Al Hofmann's 1963 Split Window Corvette (from September 2002)

With Eustis, Florida resident Al Hofmann’s background as a long time NHRA Nitro Funny Car driver, it isn’t too hard to figure out why the street cars he builds usually have a pretty aggressive combination of parts. So when Al set his sights on building a 1963 split window Corvette, it was almost a given that it would follow suit and be one vicious Vette.

The car did indeed start out as a real split window with tri-power and side pipes, but would soon see some major changes. This started with a Morrison tube chassis, a tubular A-arm front end, 4-link rear suspension, and a 9 inch Ford rear end. The car has rack & pinion steering, Koni coil over shocks, and disc brakes all around. Where it was tubbed to accommodate the huge rear tires (Mickey Thompsons measuring 18.5 inches wide and 33 inches tall) carbon fiber was used to keep things a bit quieter while going down the road.

Under the hood lies a stout all aluminum Keith Black Chevy engine, displacing a full 572 cubic inches. It is fitted with lots of go fast goodies, and is fed from a 33 gallon fuel cell, which is still filled using the stock gas door just below the split rear window. The spent mixture exits through a 3 inch exhaust system, which routes out through the factory looking side pipes, producing a menacing tone and ground shaking rumble that demands attention. A Richmond 5-speed manual transmission helps get all that power to the ground, allowing the car to hit 200+ mph if desired.

The exterior was kept basically stock, and painted white with blue accents in the classic Corvette scheme, accented by the race inspired Centerline Convo Pro wheels. Al did everything on the car himself except the upholstery, which is where Howard Krusey at Complete Auto Upholstery in Altamonte Springs came into the picture. Howard stitched up the tasteful blue and white vinyl, done in a custom style that still accents the rest of the car’s classic look. Other interior items include a full set of Auto Meter gauges, an aluminum tilt steering column, and a carbon fiber steering wheel.

After shooting the photos we got to talking about other things, and the subject of racing of course came up. Al told us that he is now officially retired from NHRA Drag Racing, so that he can pursue other things. His main focus will be happily modifying and restoring classic cars, which is something he has always done, but can now devote more time to. Al also told us that he is planning on dabbling in Late Model Stock Cars for fun. Regardless, you can rest assured that even though he no longer feels the need to go 300+ mph in a Funny Car, Al Hofmann isn’t sitting around idle either. It is still life at full throttle.....just in a different direction. CN