Unrestored Survivor 1960 Corvette Might Be Most Original in Existence

1960 Chevrolet Corvette Front Side View  

Standing by his ’60 survivor with 11,870 miles on the odometer, Gary Skinner told us, “I rode in it when it was brand-new. The owner put it up in 1968 and didn’t drive it again.” All the while, Skinner waited for his chance. He grew up with the original owner Ed Graye, a schoolteacher from the little town of West Frankfort, Illinois.

“He ordered the car just the way he wanted it, with the big, fuel-injected 283 and three-speed manual instead of the four-speed ’cause he wanted to drag race it.” Of course, drag racing in those days didn’t translate to just the strip. “Just local stuff, out on the blacktop. We didn’t have dragstrips back then,” Skinner remarked. After about two weeks Graye realized he didn’t have the big (290-horse) fuelie. He had what Skinner called the “small fuelie,” rated at 250 horsepower. So, Graye went back to the original dealer, 30 miles away in Eldorado, Missouri, and found out Chevrolet could not supply the big-horse fuelie. If he couldn’t have the 290-horse 283, Graye wanted something he would be able to work on,” Skinner recalled.

That something would be the big-horse dual-quad 283. But, what could be done now? According to Skinner, the dealer actually loaded Graye’s ’60 Corvette on a trailer and towed it back to the factory in St. Louis, 100 miles away. At the St. Louis assembly plant, they pulled the 283 and installed a 270-horsepower dual-quad 283. This installation required installing a new tachometer, a bigger radiator, and other items specific to this high-performance small-block.

1960 Chevrolet Corvette Front View Storage

In 1986, Gary Skinner purchased this survivor ’60 Corvette, stored in a pole barn in his neighbor’s backyard.

1960 Chevrolet Corvette Rear Side View

From 1975 to 1977, weather took a toll on the ’60 Corvette, seen here parked outside in West Frankfort, Missouri, where winters can be cruel.

Happy now, Graye drove his ’60 Vette “real hard” until 1968. Skinner doesn’t know why Graye parked his dual-quad 283 in a shed on his property. Skinner suspects a driving incident had something to do with the car’s retirement. “He told me at 150 [mph] the left front tire went down and he almost flipped it. That was in 1968. He never drove it again,” recalled Skinner. But once the hot Corvette got parked, Skinner tried to buy the car “a bunch of times” over the next 18 years. Unfortunately, Graye had made up his mind not to sell.

In 1981 or 1982, Skinner, who was Graye’s neighbor for all those years, helped extricate the Vette from the shed. “It sat outside for two years. That’s what took the toll on it.” Next, Graye built a pole barn in his yard to store the Vette. People “knew it was there and tried to buy it for years and years. When he got ready to sell it, I was third on his list. His sister didn’t want it. His son had just started a new business and couldn’t afford it. So I ended up with it.”

The year was 1986. The price was $7,500. Skinner wasn’t into Corvettes and didn’t know much about prices. But, he turned down $25,000 for the ’60 model three weeks later at the Chicago Vette Fest at McCormick Place. “There, all the Corvette people got to see it. My intentions were to restore it. After I talked to them they said don’t you dare restore that car. Keep it as it, so that’s what I did.”

Over the past 28 years, Skinner has become a real Corvette person, trailering and showing his ’60 Vette at big shows in Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

“Every place I take it, it gets something. It’s just an eye-catcher,” relayed Skinner. And what a good steward Skinner has been of this Corvette survivor. In 1986, the odometer stood at 11,110. Over the next 28 years, Skinner added just 760 miles driving it on and off his trailer, motoring in parades, and on short hops to shows in close proximity to his home. He starts the 283 “every once in a while to keep it lubricated.” The result is perhaps the lowest mileage and most original survivor left in the world. “I’ve messed with Corvettes for quite a while now. I think this Corvette is probably the most original ’60 model in existence.”

1960 Chevrolet Corvette Interior

Skinner pulled off the protective plastic on the driver-side to reveal the original seats.

