Custom Cruise Friday
If there is one thing that ties together every Corvette ever built, it’s that they are the stuff of dreams. Countless millions of Corvette posters adorn the walls of fans just dreaming of the day when they can finally call one of these outstanding machines their very own. The story behind this week’s Custom Cruise Friday vehicle started much like that. When John Hokanson was finally able to bring home his 1967 Corvette Sting Ray Convertible, it was the realization of a goal he wanted to accomplish since he was a very young man.
“It’s always been a fantasy of mine, since I was a teenager, to own one of the original Corvette Sting Rays,” Hokanson said.
His search for the perfect car led him to Vestris’ Vettes in California. Hokanson contracted with the company to find the vehicle and build it for him. An admitted car enthusiast but not a car expert, Hokanson asked the team to make his car what is known in the industry as a “resto-mod.” This means that the exterior of the car is almost 100 percent stock and true to the period. However, the major components like the engine, transmission, brakes and suspension are built using modern parts. This has the added advantage of improving performance and reliability.
As part of the modification end of the process, the California shop used a modern Chevy engine that should be very familiar to Corvette fans, the LS7. While this engine is a 427 cubic-inch small block, like the one that originally appeared in the 1967 Stingray, it produces significantly more power. Hokanson’s car is rated for more than 505 horsepower, however, the modern five-speed transmission is geared in such a way that the engine isn’t terribly taxed and doesn’t guzzle fuel.
It is very clear that Hokanson, holds this car in great esteem. His understated way of talking about it simply underscores his feelings about driving it.
“It’s quite a hoot (to drive) actually,” Hokanson said. “It gets a lot of attention.”
Dry wit aside, this is still a pretty bold statement to make considering that Hokanson has only accumulated a little more than 3,000 kilometers on the car since he’s owned it.
Even though the internal mechanical components of the 1967 Corvette Sting Ray are all modern, they still require upkeep and maintenance. To help that end, Hokanson brings his car to the Don Wheaton Service Department for various needs.
“(Don Wheaton) seems to have some individuals in the service department that are quite familiar working with these cars,” Hokanson said. “There were a couple of little tricky things on there that I wasn’t sure about and they were able to resolve them for me.
“I was quite pleased with that.”
A fairly common theme among the vehicles profiled in a Custom Cruise Friday feature is that most owners are unwilling to part with their cars. Hokanson is taking a much more relaxed approach and has realized his time with the 1967 Sting Ray has passed.
“I’ve decided I need one less battery in my life,” Hokanson said. “I’ve had my fun with it. I’ve enjoyed it while I’ve had it. It’s time to move on to something else.”
Hokenson is placing the car in a Ritchie Brothers auction in Edmonton, Alberta on Sept. 9. People interested in the vehicle will have a chance to find the same level of enjoyment has he did and make a few memories of their own.
If you have a classic or modified car that you would like to see featured in a Custom Cruise Friday blog, please send some photos and applicable information to Don Wheaton Internet Manager, Melina Kawecki, through email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Owners also have the option of contacting the dealership directly by calling 780-439-0071.