Rendezvous With A Stingray
Endless Roads

We talk so much about car culture here on Speedhunters, but one thing that we sometimes overlook is just as important as the actual cars. I’m talking about the roads that we drive on. If we didn’t have smooth roads, we couldn’t have such low and fast cars. If there were no winding mountain highways, there would be much less joy.


We all fall in love with cars in one way or another, but what I find interesting is how some people can race for their whole life without actually having a car of their own. I for one could not do that.


I just have to drive. On long Speedhunting trips, sometimes all I want to do is get back home to my car and take it for a spin.


I grew up in Southern California where there are some of the greatest canyon driving roads in the world.


And they are meticulously maintained too. As Magnus Walker once said, you could spend your entire life driving the canyon roads in SoCal, but you will never find all of them.


It still baffles me today when I look at Google Maps, finding all the intricate back roads that sometimes lead to nowhere. I guess there’s no harm in trying to find as many as I can.


And what better vehicle to search a few more out than a 1969 Stingray Corvette…

Nineteen Sixty Nine

The car belongs to one of my photographer buddies, John Cirone. I told him I was looking for a story to shoot and he offered to let me drive his classic car around the canyons for a morning. How could I resist an offer like that?


In its day, the 427ci V8 that came in the Corvette was revolutionary in terms of the power it produced for a street car. It was a lot of power back then, and by modern standards is still pretty respectable.


John told me a story about how one night he was messing around in a parking lot doing some donuts and burnouts, when a cop rolled up on him and asked what he was doing. When the officer saw that it was a 427, he said, ‘Oh, you have a 427, you can do whatever you want,’ and then drove off.


Beyond badass is pretty much how you describe this car.


I was so lucky to be able to drive this machine, because when I think about it, most of my friends in my generation have never had the pleasure of experiencing a car like this from the driver’s seat.


Sure, you see these on the road every now and then, but to be able to enjoy one in its purest form was an absolute treat.


Totally stock standard, it smelled amazing with notes of vinyl and unburnt fuel. Kind of like my 1970 240Z.


The textures and material have mostly survived the test of time.


The best part? No automatic slush-box here – a true 4-speed manual three pedal for some automotive driving bliss.

Early Riser

I called John the day before the shoot to discuss where we should meet up. Knowing that the good soft light was going to be early in the morning, I told him 6:00am near his house, which of course happens to be near the base of a canyon road.


We headed towards Malibu area, and it was unusually foggy – perhaps due to the marine layer. But of course, it was beautiful.


It was also uncomfortably cold to run with the top down, but you know that didn’t stop us.


The ’69 Corvette is one of those cars that you take on this type of road and just cruise, not driving anywhere near the limit of the tires.


I listened to the rumble of the exhaust note reverberate around the mountain pass and just rolled onto the accelerator over and over again.


How did it handle? Well, it definitely felt like I was driving a 46-year-old car. But then again, without power steering it felt so connected to the road.


Even though the gears were very long, it did not matter. There was just so much power and torque on tap it was a pleasure to drive in any gear.


There was one interesting thing I noticed though. Because of the huge torque I swear it accelerated at the same rate whether I was in 2nd or 3rd gear.


I could not even imagine seeing this beauty on the showroom floor at a Chevy dealership four and a half decades ago.


I finally understand the legend of the Corvette. As a Speedhunter I’ve sampled plenty of new cars, but few have left a lasting impression on me.


Driving a press car is like a one night stand – you have a quick rendezvous and that’s the end of it. But driving this 1969 Chevrolet Corvette was like meeting the one that got away. You have a chance encounter, and you will never own one, but you will always dream of a life together.

Check out the road I drove on Google Maps.

Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto

Cutting Room Floor


Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Looking at this car, it seems like driving it would put me at ease. The color and the body lines make for an inviting presence. It's like this car has a settled face and has nothing to prove but that's because it doesn't need to prove anything anymore. The name Corvette carries it's weight just fine in this day and age.


Larry!  That "427" detail shot in the sunlight!  Did you just notice that, or was it set up?  If it's the latter, you're blowing my mind.


‘Oh, you have a 427, you can do whatever you want,’ and then drove off.


This is a very nice written story with great shots of the Vette!


Every shot is wallpaper worthy


Even though I grew up in the 70's I have never been a fan of the Stingray. I don't know if it was all the horrible movies that it appeared in or just the lines of the car. I have to say your pics of this bad boy make me rethink my opinion on them. I agree with the Magnus quote. Being a So Cal native I've been on a lot of canyon roads but I really haven't driven as many as I should even if I could find them all. Very nice write up Larry.

Boaty McBoatface

I loved the previous-gen but somehow the Stingray from '69 have been growing on me lately. And there was always a certain Guido persona associated, many gold chains. Time is vindicating this body style. It's beautiful.


The One Otaku I kinda disregarded them when I was younger, but in my late teens I realized how great the lines really were.  A fantastic looking car.


Steve Hayward Yea I've seen some in person lately and since I disregarded them so strongly in the past I don't even give them the attention they deserve. The pictures Larry took are fantastic and really show the beauty of the 3rd gen Corvette.


It's a race against the clock to shoot in the fog but, late enough to have good light.
There are some amazing shots in this article. I could have been happy if you published this as photos only! Well done.