1960 Chevrolet Corvette Engine View

The Chevrolet dealer sent the ’60 model, after only two weeks of street driving in the hands of the retail buyer, back to St. Louis. The factory removed and replaced the fuel injected 250-horsepower 283 with a 270-horsepower dual-quad 283

By:Jerry Heasley

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Posted in General Motors, Interesting Stuff

Tips for Conquering The Swap Meet


Swap Meet season is coming up fast, so it’s time to pull out the old wish list, see what’s missing in your latest project and make some space on the garage wall for another porcelain sign. Or, it may be time to trailer that barn find and round up all of the classic car parts laying around your workshop to help pay for your next automotive masterpiece. Whether you plan to buy, sell, or do a little of both, the Swap Meet is the place to do it.

Of course, part of the fun of going to a swap meet is finding the perfect pieces for your ride, or meeting someone as passionate about your wares as yourself. The other fun part is haggling for a perfect price that leaves both buyer and seller satisfied. So here are a few tips to help both the buyer and the seller get good prices and enjoy their day.


Buyers – At a swap meet, haggling is not only encouraged, it is expected. Most sellers will be happy to knock a few dollars off the price as long as you are friendly, respectful and don’t try to low-ball them. Low-balling makes you come across as ignorant, crass and someone that the seller may not want to deal with. Think of the amount that you are willing to pay for an item and go a little lower than that. Usually the seller will give you a counter offer and you can go back and forth until you both settle on a price somewhere in between. Also, don’t be afraid to walk away from an item if it is too expensive for you.

Puyallup_4x4_Swapmeet_02Sellers – A good rule of thumb is to think of the minimum amount you will take for your items and price them a little higher, but not so high as to turn off your customers immediately. Remember that you are competing with smartphones and internet access, but don’t let that scare you from getting a fair price for your stuff. When you see someone interested in one of your items, start up a friendly chat with them. Chances are they are either working on a project or have an interesting story to tell about why they are attracted to the item. Also, don’t be offended if they offer you a price at half of what you are asking – every haggling session has to start somewhere. Just counter offer with what you feel is a fair price and go from there.

Hemming’s Calendar of Swap Meets HERE

Posted in Events

1971 Chevrolet Nova- Old School Rules Life Lessons for the Past 28 Years

Were you just a casual CHP reader, you might get the idea that the high-dollar cars featured here are the normal currency of the realm, when in fact they merely represent the fringe, the candy, the what-I-could-do-with-suitcase-fulla-dough mentality, when the core of the business is infused with enthusiasts much less fussy and with goals much more attainable. Since the hot rod is their own, they take responsibility for as much of its creation as possible. In this way, the car becomes a learning tool and a fine bonding agent for the builders. Luckily, Jim Makerov was a tool-and-die maker and had raced a ’65 Nova in A/Modified Production in the ’60s.

It may also be a matter of humility. Son Mike Makerov says this: “Honors or awards earned? Not a one. My Dad and I didn’t build the car for that. We built it to spend time together and see what we could do on a fixed budget and my Alpha Beta box-boy checks.”

Makerov the younger’s hot rod life began in 1986. He was 16. He paid $1,350 for the ’71 Nova and drove it home. Dad’s constant tinkering had inevitably drawn his son into wrenching on cars so he was ready for the next big step. There would be no jump to power. The idea was to use the 307, learn with it and make it dead-nuts reliable because Mike needed it for school and then a job after that. Though envisioned mainly as a sticky-back-tire straight-line destroyer, the Nova would see road duty as well and Dad knew a lot about building an engine combination that would catapult the Nova from a peanut butter sandwich daily driver status to a street-and-strip creature straight out of the old-school archives.

1971 Chevrolet Nova Front In Motion  
1971 Chevrolet Nova Front Side View

Over time, they upgraded the rear axle with 10-bolts…that disintegrated on a regular basis before they stepped up to a much stronger 12-bolt fitted with 3.36:1 gears and a Powertrax differential. Instead of swapping out the automatic for something “stronger,” they’ve remained loyal to the Turbo 350. Chino Hills Transmission improved it and included a 3,000-stall B&M Holeshot converter. The Makerovs installed an auxiliary fluid cooler but retained a stock Chevrolet driveshaft.

