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Paul Mancuso's 1968 Corvette
(from Volume 16, Issue 175)

Corvettes are often thought of as a wild breed; a cross of brute road machine and space age aerodynamics combined with far-out sports flair and, in the minds of many Americans, a touch of European GT styling. In 1968 Chevrolet made a bold statement when they totally redesigned the Corvette. For the first time the Corvette combined aspects of automobile aerodynamics, drag, stability, and lift. Zora Arkus-Duntov, the father of the Corvette, helped design this new Corvette from the 1965 Mako Shark Prototype. 1968 was the last year for the infamous 327 small block, and was also a year that saw many new components specific to 1968 only.

All of these reasons combined to make Paul Mancuso decide to Vette-rod his 1968. You see, Paul bought his prize Corvette in 1986 for a paltry $5,900.00. After driving the car for several years he decided to park it while attending medical school. Upon graduation Paul moved to Florida to start his practice, and after years of working, Paul had the money to restore his ole ‘68.

After remembering some of the shortcomings compared to a modern car, Paul decided, with the help of Wayne Thompson at Master Blaster, to bring the car into the 21st century. The foundation for the new build was a tubular frame by way of SR111 Motorsports in Chicago. This frame came complete with C5 Corvette front suspension, featuring adjustable coil overs and rack and pinion steering. Out back is a C4 Dana rear end, and independent suspension with adjustable coil overs. After the car was fitted to the new chassis, the chassis was torn down and sent out to the powder coater, as were all brackets and supports, along with the fuel tank. All were coated in a brilliant silver, which is both durable and eye appealing. Next a set of 18-inch C5 Chrome Corvette rims were wrapped in BFGoodrich G-Force Sport tires, with 245-40s on the front and 295-35s on the rear. The interior was tastefully redone with the original style black vinyl, complimented by black weave carpet. The idea was to keep the car looking as stock as possible, and it worked to perfection.

The next order of business was what to do about the power plant. Since the original 327 was in great shape, Paul decided to have it built with Edelbrock aluminum heads, a radical lift cam and an Edelbrock Pro fuel injection system. To cool this now 500hp beast, which are known for overheating, a Dewitt four core aluminum radiator with a dual electric fan was incorporated.

Wayne and Corey at Master Blaster then stripped the body to bare glass, and proceeded to lay down a mirror Torch Red base coat / clear coat paint job. They also completely reconstructed the 1968 Vette-rod from the ground up until a new masterpiece was completed. Special thanks also go out to Mark Napoli from Palm Bay for taking on the task of making everything run properly and work perfectly.

After owning the car for more than 22 years, Paul is very pleased with the direction the completed project took. This is one Corvette that is truly built to be driven as well as shown, and the more you look underneath the exterior, the more you realize just how much planning, work and execution went into making Paul’s dream come true. Chevrolet might have made the Corvette new for 1968, but Paul and the crew at Master Blaster of Orlando made this ‘68 Corvette new for the 21st Century. CN