Inspiration for the CRC

The 1962 Corvette is a classic style still enjoyed by young and old. The first “retro ‘62” took six years and over 5000 hours to make the modifications and complete the car. A stock ’62 body was used to fit over the ’93 chassis, which had to be lengthened to properly align the 1962 body. Engineering and construction on the full front tilt took a year to complete. The car became a show favorite throughout the Northwest and won many awards as well as second looks.

Designing the CRC

In 1994 the first prototype was started on a C4 Corvette. The concept was very unique and many inquiries came in on how to purchase this car. This interest sparked a parallel project, which started with a C5 Corvette and several months of hand shaping the new design. Inspired by the classic ’62 Corvette, Doug’s new design took advantage of the larger C5 platform. He chose to use computers in the design process to ensure precision of the body panels and the ability to repeat the same exact structure each time. Resolutions (now REALADI), an organization within Boeing Phantom Works, was hired to scan the design and convert it to a 3D CAD program (3-dimensional computer aided design) using reverse engineering technology. This same technology is used in the airplane designs and the NASA Space Shuttle program.


 

Utilizing the Boeing computers, Doug worked with technicians to ensure his design flowed and the body shape was refined into a “Class-A” surface. This created a surface and preciseness beyond the naked eye that tested all curves, edges and radii.

With the body surface complete, the body was removed from the chassis and the same precision process was used to map and identify all the mounting points and clearance issues with the sub-structure.


 

A test fit was done on the Boeing computers to check the motion of doors and other moving parts, allowing the engineers to identify and correct any errors before the molds were constructed. This also allowed us to discover how the body would behave when attached to the chassis.

Boeing, REALADI and the CRC

Participating in Boeing’s Chairman’s Innovation Initiative Program, A TEAM of select engineers elected to spin out of the Boeing Company forming REALADI. REALADI’S brand of reverse engineering creates geometric computer aided design models for objects when no such model exists. Combining precise coordinate data captured from the surface of the actual object with whatever engineering data might already exist, engineers create a computer aided design model tailored to the customer’s application.

To reproduce an image, a “point cloud” is needed that precisely spells out its dimensions so that it creates an electronic 3-D image. This is done in a number of ways, through laser interferometry; projected white light grid patterns; physical contact (touch-probe machines that physically measure the item); or an integration of all three processes.

Once the coordinate data was completed on the CRC, several software packages were used enabling the creation of the computer aided design model. The model could then reflect the data directly and offer engineering definitions, such as thicknesses, hole sizes, and datum planes.

Since their departure from Boeing, Classic Reflection Coachworks has continued to work with REALADI to improve and add parts to aid in the assembly of the cars.

Tooling

The model data, that became the CRC, was transferred to a specialized tooling company that used the information to define paths for a five-axis milling machine.

The first step was to confirm the design aesthetics by creating a half-scale model of the car. Once Doug was satisfied with the overall visual appearance, he instructed

the tooling company to create the first in a series of molds that were needed to build the final high temp vacuum molds for all the body panels.

Composite Material

The CRC body is made from SPRINT CBS, a unique composite material by Gurit, used by several companies in Europe for the Aston Martin, the Mercedes SLR McLaren and the MG X Power SV. This composite is shipped to our shop frozen from England. The material is a balance of Carbon Fiber and E-Glass layers placed on either side of a precast, precatalysed resin film. Unlike conventional prepregs, SPRINT fibers remain dry and unimpregnated by the resin until the curing process. This gives the materials their outstanding breathability, high strength and achieves autoclave quality laminates from vacuum bag processing. A surfacing material is placed in the mold prior to the CBS. After the vacuum bagging process and high temperature cure, the parts are treated with a DuPont paint system which has been developed for use on this material. The surfacing material, along with the DuPont system virtually eliminates any pattern bleed through on the outer surface ensuring a remarkable finish.

The CRC conversion is more than replacing and bolting on a few panels on a stock C5. Every panel on the C5 is replaced with a computer engineered, vacuum formed Carbon Balance part. Each individual part is made without seams to prevent printing on the outer surface. The rear section of the car is permanently attached to the C5 frame and all other parts are attached using removable fasteners. The car was designed to use factory stock parts (hinges, wiring, interior appointments). The bumpers and most of the chrome trim are manufactured specifically for Classic Reflection Coachworks.

Each car is hand crafted, panels and trim are custom fit and the car is painted any
color the customer chooses. A new soft top is installed and the car is cut and
buffed ensuring a quality you find only in high end show cars.