with your C2 coupe the moment I saw it! All American….design, colors, modifications and SOUND! Love it. Peter Brock

  8. Bob

    If it had 6 taillights, it would be perfect!

    When I bought the car, it did have six taillights. The problem with six taillights is this. Because of the curved plan view of the taillight panel, each taillight is specific to it’s location so that all of the taillights point rearward. Adding another set of the inboard lights causes the lenses to face somewhat inward, creating a cross-eyed appearance. I did consider boring holes in the panel like the Grand Sports, but decided not to.—Gary

  9. Ron Will

    Gary: I saw you put this together piece by piece over the years. Each time you explained the vision that was, to me, only a dusty pile of fiberglass parts spread around your shop. It’s now that marvelous vision, only you saw over the years. Congratulations for creating a beautiful beast and a new piece of Corvette automotive history. Ron

  10. Sheldon Payne

    Nicely done Gary…surely a candidate for Petrolicious. Love the detailing, too.

  11. Gary,
    From one car designer to another. WOW! Thanks for sharing your story and photos that so wonderfully showcase your creative talents as a designer, your vision and craftsmanship and determination. Amazing job well done! John

  12. Andrew Minney

    What a cool looking car and well built. I liked the Jay Leno comment about the exhaust!

  13. Tom Semple

    Oh, it sounds good! Reminds me of the exhaust notes in the movie “Bullit.” In the movie, there was that extra blip during shifting. Some kind of near instantaneous double clutch heal and toe nonsense I suppose. I can’t do it, but you look quick. See if you can work on that, please.

    Meanwhile, The car has exactly what it needs and nothing more.

    Today’s cars are nightmares of complexity. This one is stripped of a lot of the things that break and cost a lot of money to replace. Perhaps that’s why so much acreage around this country is graced with so many deceased cars.

    I love the whole thing, from the exterior to the interior…what a nice interior! Just enough without fire extinguishers on the dash and such foolishness…Great stance, great job, Gary!

    There is a fire extinguisher mounted way up under the passenger side IP. Out of the way and out of sight. And rolling I do have to double clutch downshift going into first because first gear syncro is not doing what it’s supposed to be doing. Trans has to come out. And, by the way, in Bullet they dubbed in the sounds from a Ford GT for McQueen’s Mustang.—Gary

  14. Kevin Arnold

    Wow!!! You did a magnificent job. I remember the car when you brought it home. I look forward to seeing you and the car the next time I am in town. The car is amazing.

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