Najeeb lives the dream behind the wheel of a 1979 ‘Vette
There’s no missing Najeeb’s classic 1979 Chevrolet Corvette — not when it packs a 5.7-litre V8 and thunderous exhaust note. He tells
Imran Malik all about his pride and joy. Images:
That’s a beautifulutiful C3, Najeeb. Does it drive as good as it looks? oks? I can’t express how much of a thrill ththis car gives me. There is a beautyeauty about the rawnessra of these cars; there’s no traction control or dynamic power steering, it is a true ‘man and machine’ experience where the sound of the engine, the feel of the road and the response of the throttle all add to the flavour. For a 34-year-old car, it runsns like a dream. EveryEv time I start it, I have to pause for a minuteminut to enjoy the raucous exhausthaust note before I roll out.
What do you like best about it?
There is just something about the curves on the C3s, coupled with a long front and short back, which always makes me drool. After parking the car, I glance back at it a few times to appreciate its gorgeous looks. Looking at it from the side is the best way to notice and appreciate just how curvy it is. It has such a fab shape. It has a 350 cubic-inch (5.7-litre) V8— what is the performance like? It has more than enough punch and shoots forward when you hit the throttle. And it still burns rubber with ease. But as can be expected, over time the horsepower has dropped just a tad. You must make everyone smile when you’re out and about with it… It is quite an unusual car to see on the roads and the fact that it is bright red just adds to the visual drama. It turns a lot of heads and quite often I get a thumbs up and yes, lots of smiles. In some instances on walking back to the car when it is parked in a public place, I find people taking pictures or gathering around it. You drive it more during the cooler seasons right? Yes, in winters I drive it two or three times a week, while in summers I make it a point to
at least take it out once a week, usually early Friday mornings.
It is in really good condition— have you had much work done to it? When I bought the car, I had envisaged three phases to bring it up to scratch. Phase one was to get it road-ready as it had some minor issues, which I took care of. Phase two (currently ongoing) is to work on some minor wear and tear to make it look as new as can be while sticking to the original look. I am ordering original parts for it, which are still readily available online. Some of these include new door handles, window switches and a new ignition switch. Phase three will be restoring the car to its original condition. However, I bought it with this aftermarket bonnet and I think the nostrils don’t just give it a mean look, but help keep the engine cool. So the bonnet may stay. The only other deviation will be the 1969-style side exhaust I want to add, as it will do wonders for the look and sound of the car. People always worry about servicing or getting hold of parts for classics but thankfully you are not experiencing any issues… That’s right— long may that continue. I have been working closely with Max Garage, and the guys there have been absolutely brilliant. I source the parts mostly from Corvette America as it has a huge inventory and is quite efficient and easy to deal with.
How is it coping with the summer so far? It is understandable that there would be some concerns as these cars have American specs and are built for less extreme conditions. Driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic is not a good idea, but on clear roads, where you can maintain constant speeds above 60kph, it has no problems at all.
Is this one for keeps? I am not planning on selling it anytime soon, but maybe in the future. I do keep getting a lot of offers for it though.
Tell us about the time the horn got stuck… Ha! That was bad. I had gone to a family gathering one evening and at around 11pm everyone decided to leave. We all headed towards our cars and I received quite a few nice comments about this one. With all my accumulated joy and pride over the recent attention, I gave the horn a short burst as I drove of— it’s kind of customary.
But my horn plate got stuck and the planned small beep became a continuous, earpiercing one— that, too, in a quiet residential neighbourhood! All attempts to stop the sound failed and with a face even more red than the car I decided to smile and wave and drove off as quickly as I could! At some point during the drive home the horn stopped and I have since replaced the complete system. That’s just part of the fun of owning a classic though isn’t it… Yes. Such incidents in some ways just add to the pleasure of ownership as any trip can become an adventure.