ALWAYS A WORK IN PROGRESS....
For the car's 48th anniversary in January, 2017, a smoke-grey one-piece acrylic Thompson Astro Top was added.
More recently, the composite backlight was replaced with laminated glass, cut from a Mazda CX-7 windshield.
The first-design plenum cover seen in many photos of the engine has been replaced with something more contemporary. It's comprised of black wrinkle-finish painted aluminum, with carbon fiber accents and polished stainless buttonhead fasteners.
Nightwind is a ONE OWNER car with just 76,000 actual miles, originally factory equipped with a 390 HP 427 CID (L-36) engine, wide ratio Muncie 4-speed transmission, 3.08:1 positraction differential, power brakes, power windows, power steering and air conditioning. It's also the first car in which both of our children were passengers, as they each rode home from the hospital in this car when they were born.
The original/present owners, Larry and Sherry Van Gelder, ordered the car to specification through a dealership in the Chicago suburbs in late 1968, (delivered in January 1969), and drove it to Florida in 1974. The original nose was replaced with this design in 1971. The remainder of the body was heavily modified to near its present appearance in 1978, with the exception of the later nose, which was redesigned in 1991. All fiberglass modifications were designed and executed by the owner, with the extreme patience and guidance of the late Jim Grindrod of Pinellas Park, Florida.
Having previously competed successfully in autocrosses and rallys, Nightwind is now strictly a street performance vehicle - with regular participation in car shows and cruises. It was also featured in multi-page articles, with photographs, in both the January 1982 and March 2006 issues of "Vette" magazine. The latter written and photographed by the late, highly respected automotive journalist and historian, Paul Zazarine. Due to the many changes that occurred between those years, it remains among the very select few Vettes to have been featured more than once.
REFINING THE DESIGN
Small changes, such as the LED taillights, are constant and ongoing. Each taillight contains 61 LEDs, manufactured for use in heavy duty commercial vehicles. The body of the Vette was modified to accommodate them with .600" wide carbon fiber rings fabricated to complete the installation.
EVOLVING WITH THE TIMES
As technology changes and advances, the car will continue to be modified and improved. That’s what keeps the entire concept dynamic, interesting, challenging...and fun.
ON THE TRACK
Nightwind successfully competed in dozens of autocrosses/gymkhanas between 1969 and 1981, including the first weekend after it was delivered in January, 1969. It was driven from the Chicago suburbs to Pell Lake, Wisconsin, to compete in the annual Chicago Corvette Club ice gymkhana on the frozen lake. At the time of the event, it had been driven less than 400 total miles.
ON THE ROAD
July 2019 Edition of
Chevy Classics Magazine. An Eckler's enthusiast publication.
Links to videos, magazine articles and interviews