In their garage in Chino, Jim and Mike prepared the chassis with simple bolt-ons, combining Competition Engineering subframe connectors, aluminum body mounts, and traction bars. They rebuilt the front suspension with PST bits and added Moroso coils and Comp Eng adjustable shock absorbers. They retained the antisway bar but run it loose for drag racing. They plugged PST polyurethane bushings in the spring eyes of the ’69 Camaro multi-leafs and finished with Comp Eng adjustable dampers.

Since neither the agility nor the braking energy were issues, the Makerovs saved thousands by rehabbing the factory disc/drum setup. Since this is an old-school-driven project, 15-inch rims were a given. Weld Drag Lites shine all the way around in 7- and 8-inch widths. The rubber is generic, too: 205/70 BFG Comp T/A chased by Mickey Thompson 255/60 ET Street Radials.

1971 Chevrolet Nova Engine View 2  
1971 Chevrolet Nova Engine View 1  

In 1988, the men replaced the 307 with a stout 383 that served until 1992. Then it was big-block time. A 0.030-over 454 that they’d built for Jim’s ’57 pickup was curiously diverted to the Nova mainstream. In Ontario, California, the Wilson Brothers performed the requisite machine work, ground the crank, and performed the dynamic balancing. Meanwhile, up in San Jose, Victory Machine fussed over the cast-iron closed-chamber oval port cylinder heads. Jim spent lots of porting and polishing time and then assembled them with Manley valves and COMP Cams springs. The cast crankshaft, refurbished stock rods, and 9.5:1 Speed-Pro forged pistons comprise the rotating assembly. It’s connected to the COMP 280H cam (0.520-inch lift; 230 degrees duration) by a Pete Jackson geardrive (how’s that for old-school?). COMP 1.7:1 roller rockers are tipped by COMP 7/16-inch diameter pushrods. The Makerovs upgraded the oiling system with a Milodon 8-quart sump and a Melling high-volume pump.

The top of the engine hosts a vacuum-secondary Holley 4150 750-cfm carburetor (with K&N filter) on an Edelbrock Performer intake manifold. Spark flares from an MSD 6A box and Mallory Unilite distributor and timing is all in at 36 degrees. Noxious gases are extracted by Hooker Super Comp headers featuring 1 7/8-inch primary pipes and 3-inch dumps trailed by a 3-inch exhaust system channeling into Flowmaster mufflers. Mike: “The engine makes in the neighborhood of 450 horsepower and 450 lb-ft and I shift it at 5,700 rpm. It’s been in the Nova since 1993, with a fresh one (bearings, rings, cylinders honed, valve job) built by me in 2003.”

Resourcefulness is key to the budget build. You use what you can when you can. To that end, though it might not follow air quality code to the letter, an open-air forum (perhaps with a roof) for bodywork and paint is copacetic on California’s myriad calm days.

1971 Chevrolet Nova Headlights  
1971 Chevrolet Nova Weld Racing Wheel  

Mike: “Thanks to my good friends Doug and Mike Trow, it took about year for the bodywork and to get it ready for paint. They sprayed it on New Year’s morning 1994 in their backyard carport. After waiting about a week for it cure, Mike decided he wasn’t happy and said he was going to shoot it again. After another week of complete color-sand and prep, he shot it again.” Ten years later, the PPG single-stage Turquoise (mixed by Mike) pops brilliant and looks like it went on yesterday.

In the fun room, Mike directs the proceedings from a ’92 Mustang seat that Classic Upholstery in Montclair, California, dressed in cloth. The dashboard is stock, although a trio of ancillary meters depend from its bottom. The 5-inch Auto Meter tachometer is not stock. While he clicks the B&N Holeshot ratchet (Line-Loc attached), he handles the Grant Elite GT steering wheel. Though air conditioning is not part of this scheme, amplified tunes are. Mike chose a Sony AM/FM/CD 40-watt, 4-channel head unit, and Orion 230W amp, two Pioneer 6-inch 3-way speakers in the door and put another pair of Pioneer 6×9 3-way speakers in the package tray.

