28 September 2012

Mako II Corvette Custom - Shark Fin Superb

It's all Amazosan's fault, you know. There was Team Amazo, all set for a boys night in consisting of a some pizza, a few beers and the DVD box set of  Trailer Park Boys (trust us, you'll want a 1975 Chrysler New Yorker with three doors if you watch it), when a friend of Our Glorious Leader posted this pic on FB:

And the light bulb went off in Amazosan's head, probably in the well-stocked library section; time to put down the DVD of the notorious Nova Scotia residents and fire up the computers...
He remembered the car from a 1982 Bingley Show report in Street Machine magazine. But why the different paintwork? We'll get to that later. It's a replica kit of the original 1965 Corvette Mako II concept car designed by Bill Mitchell, Zora Duntov and Larry Shinoda...

1965 Corvette Mako II concept. Dana. Da-na, da-na...
...made by Motion Performance in the late 70's/early 80's.

The Mako Shark II replica was originally designed by John Silva of Ipswich, MA. Starting in 71, it was marketed with the name 'Maco' jointly with Joel Rosen of Motion Performance. From '69 to '79 Silva built 125 Macos.

Motion Performance then made new moulds from the Silva originals and began offering them for sale (under 100 sets) as well as building 3 turnkey cars. The kit is still available today from Motion Performance.

After seeing a feature in a 1965 issue of Hot Rod, Einar Valsjo imported a kit to his native Norway and converted a 1969 427 L88 model. The idea for Einar was to get as close as possible to the GM concept car; the Maco kit is very different in certain areas. All he had to go on was a few pictures and a small scale model car of the real thing. People must have thought he was crazy, cutting up a 427 L88, but in 1976 the first version of the car appeared.
He wasn't satisfied with it's look, so he rebuilt it a few years later, now adding the home-made side pipes like the concept, hidden headlights, new front grill, and air intake on the bonnet, made in the same style as the side pipes  He did add a few custom details; note the '59 caddy tail lights and that fantastic paint job  Eight different colours,hundreds of hours of masking and the whole lot topped with Metalflake and ten gallons of lacquer. The car accrued over fifty trophies up to and including Best Of Show at Bingley, October 1981.

In 1983, disaster struck - the car went up in flames in a fire in his own garage. Undeterred he rebuilt the car, this time even closer to the original Mako Shark...

...with some even fancier Valsjo touches, like an automatic one piece rooftop that flips up when a door opens:

indicators that flash when the front wheels are turning, a rear bumper bar that extends when reversing and electrically-operated rear window slats. Triple tail lights, more in keeping with the original were added, along with extensive use of chrome and 18 ct gold plating parts - even including the driveshafts!

And of course, he re-did the paint job; it took him almost 3 1/2 months working long hours. The car rolled out of the garage in the summer of 1985 and hasn't looked back; other than a transmission rebuild the car has apparently been as good as it's 18ct gold plating.

And still Valsjo is tweaking it; he also spent days making badging to put on, but to date they still sit unused.

Ultimate custom or just plain overkill? We call it Isurus perfectionem.

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