Unfortunately, there's a sometimes unspoken disdain for those who float the bill but don't twist a wrench. We have to remember that not everyone can build a car, or not everyone wants to.
The owner of this 1962 Corvette, Utah based John Pestana, is in the software game. Originally, John started a small software business to pay for college and living expenses while he got his degree. The business was so successful he didn't have time to finish college and had to drop out. He and his wife sold all of their wedding presents to grow the business that they were eventually able take public and sell to Adobe. You've heard of Adobe right? This guy is an expert in his field, but probably has no business fabricating.
John runs with a crowd of high-level businessmen with more coin than time and more exotics than domestics. It wouldn't be unusual to see an Enzo Ferrari, Lamborghini, high-end Mercedes, and a Lexus supercar or two in the driveway for guy's night. He loves those cars, even owns a couple, but he wanted something totally different. The problem was where to start.
A casual conversation with his marketing director, Dan Larson, about how John wanted a vintage car got things rolling. Dan instantly suggested he talk to his childhood friend, Scott Dees, who he grew up with in California's San Francisco bay area. Scott runs a very successful shop called Scott's Speed and Custom in Antioch, California. Once these two got in contact, Scott and his team were on the job.
John would need Scott to find him just the right base to work off of. Not being a huge car guy, it was amazing John actually knew what he wanted. "I'm not typically a Corvette fan, but the classic lines of the first Corvettes are irresistible," John said.
Scott and company would be in charge of not only building the car, but acquiring one. John sent him a lead on one for sale close by, but they wanted a fortune for a car too far gone. Scott found a half-built, half-paid for gem in the middle of Amish country. The town of Chillicothe, Missouri, had far more horses than engine-driven machines and the roads were never built to support a truck and trailer that would eventually haul the Vette away. Scott arrived to inspect a car that was housed in a barn-turned-shop. The large barn doors open to expose a well-built at-home shop complete with a hydraulic lift and thousands of industry tools. Across the "road" a group of Amish workers were constructing a home equipped with only hack saws, hammers, and handmade nails. Both the Amish workers across the street and the Amish town first timer Scott were fascinated with each other.
The car's story was a common one. The owner/builder at the time got excited about the project, took the body off, and ordered every part he thought it would need. The mid-way point already took him over budget and he knew he couldn't finish the car. He purchased an aftermarket chassis complete with a mix of C5 and C6 Corvette suspension components as well as an LS3 crate motor and transmission. The chassis was intact, but every single part outside of it was in boxes. The current owner and Scott even had to marry the body to the frame with a forklift to get it loaded up. Many of the big items were there and the price was right, so Scott trailered it the long way home to California.
John, now the new owner of a 1962 Corvette, had a clear but vague vision for what he wanted to see. He wanted a car that looked as if it had been plucked from the 1960s on the outside, but with the technology, performance, comfort, and reliability of a brand new sports car. He would choose the iconic red and white color combination, and while the interior would be 100% custom, it retained the right look. John's marketing man Dan would serve as liaison between owner and builder, as he understood what John wanted and how to communicate that with Scott.
Scott is a professional builder, but this early Corvette was a first for him. "You don't really know what is missing on a car you've never disassembled until you're putting it back together. This car was missing a lot," Scott says. It's not like a Camaro, Chevelle, or C10, these parts aren't readily available. That issue pushed the build process to eight months, a little longer than Scott would have liked. None the less, Scott cranked out a Corvette that was not only true to the styling of the 1960s, but filled with the accoutrements of a modern car, just as John hoped.
Of course, Scott kept John updated with photos of progress along the way, but they were no preparation for the first impression the car would make on John when Scott rolled it out of the trailer in Utah. With a grin ear-to-ear, John drove his modern classic all around town for the first time. "I have some pretty fancy sports cars at home, but none of them get the amount of attention that the Corvette does, not even close," John shares. "My friends, the ones with the Ferraris, Lambos, Audis, and such, absolutely love the car too. We go on charity cruises and car shows together and their exotics are practically ignored."
Unlike most well-off automotive enthusiasts, John has never gotten rid of a sports car. He will likely keep this Corvette until he is too old to drive it. He is so happy with the final product that he has already commissioned Scott for another build, this time a VW double cab pickup. Needless to say, John isn't afraid of something a little different.