1971 Chevrolet Nova Interior  
1971 Chevrolet Nova Shifter  
1971 Chevrolet Nova Rpm Gauge  

Since the Makerovs and friends were willing to put so much sweat into this project, Mike estimates that the cash outlay for the last 28 years was a piddling $20 grand—the cost of a “modern” engine and driveline these days. If you’re looking for monster performance here then please turn away. Amazing empirical data was not the object. The Nova is about a partnership, not a killer car. Mike lays rubber on the Irwindale eighth- and the Fontana quarter-mile. At a 3,800-pound running weight, it has produced a best of 12.64 at 108.

But the racing is just one part of the attraction. The other is conveyance in a social atmosphere. Mike does the annual Corn-Feed Run and never misses the gathering at Manna Donuts Sunday mornings in Chino.

“Really thinking about it now,” said Mike. “The Nova is a great looking and performing car that my Dad and I got to build together. But more than that, it taught me patience, how to solve problems, how to earn what you get, how to plan, how to take care of and appreciate what you have, how to make various parts come together and work as a system, and how to keep making things better. My Dad passed in March 2013, but my wife, Julie, had Liam, our first child, in September of that year. So the Nova will have another go-around at bonding father and son in the garage while I teach my son the same life lessons that my dad taught me.”

By: Ro McGonegal

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Posted in General Motors, Interesting Stuff

2015 Photo Contest Submissions

buickOur photo contest albums contains 100’s of awesome cars that our customers submitted. Its like car porn albums for all to see. Enjoy!

Posted in Industry News

2015 Tamraz’s Photo Contest

P9240031Want to see the picture of your car proudly plastered all over our website? We are hosting a photo contest by Make and Model to help dress up our new online store categories, and what better photos to use than our customers cars!


Want to enter a photo of your ride and see it on our site? Its as easy as sending us an email of the best photos you’ve got. The contest winner will win a $50 gift certificate and a Tamraz T-shirt of choice. Contest ends January 31st and the winner will be announced on Feb 15th.

Here is how to compete:

Step 1: Pick the best picture of your car. Minimum size is 915 pixels wide, so just take a picture with your iPhone 4 or Ipad2 or better, or Android phone/device, or if you have a fancy digital camera, even better.  Two (2) Megapixal minimum please since it might get featured on our store banner.

Step 2: Email our marketing director chuck@tamrazs.com with your ONE best photo (send as an attachment) of either the front or back of the car. Optional if you want to be in the photo, but please be dressed, not shooting a profanity or wearing a T-shirt with one.

Step 3: See your car on our store, and perhaps website. Winner of the contest will be announced by the judges on February 15th, 2015 via email. Winner will receive a $50 Gift Certificate good for use on Tamrazsparts.com and a Tamrazs T-shirt in white or black, sizes available small through 2xx.

Step 4: Tell us what category you want to compete in. Choose from the below bulleted list and tell us in the body of the email one of these categories (Choose only one)

  • Best Chevy
  • Best Buick
  • Best Pontiac
  • Best Oldsmobile
  • Best Plymouth
  • Best Dodge
  • Best Ford
  • Best Truck
  • Best Tri-Five (1955-1957 Chevy)
  • Best Drag Car
  • Best Wheel stand
  • Best Burnout
  • Best Project Car
  • Best Rat Rod (unrestored category)
  • Best of the rest (everything else)

Contest Rules:

1. We prefer license plates removed otherwise we will just fuzz them out of the picture. Also, no naked or scantly clad people. Although we will enjoy seeing anything you send, we don’t want to offend other customers and their family with your girlfriends hot DD’s)

2. Please make sure its your car, and not someone else’s photo. Be honest please and don’t submit a download from Google to try and jazz us for a gift certificate!

3. Send us the photo before January 31st and don’t complain if you missed the dates.

4. We are the judges of this content, so our decision (by committee) is final!

5. One car submission per customer. If you have 9 awesome cars, only one car can be entered for the contest. Although we will post pictures of your other cars if they meet the photo criteria.

(You of course relinquish rights for us to use the photo by submitting for us to use, so if you choose to remove the photo for any reason, we will take it down at your request.)

Send us your photo by clicking below!


