This ’63 Corvette Delivers Modern Performance And Vintage Good Looks

Sometimes, good fortune seems to fall into your lap. You know how it goes, you’re walking along, and you find a $20.00 bill on the ground, or you walk into the kitchen and one of your kids just made a sandwich and walked away from it. That’s good fortune. For Dave Semel of Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, good fortune was a lot more worthy of mention.

“Several years ago, someone told me about a split-window project that could be had,” says Dave. “I wasn’t actively looking for a project, but I decided to take a look anyway. It was supposed to be a father and son project for the owner, but the son was not interested and the father decided to sell it. When I first saw the car, it had already been stripped.”

63 Corvette

It’s a very tight fit, but David was able to get the engine sitting just right so he could retain the factory hood.

David decided to make the car his next project, and as happens so often, things didn’t go as planned. “I started the build in September 2012 and worked with a local builder, Dave states. “That really didn’t work out. He didn’t do things correctly or not to the standards I was looking for in this build. So, in December of 2017, I ended up changing builders. The car was taken to Carlisle Customs and Classics in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, where Vinny Scalavino took over. They basically had to strip everything down to the fiberglass and redo it.”

While the bodywork was underway, David started researching suspension systems and ended up getting really in-depth and decided to swap the entire chassis. “I started researching various frames for corvettes,” he states. “I talked with all the Chassis builders I could, and asked a lot of questions and discussed what I wanted.”

After all the research was complete, David contacted Mike Stockdale at SRIII Motorsports. When the two men met, they came up with the chassis that is under the car today. The SRIII round-tube chassis utilizes side rails that were moved inward so there would be room for the side pipes. The car’s support comes from C6 front and rear suspension parts and Viking Performance adjustable coilovers on all four corners. “I knew I wanted a C6 suspension and accommodations for an LS engine,” Dave says. “Once the frame was done, it was shipped to me.”

David knew he wanted an LS9 under the hood but also knew fitment would be a challenge. “Several people told me that I would not be able to use the original hood with an LS9 and thought I would have to do other body modifications to get it to work,” Dave iterates. “I love the classic look of the original ’63 split-window, so that was not an option. I wanted to make sure to keep the original look. This became the challenge to do it.”

Under the hood has been filled with an SMC Performance-built 700hp LS9 engine with an Edelbrock E Force supercharger. The mill is controlled by an SMC Performance standalone engine controller. Behind the tire melting LS9 is a TREMEC TKO and a Currie FAB9 rear with a Detroit Locker and 3.55 gears.

63 Corvette

The car’s stance is perfect, thanks to an SRIII Motorsports chassis featuring C6 suspension parts and Viking Performance adjustable coilovers on all four corners.

If you’re a fan of custom, then you surely like the Bux Customs cockpit. The Pottstown, Pennsylvania company created the custom interior that looks like it belongs in a ’63 Corvette. Accenting all that Buckskin leather is accomplished by Main Street Custom Finishing’s Burlwood dash, glove box, and shift plate.

David might not have been looking for a Corvette to build his latest creation, but the end result is one that will cause any enthusiasts to lust after Chevrolet’s sports car. What’s next on Dave’s agenda? “It took roughly nine years to complete the build, now it’s time to enjoy it.”

About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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