The Raptor  

Your Bridge To The Greatest Generation

The Raptor's Vette Page Created April 13th, 2007 Modified April 13th, 2007

 

 

Yep, there it is folks, a Red 1965 Corvette Convertible.  The car was purchased in the summer of 1975 from Jack Cooper of Chautauqua New York.  It was advertised in the paper for a price of $2,200.00 and was purchased for $1,800.00.  What had happened is that The Raptor's original car, a 1971 Ford Pinto had been wrecked.  Armed with an insurance settlement and working against the wishes of my parents, I drove to New York and purchased what was probably the most beat up and useless auto ever sold in the continental United States!

 

This picture is deceiving because the car looks pretty good.  However, this picture was probably taken in the summer of 1976 after some costly upgrades.  Consider some of the projects:

The black convertible top is new as are the tire's and trim rings and center cones.  The front bumper is new as are the ultra cool side exhausts. The other front bumper was installed shortly after this.  I believe that the bracket I purchased had to be altered.  The interior had been reworked because the flooring was non-existent.  Apparently, some of the previous drivers of the car thought that driving the car through rocky fields was acceptable.

The whole mechanical drive train was changed several times while The Raptor owned the car.  New brakes, new shocks, new ball joints, new radiator, new carburetor, new intake manifold, new windshield wiper motor and new shifter.

The paint was terrible and the car had been painted several times in 10 years.  At one point it was even painted white.  I considered getting the car painted but chickened out.  

The clutch was replaced at least 6 times while I owned the car.  This was primarily because I used to beat that car like there was no tomorrow.  The engine had been determined to not be the original engine of the car.  Based on some research performed by some of my motor head buddies, it was determined that the engine came from a 1969 Camaro.  Therefore, we tore the engine apart in the winter of 1976 and put all kinds of high performance parts in it.

Included in this rebuild were a new cam shaft, new crank shaft, new 12.5 to 1 compression high domed pistons, new timing chain, new distributor, new cast iron cylinder heads with 2.02 intake ports.  The rebuilt engine developed about 375 horsepower with this configuration and coupled with the side exhausts which were basically straight pipes with some baffling, the car could be heard from two blocks away.

For excitement, The Raptor used to drive up Sassafras Street to the overpass at 16th.  Stopping the car briefly, I would begin pumping the gas pedal bumping the tach up to about 5,000 rpm and when the timing was right, The Raptor would side step the clutch and create a huge burn out as the posi-traction rear end dug the tires into the asphalt.  This was the coolest thing going since the sound reverb within the overpass created an intense ear crunching roar.

It was in the summer of 1977 that The Raptor was given a replacement hood that was supposedly hand built by local Vette body man Lenny Albert.  It really was somewhat ugly but I decided to put it on the car anyhow.

 

 

During the winter of 1977, we rebuilt the engine again and unfortunately, there were some problems with the rebuild which cost some major $$$$ to fix.  I recall that the car eventually was towed to Hallman Chevrolet and the engine had to be taken apart again in order to get it running.  During this time, and because of all of the money spent on the car, I elected to sell the car and it was sold to a local lad, Chuck Iverson who probably had it about 3 or 4 years but never seemed to get it going right. I think I sold it for $3,500.00

Ironically, it was about 10 years later when news of the Raptor's Vette surfaced again.  It seems that Chuck sold the Vette to local Body Man, Jeff Howell who fixed it up and sold it to someone in New Jersey for $13,000.00.

I really miss that car and this explained my intent to buy another Vette in 1995.  This story will be covered in another chapter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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