Posted in Events

Wagon Braggin’ 1957 Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight Fiesta


It almost seems like a fantasy, but apparently Oldsmobile buyers could get a J-2 setup on their Fiesta station wagons, just as this 1957 Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight Fiesta station wagon is equipped. A three-speed manual could have been had as well, but this one has the Hyrda-Matic. With a recent repaint, redone interior, tuneup, and refurbishing throughout, this wagon appears entirely ready to hit the road and exercise all three of those carburetors. From the seller’s description:

The car has the original 371 cubic inch V-8 engine with J-2 tri-power carburetors (3×2 barrels) and the original Hydra-Matic transmission. The wagon has been painted in the original Olds color scheme with base coat and clear coat. The wagon has a new interior and headliner with new carpet. The custom dual exhaust was installed by Tony’s Exhaust Shop of Glen Burnie, Maryland, and is a true dual exhaust from the manifolds back with dual Magna Flow mufflers. The bumpers are new triple-plated chrome by Keystone Company of Michigan.

We have just completed an extensive mechanical rework of most of the major systems on this wagon. We added new weather stripping to all the doors, vent windows and cargo hatch areas. Complete rebuild of the brakes with new brake shoes, wheel cylinders, brake hoses and turned drums. Replaced the front wheel bearings and had our electrical shop rebuild the generator. Added new upper ball joints, control arm bushings and sleeves and replaced tie rods. Added seat belts for front and back seats. Installed a brand new gas tank and fuel lines from the Fusick catalogue and also rebuilt the J-2 tri power carburetors, rebuilt the fuel pump and added a new inline fuel filter and rebuilt the power steering pump.

Completed an oil and filter change with a complete tune up with new plugs, points, condenser and distributor cap, with new spark plug wires, and new valve cover gaskets. Added new Oldsmobile front and rear floor mats also from the Fusick catalog. Added brand new tires (BFGoodrich RWL) and gray igniter wheels from Coker Tire for $1,660. Completed a front-end alignment and spin balanced all tires and wheels. Also back flushed the radiator and added new coolant with all new hoses and belts. Replaced the wiper blades and repaired and adjusted the wiper transmission and linkage.

1957Oldsmobile88Fiesta_02_700 1957Oldsmobile88Fiesta_03_700 1957Oldsmobile88Fiesta_04_700 1957Oldsmobile88Fiesta_05_700

Source: Hemmings.com

Posted in Industry News

Survivor Camaro Collection

1969 Chevy Camaros  

There’s something about survivor Chevys that gets the blood pumping and the brain all excited. Survivors are like time machines, taking us back to an era when there were no cell phones, personal computers or email, to when gas was cheap, and you could honestly get away from it all.

Dave Beem owns Beem’s Collision Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He’s been in the paint and body business for years, and has painted several classic cars for customers. Finally, he got the itch to have his own and started building a super accurate ’69 Camaro ZL1 clone. During the process, he started hunting down N.O.S. parts, along with checking out every survivor car he could find at shows to make sure he had everything correct. From there grew a love for the unrestored and the window to the past they opened.

Before he knew it, Dave owned a pretty amazing collection of never-touched American muscle. We first spotted his survivors at the Denver Super Chevy Show back in 2012, and after talking with him about his unusual collection of cars, realized we were dealing with a car nut true to our hearts.

Besides the four Camaros you see here, Dave also has a survivor ’70 Hemi Barracuda, and will soon have an ultra rare black, stripe delete, bench seat ’70 LS6/M22 Chevelle in his garage with only 4,000 miles on it.

Hugger Orange ’69 Z/28 RS

1969 Chevy Camaro Front View  
1969 Chevy Camaro Engine  

This came into Dave’s possession in 2007 after he located it in Northridge, California. The car’s original owner racked up no less than 160,000 miles before she died in 2003, and a neighbor who had been chasing it bought it, then sold it to Dave a short time later. With it came a load of original paperwork, including the buildsheet, Protect-O-Plate, sales contract, condition contract, every registration since new, the original California license plates, original recall letter about the factory chambered exhaust being too loud for California noise ordinances, a recall letter for the motor mounts, “Thank you” letter from the dealership after purchase, dealer post cards for maintenance, and the original letter from GMAC accepting the loan.

