Ramzi Barakat’s 1975 Chevrolet Corvette

Ramzi spent four gruelling months giving this Corvette a new lease of life, and it sure has paid off. The proud owner tells us the story of this awesome ’75 Chevy
By Imran Malik, Features Writer
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January 13, 2017
Ramzi loves classic cars and owns one of the hottest C3s in the UAE
Ramzi loves classic cars and owns one of the hottest C3s in the UAE(1/6)
Photos: Anas Thacharpadikkal/ANM
Photos: Anas Thacharpadikkal/ANM(2/6)
Photos: Anas Thacharpadikkal/ANM
Photos: Anas Thacharpadikkal/ANM(3/6)
Photos: Anas Thacharpadikkal/ANM
Photos: Anas Thacharpadikkal/ANM(4/6)
Photos: Anas Thacharpadikkal/ANM
Photos: Anas Thacharpadikkal/ANM(5/6)
Photos: Anas Thacharpadikkal/ANM
Photos: Anas Thacharpadikkal/ANM(6/6)

Welcome to My Wheels Ramzi. We have seen many Corvette C3s in the UAE but none are as eye-catching as yours! Tell us about your Chevy; how did you come across it and how long have you had it?

Thanks for featuring me in the magazine. I imported this car from the US two years ago and it was in pretty bad condition. I actually was considering washing my hands off it and selling it the way it was, but something in the back of my mind kept telling me not to give up on it, and so I decided to bring it back to life. Now, this is my daily driver!

 

We are glad you kept it — these are fabulous cars. It’s been customised from top to bottom, tell us what you did to it…

I think you might need a few more pages if I was to tell you everything! It is an endless list, but I can give you an insight; I had to rectify all the mechanical issues from the engine to the transmission and chassis, and after this and all the electrics were done, it was time to sort out the aesthetics. I gave it a brand new paint job (after sorting out the body and aligning all the panels), and lots of chrome trim, added a full leather interior, a new set of alloys, a new exhaust system and an edgy steering wheel.

 

The engine bay is so clean you could eat your dinner off of it! But how does the steering feel when you hold it?

The chain really gives the car a dominant look and matches the alloys and represents the industrial side of my work. It feels fine now but took a little getting used to.

In total, it took around four months for me to complete my car. I was extremely excited to drive it once it had all been done — so excited in fact that I decided to delay installing an AC system in it!

Right now, with the weather being so nice, I don’t need it, I just whip off the t-tops — but I am planning to install one in time for the summer.

 

Was this generation Corvette something you always wanted?

Yes — I love the pop-up headlights on these cars and the curvy body. The new Corvette looks great, but as they say, old is gold!

However, before I got this car, I was looking for a 1967 Ford Mustang GT500 — just like the one in Gone In 60 Seconds but I soon realised that getting spare parts would be a hassle and this car would require a larger budget. I’d love to have my own “Eleanor” someday.

 

It seems you really love your classics, don’t you...

Yes, I sure do. I inherited this passion for them and cars in general from my father. 35 years ago, he opened Jamal Garage and ever since I was a little boy I would visit the workshop and learn about cars and engineering, and this ignited my interest.

 

Your first car was a 1998 Camaro, which you also worked on. Tell us about it…

I used that Chevy as a test bed for all my ideas and it turned out pretty cool. I customised the body by adding a kit, new head- and taillights, a full new interior and new exhaust system. It was a fun car but my real passion is for Wranglers. I am a Jeep freak! I currently have one and overall I have had four. But, my dream car is a ’67 Mustang Shelby Cobra.

 

Nice choice. Back to the Corvette, you probably burn a lot of rubber what with a potent 5.7-litre V8 under the bonnet — but have you ever burned your legs because of the awesome side exhausts?

Yes, I have burnt myself a couple of times and have the scars to prove it! But ever since I installed a heat shield on them, my calves don’t get singed anymore if I accidentally touch them.

 

Glad to hear it. Does this car drive as good as it looks?

It really does — it is so much fun and always makes me smile. As I said earlier, I drive it daily and also make sure it’s polished for special occasions.

I really enjoy driving it and it gets so much attention from others due to its uniqueness. Apart for all the thumbs up it gets, it’s always flattering to find that people post pictures of it on social media!

With all the mods I have made to the motor, I have increased the output to approximately 325 horses — but I rarely push this car too hard, it’s over 40 years old. My classic is a cruiser and I am very proud of it, and I’m glad all of my hard work has paid off.

 

Got a hot ride? Email us at mywheels@gulfnews.com with a photo and description and you could be our next my wheels star!

Profile

Name:Ramzi Barakat

Job:Workshop owner

From:Syria

Wheels:1975 Chevrolet Corvette

In the UAE:born here