Rendez vous. Merci

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

It's kind of funny, I was actually talking to a mate about the same thing only a few days ago.
In Sydney we have 'All GM day' car show, usual stuff Camaros Chevelles Novas Impalas and lots of other stuff.
The one thing that always stand out at the show are of course the Vettes. Many were the garden variety 350 auto combos, so you were almost blinded by the same car being everywhere.
You almost disregard all of them for that matter, until you see it. The undeniable shape and attitude of the big block car. Sure it may only be a bonnet bulge and badge away from a small block car, but you know it's something special.
Now only a few years ago I used to not get excited about Corvettes, but being around shows and really looking at them you realise just how special these cars are. I'd have one now, but not long ago I'd laugh at you if you offered me one.
As I get older, the cars I like and dislike change. But there is something about Corvettes that I never saw before, now seem to be almost a beacon anywhere.
As always Larry, well done.

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

A cop in Australia would ask for a drive!!


Love it, with my job as a custom exhaust fabricator in New Zealand I have had the delight of driving a lot of the cars I have lusted over in my youth,60's to 70's Mustangs,Firebirds, Chevs and Cobras, all big lazy V8's, love the styling but always let down by the handling and brakes, I tip my hat to the guys that raced them back in the day, must have had big man coins, minimal safety equipment and all that. Great pictures, your friend is very lucky to have such a gem, like you say, a great machine to rumble through the countryside at a nice pace and just drift back in time. Heres couple of pictures, Cobra 427 rep, and one of our Macsmuffler/Mimico Driftcars next to Miss drifts V8 Supra 86.


Mmmm feelin' your flavour! Bet it sounded the business, too!


Even though I live on the other side of the country I appreciate you posting the Google Maps route; that's good stuff! Beautiful photos all around, the fog is surreal.


Now you need to find somebody with a Resto-Mod bumper C3 (68-73) that been updated with some modern equipment and have a go.  You will never forget it.

Look for:
Rebuilt Big Block with modern heads and internals (L88 spec would also work)
5/6 speed tranny (I LOVED my Tremec TKO, immeasurable improvement over the Muncie 4spd)
updated brake bits (pistons/pads/rotors) or an aftermarket replacement like SSBC
VB&P (or similar) suspension upgrade
Modern low profile wheels and tires
Limited slip diff

Imagine a NA Miata with 600+ lb-ft of torque and a proper engine note and you'll be close.  Looking down that hood (functional L88 hood is even better!) and sitting ON TOP OF the rear tires. mash the throttle and the car roars, pitches back 15 degrees, and disappears over the horizon.


Absolutely awesome photos Larry! I was awaiting this article for some time after the first few teaser images.


Could we get the cover photo as a wallpaper download?


If they're cool enough for astronauts, they're cool enough for anybody.


look...a stock chevy.


PavinKang Click 'presentation mode' on the image below the cover photo, then use your left cursor to bring up the previous image. You can download the cover photo from there.


I don't always change my desktop background, but when I do, it's a Larry Chen photo.


Anything that is stock after exsisting for over 46 years is kind of impressive.


Nick. thats actually a very good point!


Steve Hayward Haha, I didn't set it up I swear. You guys know I only shoot with natural light anyways.


cutterjones13 Nick. why be so negative on every post bro?


Totally mad. I want to explore backroads too now, sounds like a good idea!


KiwiMotoring PavinKang You got it!


proof that older cars have the best curves around :)


Spot less. drop in a low boost 5.3 LS motor, and mate it with a dual clutch gear box and make this a 500 hp daily driver


^_~ ehhh


^_~ ehhh


Thanks for another awesome article Larry! Great shots of a beautiful stock car. Not everything needs to be modded beyond belief to be enjoyable!


Thanks for another awesome article Larry! Great shots of a beautiful stock car. Not everything needs to be modded beyond belief to be enjoyable!


dat backdrop...dat fogg... dat car... :o!!!


dat backdrop...dat fogg... dat car... :o!!!


This comment should be removed and the poster banned!


This comment should be removed and the poster banned!


Buick Man I agree you should ban this 'buick man' guy.....although I have no idea why he wants to be banned.


John Key NZ cutterjones13 Nick. umm......okay...that's a real shitty point...better?


Mahfoodh How about no!


Mahfoodh How about no!


Such a beauty!


gorgeous!!!! It makes me cry!!


The early 'chrome bumper' C3 convertibles are hands down one of THE BEST LOOKING drop tops ever! I'm no fan of rag tops, but even I am hard pressed to prefer the coupe/T-Top to a rag top early C-3.

Awesome pics and right-up.


You grammar Nazi. That was witty, lol.


which comment?


the car was very good 
really really like to see the car that shiny new car fits like made ​​for walking trailsthe car was very good" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> and very fast" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> mix of colors" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> from which to" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> make want pobud see hatnya" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> kecepatanya" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> was very nice ," rel="dofollow" target="_blank">  suitable for a "" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> sharp bend or not sharp I guess motorists like this is" very skilled in the speed I hope I can membilinya someday will whether there are new cars are better I" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> 'll wait for it , with a stylish car classic" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> style I" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> also like" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> to see would be whether there is a" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> car that is as fast and forius like in the " movie , the car very good car designed a way apparently hopefully there will be new cars more good and the price is quite pantastis then chances are I can membilinya the same as you have at this time