After Dave started doing research, he realized the build date on the car and factory buildsheet indicated it was the earliest car built with a ZL2 cowl hood. Further research and the help of Camaro experts Jerry MacNeish and Larry Christiansen confirmed that the car’s 12C build code came two weeks before the first ZL1 Camaro left the Norwood assembly line with a cowl hood. It’s now listed as such on the Camaro Research Group of America website.

Besides the RS option, the car is equipped with an M21 four-speed, NC8 dual chambered exhaust, and 4.10 geared Posi-equipped 12-bolt rear. And while it might not be the prettiest ’69 out there with its patina, dents and dings, it’s definitely one of the most interesting. Dave told us at the first show he took it to, he drove up and down the aisles looking for a place to park. By the time he backed into an empty space, there was already a crowd of people gathered around the car asking questions and drooling over its originality.

1969 Chevy Camaro Title  
1969 Chevy Camaro Gauges  
1969 Chevy Orange Camaro Rear View  

Cortez Silver ’69 Z/28 RS

1969 Chevy Camaro Z28engne View  

This survivor came out of Del Mar, California. It had spent its whole life in the Los Angeles area after being built at Van Nuys, until Dave purchased it in 2012. He’d first seen it in Hemmings for sale, and contacted the seller about purchasing it. The owner said he was taking it to a Mecum auction to sell with a reserve, and after it didn’t change hands there, Dave negotiated a deal to buy it.

Another legit survivor with 33,540 miles, it didn’t have any paperwork, but Christiansen looked everything over and confirmed it was a legit Z/28. Cortez Silver with black interior, it had the factory stripe delete option (dash dash in the paint code), and an Endura bumper with the special Endura bumper jack in the trunk. It also has a D80 spoiler option, M21 four-speed, chambered exhaust, BV code 4.10 Posi rear, and factory tachometer with console gauges.

1969 Chevy Camaro Interior  
1969 Chevy Camaro Z28 Shifter  
1969 Chevy Camaro Z28 Door  
1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Rear View  

Dover White ’69 350

1969 Chevy Camaro 350 Hood  
1969 Chevy Camaro 350 Engine  

While not an SS or an RS, this one is unusual in its own right. Dave bought this Dover White/red interior example in early 2012, as a potential interior donor for his ’69 Garnet Red ZL1 clone. A little old lady in Pahrump, Nevada, had bought the car new, and put 42,000 miles on it before she died (it has 44,071 now). The family was going to donate it to Goodwill before a local mechanic stepped in and bought it. Dave purchased it from him because the date codes on all the interior items corresponded to his ZL1 clone.

Well, after bringing the thing home, he realized how absolutely pristine the interior (and rest of the car) really were. The 250hp 350 still had its factory spark plug wires and the original belts were in the trunk. It was well optioned for a base model, with power disc brakes, heavy-duty cooling, and factory Rally wheels. When he showed it to friends, they all told Dave he couldn’t touch the car, as it was such a pristine survivor. The F-body is so unmolested, the original spare has never been on the ground, and even though it’s 45-years-old, Dave says it drives like new.

1969 Chevy Camaro Headlight  
1969 Chevy Camaro 350 Engine Bay  
1969 Chevy Camaro 350 Trunk  
1969 Chevrolet Camaro 350  

’70 Camaro RS

1970 Chevy Camaro Rs Side View  
1970 Chevy Camaro Rs Engine  

Breaking the first-gen theme, this was the first survivor Dave ever bought. Another California automobile, the owner brought it with him to Colorado Springs, and with a son getting married, needed to sell it to help the new couple get situated in life. Dave wasn’t really into survivors at that point in time, but the fact the second-gen was untouched made it impossible to pass up. It has a 307, automatic, and factory air, and the odo reads 57,352.

Dave has promised this one to his teenage son as his first classic, so whether it stays a virgin or not is up in the air. But rest assured, however it ends up, it’ll be in a great home.

By: Patrick Hill

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Posted in General Motors, Interesting Stuff