If you were a Car Craft follower during the '80s Pro Street era, or if you were around when Fastest Street Car racing first took off in the early '90s, then you know Rod Saboury. It dawned on us one day that we'd never seen his garage, so we asked Rod to send us a photo. When you've been a car guy for 40 years, you tend to accumulate some stuff. In Rod's case, it would take a very long story (which we intend to do) to outline just some of his car-building and drag-racing accomplishments. Rod has been associated with Corvettes for most of his high-performance life, but other notable diversions were his '69 Z/28 that won a Super Stock Wally at the '77 NHRA Summer Nationals. It eventually became an early Pro Street car. Later, in Fastest Street Car racing, he campaigned a terrifyingly quick, turbocharged, big-block Firebird that was never defeated in an entire year of competition. But those few diversions aside, Rod has built dozens of early Corvettes as restos, race cars, and street cars, and many of those racers he drove on the street. His most famous is probably the Mike Moran twin-turbocharged '63 split-window street car that ran 6.75 at 209.96. That is still considered an amazing accomplishment. And for those who think he's another member of the idle rich, Rod owns Saboury Roofing, and you can still find him on the job, installing those unique metal roofs that are very popular in the Northeast. If you get a chance to meet Rod and his wife Tina at a show or cruise night, make sure to say hello. They are great people.
1. Rod just recently bought his old '53 Corvette race car and is in the process of restoring it back to street-car status. Rod raced the 'Vette in Outlaw Street, running 6.90s at more than 200 mph. He won the NMCA Outlaw Street Championship in 1998. This was also the first car to run in the 6s with DOT tires and muffled exhaust. The original monster Rat has been replaced with a Chevrolet Performance 572ci, 620hp crate engine with pump-gas-friendly 9.6:1 compression that makes 650 lb-ft of torque. Rod has replaced the original Lenco with a Fred Brown Powerglide, but he will retain the Mark Williams aluminum 9-inch housing and probably run 3.90:1 gears with a set of Mickey Thompson 33x22x15-inch S/R radials. How cool is that?
2. This '63 Sting Ray was completed just in time for the '13 Street Machine Nationals in Du Quoin, Illinois. It's powered by a late-model ZR1 engine, the supercharged LS9 6.2L engine that makes 638 hp bone stock using an Eaton high-helix supercharger. The engine is backed with a six-speed manual, a fabricated 9-inch housing, and a four-link rear suspension and coilovers. Rod has put about 4,000 miles on the car, mostly last summer. Yes, he drives his cars.
3. How often do you see a completely Pro Streeted '63 Sting Ray next to a 33,000-mile original cousin right down to its original paint? So much for those guys who think that all Rod does is cut these Corvettes up.
4. On the wall is a small collection of the 20 magazine covers and many more stories that have been published about Rod's adventures.
5. On the floor next to the '53's fiberglass front-end is the original Sonny Bryant 813ci, 5.00-inch-bore-spacing engine that last ran in 1998. The tall-deck engine has 17:1 compression and split Dominator carburetors on a sheetmetal intake manifold. It makes 1,550 hp. The motor is for sale along with the Lenco trans and titanium bellhousing, if you're interested.
* In another shop at Rod's house are even more cars, including Rod's '55 Chevy pickup, a frame-off restored '62 'Vette, a real '63 split-rear-window Corvette race car from the '80s, and a '66 Corvette coupe with factory A/C that Rod restored about 10 years ago.