Story by: Olivia Scaffidi Photos by: Gil Muro There are always incredible cars to be found at Hot Rod Ranch. The shop located in Lompoc, California is owned by the Muro brothers who have been building and restoring hot rods since 2005. If you are a fan of Roadkill, then you are probably familiar with Hot Rod Ranch and all the amazing projects that they work on. The newest addition to the ranch is a 1961 Chevrolet Corvette. After seeing a photo of the black C1 on his Instagram page, I called up Gil to get the full story on the car and find out what his plans are for the upcoming build.
“The Corvette belonged to a good friend of ours named Dave Miller, who bought it about 25 years ago. My brothers and I always loved the car, but Dave never really did anything with it. He would move the car from one storage unit to the next,” Gill explains. “I have been bugging him for years that if he ever decided to sell the car, he’d give us first shot.” It was only one year ago that Dave began to consider the idea, and just last week the two managed to work out a specific deal.
Dave had built a fuel injected L-88 427 engine for the Corvette years ago that he dreamt of putting into the car. As part of the deal, Gil agreed that he would run the specially built big block in the Corvette for a few months and then eventually drop in one of his own motors.
“My first job out of high school, I worked for Alan Johnson Performance Engineering. That’s where I got really hooked into drag racing,” Gil says. “I worked there as a machinist and rebuilt my 1971 454ci LS6 engine that has been in my family since 1973. I eventually plan on putting that motor into the Corvette, along with a Muncie 4-speed transmission.”
Currently, the car sits as a roller. Gil says that the C1 was built in Santa Barbara sometime in the 70s and then partially into the 80s. “The car was never actually raced as far as I know. Built, put aside, and never finished.” The American Racing 5-spoke magnesium wheels on Hoosier tires really allow you to see the performance potential of this near 60-year-old car. The red hood was given to Dave when he initially bought the car, but Gil says he wants to run something different.
The Corvette has late 70s/early 80s Mustang II front suspension that will be replaced with a straight axle set up. “I’ve always liked the C1 body style, especially as an early drag car/gasser. I posted one I really liked (on Instagram) before we bought the black car and I think it has the perfect look. I want to put it back to how I feel it would have been built in the 60s,” Gil explains.
He hopes to have the Corvette running by the end of next year. For more updates on the build and to see what other cool projects are going on over at Hot Rod Ranch, follow Gill on Instagram @hotrodranch and his brothers, Jamie @hotrodranch_jamie and Randy @randyhrr .