Every car buff simply loves beautifully restored cars, and that’s a very simple fact. One version of car restoration that is starting to gain a lot of traction recently is performance restoration. This is not just making the car look new, but also bringing its performance specifications to a point that the engineers at the time could have only dreamed about.
This puts custom car builders, like S&S Motorsports in Sarasota, FL, directly in the spotlight. Not only does S&S do extreme restoration projects on older GMs and Fords, but they also build these aging legends into mechanical monsters.
One of these monsters hit Ebay recently, in the form of the 1969 Chevrolet Corvette “Bomber `Vette” by S&S Motorsports. From a distance, this Corvette looks like it is yet another impeccably restored `69 Corvette, but up close it is easy to tell this is anything but just another `Vette. Add in a quick peak under the hood and your suspicions will be confirmed; this is an absolutely intense piece of 43-year-old muscle.
You might be wondering exactly what this bad boy is packing under that sleek-looking, reverse-opening hood…
Click past the jump to read our full review and have a look at what S&S has done this time.
To start off, we just have to say that the exterior of this `Vette is something of beauty. We see beautifully restored cars every day, but this job is definitely in the top one-third. The black paint job with a white racing stripe down the center looks like a colored sheet of glass laid over top of this Corvette’s body, making it look exponentially better than the factory ever could have imagined it.
At each corner you have a set of five-spoke, rally-style chrome rims. The front rims measure in at 18 x 9 inches and the rears measure in at 18 x 12 inches.
All of the body lines of the original 1969 `Vette appear to be intact, with the exception of the front and rear wheel wells. With the larger rims and rubber underneath the car, it looks like S&S had to do a little widening. It’s really not an intrusive modification, as this simply gives this classic Corvette a sleek widebody appearance.
As we all know, the 1969 Corvette’s gas door is positioned in the center of where the trunk lid would be on a traditional car. This door goes almost unnoticed, as Chevy matched its color with the rest of the car and made it flush with the body when closed. S&S scrapped that idea by placing a large chrome fuel filler assembly in the door’s place, which breaks up the monotony of the `Vette’s rear end.
At the top of the vehicle you have the typical 1969 Corvette T-bar roof. What’s not typical is the fact that the rear window pops out, giving this classic `Vette almost a convertible feel. On both sides of the car you will notice massive 4-inch chrome exhaust pipes, which protrude from the front fenders, much like luxury cars from the early-1900s.
Strewn throughout the body are various “S/S” logos, which pay homage to its builder and are not overly intrusive on the vehicle’s glass-like finish.
In all, S&S Motorsports certainly did a great job taking a classically design car and adding in just enough of a modern touch to set it off. They avoided the temptation to go overboard and left us drooling over one fine looking automobile!
The inside isn’t quite as beautifully done as the exterior, but it is definitely an acceptable job. The seats are premium leather racing seats with suede inserts. Stitched into the backrest of the seats are “S/S” logos. Holding you and your passenger in these luxury racing seats are a set of five-point safety harnesses. The door panels are appointed in the same leather trim as the seats and also have suede inserts.
S&S went a tad bit overboard by making the dashboard and center console out of lightweight carbon fiber and fitting it with aluminum directional air vents. The dashboard pad, however, appears to be stitched leather. The gear shift is a tad out there too, as it is a thruster-style shifter – similar to an airplane throttle – that just doesn’t fit the car, and there is another “S/S” logo on the shifter bezel.
The center console is chock-full of toggle switches, which we are sure just control normal items, like the HVAC system, power windows, etc. The center console and instrument cluster feature “Aircraft-style” gauges, rounding out the “Bomber” effect that S&S intended for this car.
As for technology on the inside, S&S definitely didn’t skimp out on us. The first thing you’ll notice is the fact that this `Vette turned bomber jet features a push-button starting interface. On the passenger’s side of the carbon fiber dashboard is an in-dash AM/FM/CD/DVD head unit and a navigation system.
