As per email from John and Diane: "I am the 4th owner of this 55,000 mile NCRS Duntov Award winner, and have owned it since 1989."
In August, 1980, John Clayton's fully-restored 1954 Corvette made the cover of Vette Vues Magazine. In the accompanying story, Clayton
vowed to his wife, Diane, that it would be a long, long time before he
undertook another restoration project. Depending on how "a long, long
time" is defined, it could be said John honored his promise to Diane. It
would be almost nine years before he would seriously search for another
Corvette to resurrect; and, this time, it would be a '53.
The rush of a challenge could no longer be ignored so, in January
1989, John began, with Diane's acquiescence, to scout the country for a
classic, unrestored Corvette. Eleven months later, in December 1989, the
Claytons found what they were looking for - a 1953 Corvette, serial
number 062. The car was on owner #3 when John traveled to Dallas to
view it. He liked what he saw; an offer was made; and, within two weeks,
the offer was accepted. By April 1990, the '53 was in Clayton's garage
awaiting its renaissance. The car was disassembled, all parts were
catalogued, and a complete inventory was taken. John verified that nearly
everything on 062, including its engine, cylinder head, valve cover,
ignition shielding, radiator, transmission, rear end, gauges, and radio were
original parts. However, they were not in their original condition.
Restoring all parts to "factory fresh" would take three years.
In 1991, the body and chassis were sent to Bob Ore Restorations
(aka Qual Krom) in Erie, Pennsylvania. The chassis was stripped, cleaned,
checked for proper calibration, rust-proofed, and reassembled. It was fitted
with new coil springs, NOS shock absorbers, re-arced rear leaf springs,
an exhaust system and new fuel and brake lines. The engine and
transmission were completely rebuilt, painted to factory specifications and
mated with the restored chassis. Likewise, the body received a full
restoration...stripped, minor repairs, primer, paint, buff...and finally, in
May 1993, re-mated with the restored drive train.
Final re-assembly began in earnest. As had been his habit with
other restorations, Clayton called upon D.J. Hess of Winter Haven,
Florida, to manage this phase. The Corvette came together in eight straight
Having been awarded NCRS Top Flight and AACA National First
Prize (Senior) Awards in 1995, John and Diane are setting new goals for
this rare automobile. Winning the esteemed Duntov Mark of Excellence
award at an NCRS National Meet is an immediate aspiration. They're also
confident that their car has the "right stuff to earn Bloomington Gold.