We caught up with Frank Lowe a few weeks back at a local Cars & Coffee event after we spotted the modified C2 Stinger scoop perched atop his 1971 Corvette Stingray’s hood.
The iconic “Stinger Hood” was a one-year-only offering on 1967 Corvettes with the 427 big block—which is a shame because it looks equally at home on the later generation C3 (and Chevelles too, for that matter).
Turns out though, what was lurking underneath that custom hood was way, way cooler.
Once Lowe lifted the Stinger, our eyes fell upon a glorious 383 Chevy Stroker small block topped with an octet of velocity stacks, each feeding a cylinder via a Speedmaster intake manifold and Holley EFI system.
“I’ve never seen another setup like this in person…and I’ve been to a lot of shows,” Lowe laughs.
Lowe’s owned the car since 1987 and has progressively tweaked and personalized the Stingray to his own tastes.
“I’ve done everything myself, all the suspension, engine, body, everything on it,” he proudly states.
For starters, Lowe’s Vette is wearing body work and a paint job done in his garage. And he goes into lengthy details on how he had to split, sand, and massage that C2 Stinger scoop to fit the profile of the C3 hood.
Then Lowe shows off the cabin, which is fitted with a custom interior and a console plucked from an old Jeep Cherokee. The heavily bolstered and embroidered seats were larger than stock, so Lowe cut and lowered the floor to accommodate them.
Back outside, Lowe describes some other, more subtle modifications.
For example, C3 Corvette pop-up headlights can be tricky. So, Lowe ditched the stock vacuum-operated setup in favor of an electric headlight door kit from Detroit Speed. And Lowe explains how those can be really handy “Since they’re wired through the headlight switch, you can park and keep ’em up.” That not only looks cool, it makes the headlights themselves way easier to adjust and service.
Better still, it’s one less vacuum line to run. “The only vacuum I have is going to my brake booster,” Lowe tells us.
Lowe’s done quite a bit of suspension work too, specifically swapping out the C3 Corvette’s rear transverse leaf spring with a clever Shark Bite Coilover Setup. The Vette also now rides on adjustable QA1 coilovers up front, along with tubular upper/lower control arms.
During the course of our chat, a crowd steadily gathered around the Stingray’s engine bay, so we bid Lowe farewell and let him talk to other interested onlookers. And judging from the throng of folks who were swirling around the car throughout the morning, Lowe had plenty of opportunities to reprise his story.