Keeping the interior noise in check is sound deadening insulation throughout the car. Topping of the modernization of the classic Corvette is a new high-capacity air-conditioning system.
We often complain about cars’ dashboards looking like an airplane cockpit. This one definitely fits that bill, but we cannot complain, as it was specifically designed to look like the cockpit of a bomber airplane. Overall, we think they could have achieved the same result without resorting to that massive hunk of carbon fiber that S&S calls the dashboard. As you can tell, we are not overly impressed by the interior, but we are still drooling over that exterior.
Engine and Drivetrain
The car’s body caught our eyes and sucked us in, but we absolutely fell in love with what’s under this `Vette’s hood. This Corvette comes with a 565 cubic-inch Dart V-8 engine under its inviting hood. This engine boasts ported aluminum heads to help free up some airflow into the combustion chamber, a custom ground solid roller cam, and rolling rockers. Roller cam and rockers help the engine handle higher rpms than the old-style pushrod engines.
Feeding fuel to this large V-8 is a direct-port electronic fuel injection system. Straight from the crate, this engine pumps out an impressive 700 horsepower, but that wasn’t enough for this `Vette. S&S Motorsports then chose to install a custom-built intake manifold and slap not one, but two turbochargers onto this already powerful V-8, as well as a set of custom headers. Those two modifications pushed that insufficient 700 horsepower to over 1,200 horsepower on pump gas.
S&S then linked this 1,200-horsepower monster up to a 4L80E automatic transmission that surprisingly features shift paddles on the steering wheel. The transmission connects to a Moser 12-bolt posi-traction rear end, which is powder coated grey to match the rest of the car’s underbody.
This car is truly a beauty and also a beast of a vehicle. From the outside, this `Vette resembles a beautifully restored, yet relatively timid 300-horsepower 1969 Corvette. However, once you open up that hood, the 1,200-horsepower beast is released and any car will immediately become weak in the knees. To sum it up, yup, we like it!
Chassis, Handling and Braking
The chassis on this `Vette is one section where there is little to no remnants of the 1969 Corvette present. The chassis is a tubular design, which both saves weight and increases rigidity, something key in a 1,200-horsepower car with T-tops. A byproduct of increasing the car’s rigidity is also increasing its handling capabilities.
The front suspension system on this 1969 Bomber `Vette is a double wishbone-style borrowed from a C5 (1997 through 2004) model Corvette. The rear suspension is fully independent, something that the 1969 `Vette lacked. The Corvette "Bomber `Vette" by S&S Motorsports also features fully adjustable coil-over shocks on all four corners.
A set of street and track tires round out the suspension system. If there is one unanimous complaint about all muscle cars from the mid- to late-1960s, it is that they are sleds that were designed to go straight. We think it’s safe to assume that these suspension and chassis mods are enough to fix that.
The brakes are a four-wheel-disc variety. S&S classifies them as street/track brakes, but give us little knowledge on what they actually are. We do know that the calipers are powder coated red and that the rotors are cross-drilled and slotted.
The price is where things get a little iffy. Let’s start by saying that our research shows that S&S EXTREME built, which this Corvette is, runs a base price of $149,995, including the body. Yes, this Corvette is not a standard S&S EXTREME built, but its price of $269,999 is nearly twice the base value and likely significantly more than the owner paid for it.
Then again, this is a 1,200-horsepower machine that likely took some serious tinkering to get it where it is.
This is a 1,200-horsepower, one-off Corvette, do you think there is any competition? Nope, didn’t think so…
In all, we have a bit of a love hate deal with this car. We can’t get enough of that engine and body, but then the overdone interior just crushes it for us. Every person has their own opinion on what makes a good interior, so we will let you chose there. If you like the interior, jump all over it. If you find the interior as misplaced as we do, you might be better off having S&S custom build something for you.
- 1,200-horsepower V-8
- Awesome exterior work
- Not an over-the-top design on the outside
- That interior is hideous
- Carbon fiber dashboard? C’mon...
- Hey, did we mention that ugly airplane-like interior?