Pete Ruff's Cars & Bikes


Home Cars Motorcycles E-Mail
XK120M Jaguar 1965 Mustang 2+2 1969 Corvette 1986 Corvette 2001 Corvette Z06 The Workhorse

Bill Verboon

I first met Bill in 1959 in Denver, Colo. where we were both attending technical training for the Defensive Fire Control system installed in the B-52 heavy bomber.  As an aside, it was a pretty sophisticated system with search and track radars, an analog computer capable of figuring the complex gun-laying problem of shooting down an enemy fighter, and a closed-circuit TV.  We were in different weeks, but as it turned out, were going to both end up at Beale Air Force Base in Northern Calif.  While we were in Denver, Bill had a nice '57 Chevy 2 door hardtop that was painted pretty wildly.   As I recall forty five years later, it was white with green scallops.  Then I didnít see it around the base for awhile, until one day it showed up painted a kind of candy green. 
     Shortly after I settled in at Beale and had my XK120 Jaguar at the barracks with me, Bill arrived and soon had his í59 Corvette.  Bill made a lot of changes to the car, which had the base engine of about 230 hp, and a three-speed manual gearbox, and much larger tires on the back  which gave it quite a rake.  The large rear tires would prove crucial to my getting out of the hole quicker than he could.  I remember hanging out with Bill and getting to drive the Vette around Yuba City Ė the first Corvette I ever drove! 
     One day at the Fire Control shop during a slow time, several of us got into a discussion about our cars, and how fast they were vis-ŗ-vis each other.  I had just got my car running after rebuilding it.  I had it bored an amazing 0.160" taking it from 3.4 to 3.8 liters, an increase of about 20 cubic inches.  The forged JE pistons I used came out of a D Type Jaguar that had recently raced at Sebring.  To say the power increase was noticeable was an understatement!
     Zeke Lenn, our Tech Rep from American Bosch Arma Ė and a hero to both Bill and me - had a new í61 T'Bird with a stock 390 engine.  Zeke, Bill and I along with three sergeants, Cliff Turner, Burt Rainey, and Stoy Wooster got into our cars and drove way out to a deserted part of the huge air base.
     When we got to a likely spot, we stopped and got set to race.  As I recall Cliff Turner rode with me, Burt Rainey rode with Zeke, and Stoy Wooster rode with Bill.  The Thunderbird and I lined up, and somebody gave the signal to start.  My Jag had an overall first gear of about 12:1, so getting out of the hole was a simple matter of bringing the Rís up to maybe be 2,500 and dumping the clutch.  I was able to get away nicely, and never was threatened by the T'Bird.  I guess we raced to about 100 mph, and then stopped and returned to where we started.
    Then it was Bill vs. Zeke racing together.  I canít say I can remember how that went except the Vette was in no danger of getting beaten Ė did the T'Bird beat him out of the hole?  I donít remember.  But when they returned, Burt Rainey told me that I had better come up with more top end, as the Corvette ran away from  the T-Bird badly at the top, much worst than I had.
     Now for the big event!  Once again, I got a good hole shot, and was away well before Bill in the Vette.  I felt pretty good, as I could see the red car way back.  Then at about 80 miles per hour, the Vette roared past me like it was shot out of a gun!  Like I put the brakes on!  Like I was standing still!  Pure and simple, that 283 Corvette had a top end that just buried my 230 cu. in. Jaguar.  Thatís what it was all about, giving away fifty three cubic inches.  It certainly proves the old adage, "There's no replacement for displacement.
     We all went back to the shop, knowing how the three cars ranked in acceleration; 1-2-3, Corvette, Jaguar, and Thunderbird. 
     Bill and I had another chance to pit our cars against each other when we went to the drag races at Oroville one day some time after the race at Beale.  He beat me there too, but at least I got a timing slip out of the deal. 
     A side note here; if you compare my quarter mile time of 16.42 sec, 85.71 mph with a 3.54:1 rear gear against the test time from the Road & Track test of 16.66 sec., ~85mph with a 3.77:1 rear gear, my car was definitely faster than a stock XK120M!
Road & Track Road Test of a XK120 Jaguar
     Several years later, I heard Bill's name mentioned at a large Corvette event.  I got Bill's telephone number and called him when I got home.  It seems Bill had been looking for me at any Jaguar gathering he happened to be at.  Of course nobody in the Jaguar crowds knew me, as I had made the switch to Corvette years ago.  We managed to get together for lunch in Sacramento in the Fall of 2003 when Bill picked up the bare body of what was to become the beauty shown on this page.  So I was able to see the before and after of this car.
     Most of the photos below were taken at the 3rd Annual Corvettes at Lake Tahoe event, June 10 - 12, 2005, where it took "Best of Show" among other honors.  The car is a winner in every way!

Bill Verboon and his fine '63 Z06 Corvette Split Window

Bill and son Doug, the day we met for the first time 40 years. The Corvette's body was in the trailer, having been picked up at a media blaster.  Walnut shells removed paint, but didn't harm the fiberglass body

This sign says it all

What a beauty!

Beautifully crafted fender flairs

C5 ZO6 LS6 Engine

Under hood master cylinder and fuse block detail

Command Center

Co-Pilot's seat

Proud owner/builder - the car took Best Corvette at the show!


See Bill's '62 Vette here

Back to XK 120 page
Home   Motorcycles  XK120M Jaguar  1965 Mustang 2+2    1969 Corvette  1986 Corvette    2001 Corvette    The Workhorse