It is no surprise that
Smokey Yunick is involved with something to do with cars. Son of the famous racing
mechanic also named Smokey, he grew up around cars and racing.
he's putting his knowledge of fast cars to use, building facsimiles of 1959 Corvettes
at a little shop tucked away on County Road 304 in southern Flagler County.
Building them under the name "Yunique," Smokey has been interested in these kind
of cars since he was a kid going to car shows. "We were always involved in racing,"
he said. "I liked to go to the car shows as a relief from racing." That love of
car shows hasn't dimmed for Yunick, and he took his first production model, which
rolled off the assembly line earlier this year, to a Corvette show in August.
But this was no ordinary show, Yunick said. "We took it to the biggest Corvette
car show in the world in Carlisle, Pa.," he said. "We were by far the most-photographed
car." Although he got to Pennsylvania too late to enter the car in the contest
and could only put it on display, he just recently came back from a smaller car
show in Jacksonville, where the car took first prize.
Yunick said he could
have sold the car at the Carlisle show, but decided to hang on to it for a while
to help promote the business. "I've noticed it's going to be very easy to start
a restoration business with this car as an example," he said.
an actual restoration -- Yunick custom builds the frame and uses a 1959 Corvette
mold to create the body -- the car has the look and feel of the original. But
Yunick's version is all modern and up-to-date under the hood. All of the parts
are genuine General Motors parts or they are manufactured by Yunick. The car is
powered by a Corvette Gen II LT1 P engine with four-speed automatic overdrive
and four-wheel independent suspension.
But there are some other differences
as well. The roof on Yunick's car is 2 inches higher than the original 1959 Corvette
and the seats are 4 inches lower and 7 inches farther back than the original model.
And that makes his version better than the original, Yunick said. "The older cars,
you really can't drive them in today's world," he said. "This is a brand new car
that looks like an old car." And in these times of higher gasoline prices, Yunick
said the car gets about 30 miles per gallon -- although he can build one that
is more focused on high performance if a customer wants that.
he expects to build six to 10 cars a year at his Flagler County facility. "I think
there's going to be a real good market for it," he said. "It's much nicer looking
than a perfectly restored '59."
Yunick said he has received a lot of help
from Corvette mechanic Thomas Roth, who tells him the facsimile car is superior
to many new car products. Right now, it takes about six months to build a car
from the ground up, but Yunick said he hopes to shave at least a month off the
production time. "That's the one thing about the buyers," he said. "They have
the money and they'll spend it, but they're not patient."
he hopes to be able to keep at least one finished car on hand all the time to
show prospective buyers. Yunick said he hadn't really thought about bringing the
car to the local car show, but is excited about showing it off now.
like the handmade seats originally designed for use in airplanes, he believes
the sky is the limit.
thanks to The News-Journal and October 06, 2007 Resurrecting a dream By AARON
LONDON Staff Writer