The Split Ray Corvette – A Custom 1965 C2
A 1965 C2 is a coveted piece of American sports car history and owning a Tri-power 427ci Vette would be a crown jewel in any sports car collector’s garage. Now, throw all that out the window and split one of these magnificent machines in half to build a custom! Corvette purists may likely have an uptick in blood pressure when viewing Dennis Johnson’s “Split Ray” 1965 Corvette Custom.
The Auto Shoppe in Burlington, Vermont, has built the most radical 1965 Corvette custom to ever hit the street. They literally split a ’65 Sting Ray down the middle and widened it 6-3/8″-inches to build an elegant wide-body street mauler. Consider the man hours required to redesign and build the hood, glass, interior, chassis, grille…everything. But what else would the crew at the Auto Shoppe do with their long Vermont winters?
In the newly redesigned engine bay you’ll find a supercharged 6.2-liter LS9 crate engine outfitted with a one-off intake and matching valve finned accessories. The cooling system and exhaust were built specifically for this Vette by the crew at the Auto Shoppe. Should the pilot decide to apply force to the loud pedal, an ample 638 horsepower and 604lb.-ft. of torque is at their beck and call. A T56 6-speed transmission adds to the fun factor for the pilot.
All that potential speed would be nothing without the performance part of the build. A custom-built Roadster Shop chassis and suspension keeps the Corvette firmly planton. An Eaton Tru-Trac independent rearend transfers the torque to the massive Evod 20×13-inch rear wheels, while the 19×11-inch front wheels coupled with Detroit Speed steering keep the Vette true no matter the typography of the road. Large-diameter 14-inch Baer brake rotors and 6-piston calipers slow the Split Ray down to a respectable crawl, when necessary.
The interior of the Split Ray is no less magnificent than the rest of the vehicle. The Vette is channeled over the chassis while the floor has been dropped to accommodate the C7 ZO6 seating. In fact, the entire interior is inspired by a C7 ’Vette, with a modern dash and all the amenities you’d expect from a late model, plus supple Relicate leather by Richmond Upholstery. The build team even incorporated a leather-bound suitcase complete with glass goblets and a bottle of spirits, all hearkening to Italian design.
Every panel has all been redesigned, rebuilt and bathed in a PPG paint appropriately named Sharkskin Metallic. It’s no wonder this 1965 Corvette custom was among the Great Eight Ridler contenders at the 2017 Detroit Autorama and has since earned a finalist spot for Goodguys 2017 Vintage Air Custom Rod of the Year.