Car of the Week: 1969 Chevrolet Corvette custom

A '69 'Vette that is proudly keeping the '70s alive and well, with the psychedelic flair that only a '70s custom can offer.
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Car of the Week 2020
Kevin Livering's 1969 Corvette is a well-preserved early-'70s custom that is now getting renewed attention.

Kevin Livering's 1969 Corvette is a well-preserved early-'70s custom that is now getting renewed attention.

God bless the 1970s! One thing can be said for that decade: The'70s were not timid, and a little was never enough. Such was the case with the customized car scene where cars were a blank canvas for the psychedelic craze.

Enter Kevin Livering's '69 'Vette. It came out swinging and has proudly waved the unapologetic "freak flag" of '70s custom paintwork. It still does today.

Here's what Kevin himself had to say on the history of his customized '69 Corvette:

"I have owned the car since 1980, when I was a junior in high school. (I am now 57 years old). I traded my 1973 Monte Carlo “even up” for the car! 

"Although the car is showing obvious signs of age, I have done my best to preserve this 'survivor' from the crazy '70s psychedelic era.

The Corvette sported Fathom Green back in 1969.

The Corvette sported Fathom Green back in 1969.

"The car started out as a Fathom Green 350-cid small-block V-8 car with a 4-speed tranny and not many options. The customization was done in 1972 by 'Stoney' Galbach from Manheim, Pa. 'Stoney' was well known among the racing circuit and also known for his custom paintwork on local midget race cars. I had the good fortune to meet 'Stoney' before he passed away quite a few years ago. 'Stoney' shared with me that when he customized the 'Vette in 1972, the overall cost was $12,000. 'Stoney' installed flared fenders, an L88 hood and 1973-style front fender vents. Air shocks raised the car up slightly and it was fitted with deep-dish Cragar mags and fat 60-series tires that were later upgraded to radials. The custom paint started with a silver base coat, multiple coats of heavy metal-flake and candy green paint. The 'ribbons' are painted on with candy colors (no vinyl decals) and the paint was finished with 25 coats of clear lacquer. 

The Corvette in its heyday.

The Corvette in its heyday.

The graphics are not decals — they are painted on in true '70s tradition.

The graphics are not decals — they are painted on in true '70s tradition.

"All of the factory Corvette badges were shaved clean. You also gotta love the crushed-velvet, button-tucked interior and the shag carpeting!

"I only drive the car a few hundred miles a year, but in the '70s, prior to me owning the car, it was a daily driver. Sometime in the '70s, the front passenger side suffered some minor damage that is barely noticeable. Also, while driving the car in 2001, I hit a drain grate that partially tore off the driver’s side rear fender flare. Thanks to a very talented friend and painter, Gary McGarvey, it was repaired and somehow the old, custom metalflake paint was perfectly matched.

Nothing says 1970s like the classic Moroso covers and air lid.

Nothing says 1970s like the classic Moroso covers and air lid.

"Unfortunately, the first owner blew the car’s original 350-hp 350-cid motor. The replacement 350 engine was out of a 1972 Impala and was still in relatively good shape when I obtained the car. In 2000, the motor was pulled and rebuilt. The engine was treated to a .30-overbore, 10.2:1 pistons, 2.02 aluminum heads, an Edelbrock aluminum intake with a 650 Holley double-pumper carb and an HEI distributor. Other work included a set of Hooker Header side pipes, a rebuild to the original Muncie 4-speed transmission, a new radiator and a gear drive timing set. 

"The drivetrain, brakes and suspension were refreshed, and the original 3.83 rear gears were replaced with 4.11 gears.

Dig the crushed velvet and shag on the interior!

Dig the crushed velvet and shag on the interior!

"I have done my best to preserve the car without making any changes to the work that was done in 1972. It survived the '70s custom car era! I never allowed the pressure or criticism to influence my love for the craftsmanship and work that was put into this car. 

"Although the paint’s clear coat is cracking and showing signs of age, it still looks relatively good. The car has gotten quite a bit of attention over the past few years. (Google Kevin Livering Custom Corvette). The car has been featured on multiple sites and in Traditional Rod and Kulture, Vette and Vette Vues magazine. The car was featured in the "Age of Aquarius" display at the AACA Museum in Hershey, Pa., and was also featured in the Corvettes at Carlisle display for the 50th Anniversary of the 1969 'Vette. Lastly, the car is the August feature car in the 2021 Snap On calendar. I have found all the attention very surprising. 

Livering then and now. 

Livering then and now. 

"It is a driver — not a show car. I have found that most people either love it or they hate it. People usually share their opinions with me either way! No matter where I go, there is someone that has a story about the car or remembers the car from years gone by. I love hearing the stories and all the nostalgia. It makes me happy when I can bring a smile to people’s faces.”

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