1971 Corvette Ultimate Sleeper!

1971 Chevrolet Corvette Burnout

From the outset, this simple, standard-looking 1971 Corvette looks virtually period correct. Hell, ask Joe Marudas of Milaca, Minnesota, to pop the hood and you still might not think anything is amiss. You look at the big-block stuffed between the fenders, look at Joe, look back at the car, and think everything is right as rain. As a matter of fact, it’s almost too perfect of a crime.

But if you turned your back on Joe and snapped back you just might catch a giant good ol’ boy grin on Joe’s mug. Because what he ain’t sharing is that the 454 he said the car has, is actually a 582-cubic-inch big-block that thunders out 828 horsepower and 760 lb-ft of torque all naturally aspirated and leaving no one the wiser. Joe admits that it’s probably lost a few ponies due to driveline loss, but his 9.71 at 139.3 mph elapsed times tell an entirely different story. And by the enthusiastic nature in which he ripped out some smokies on this airstrip, we believe it.

1971 Chevrolet Corvette Front 2/24
1971 Chevrolet Corvette Side View 3/24
1971 Chevrolet Corvette Taillights 4/24

“This car hooks hard and goes straight. Nothing fancy, it just works! When I’m going down the track wide open it feels the same as when I’m going down the freeway at 70 mph.” Joe has a hard time hiding his pearly whites at us as he talks about his car, “this is NOT a show car, it gets the crap beat out of it almost every weekend, whether at the track or on the street. I feel there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s what the car was made to do.”

Funny thing of it is that the car didn’t start nearly as nice as you see it now. “I’m a 53-year-old, self-employed auto-repair shop owner here in central Minnesota. I’ve had a lot of nice cars but never have I become so personally attached to one like this.” Joe went on to tell us during our photo shoot how he sold his 1970 Corvette to buy the house he currently lives in and has been kicking his own butt ever since.

“The car started out as a total basket case. I’ve had to restore pretty much everything on the car myself. Body damage, paint it, replaced the interior and every mechanical aspect of the car. I designed and built my own engine and did all the IRS stuff. Literally everything done personally myself right here in my garage at home, my wife calls it my mad scientist lab! I could talk about this car for hours!”

1971 Chevrolet Corvette Engine View 5/24
1971 Chevrolet Corvette Engine View 6/24

And literally he did. He told us how he assembled the LS6 clone with a 4.600-inch bore and 4.375-inch stroke engine packed with CP Carrillo pistons with Oliver 6.535-inch connecting rods wrapped around a Callies Magnum crank. Machine work was completed by BBS out of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, who also provided a custom-grind cam. Specs of said cam? S@$%-eating grin, remember? He ain’t telling. The heads, though, he did disclose are aluminum Dart Pro 1s with Manley Severe Duty valves coming in at 2.30-inch intake and 1.88-inch diameter exhaust, topped off with Jesel shaft-style 1.75:1 ratio rockers. The 1050 Dominator carb sits upon the dual-plane, stock-style intake, which was port-matched to the heads, and a stock-style air intake. All this is fed by a Holley HP120 pump and capped off with a set of Hedman headers and very short 3-inch to 2.5-inch step-down style exhaust. Trust us, once that fire is lit, it hides no more secrets!

The power is wrangled through a Coan Racing Powerglide and a Coan 10-inch converter with a 5,200-stall. That feeds the one-off IRS rear-suspension with a safety loop on the main shaft and four loops on the halfshafts, two per side. It appears fairly stock until you dig a little deeper. Joe designed and built this setup and it’s packed with 3.70 gears, Tom’s 30/31-spline axles, and a Moser spool just for good measure. Joe was able to take the spool, turn it a bit on the lathe and re-drill it to fit the stock case. Grin.

1971 Chevrolet Corvette Front Side View 7/24
1971 Chevrolet Corvette Rear Side View 14/24

The chassis itself is pretty stock – with stock upper and lower control arms. Lakewood 90/10 shocks are about as fancy as the front gets. The back has a set of Van Steel offset upper and lower control arms to fit bigger tires and a set of QA1 single-adjustable shocks and VBP fiberglass springs comprise the basic rear suspension. Remember that grin? Well, Joe took that a step further and made an upper radius rod and brackets with custom halfshafts and the two safety loops per side that we already mentioned.

Still wanting to be as sleeper as it gets, Joe stuck with the stock 15×8 Rally steelies with period-looking Firestone G-70 Wide Ovals on all four corners. But he will bust out the 275 wide Mickey Thompson Pro drag radials when it’s play time.

1971 Chevrolet Corvette Side View 15/24
1971 Chevrolet Corvette Rear Side View 16/24

“My plan from the get-go was to have the car always stay bone-stock appearing.” Yeah that word “appearing” should come with some massive air quotes. “The car was wrecked and auctioned, that’s all I really know about the car. It’s kind of like an animal you found at the shelter. I took it in and made it a family member and gave it a good home.

“I would say that this car has become a member of the family. It has been a real labor of love for me ever since I found it back in ’04. I have a beautiful wife and three daughters – 21, 13, and 3-years-old. They all know the car well and the youngest one named it ‘Red Roadster.’ My wife still drives it on the street from time to time. We like to take short trips to the restaurant or Dairy Queen, usually with the top off or down on nice days.”

1971 Chevrolet Corvette Interior 17/24
1971 Chevrolet Corvette Interior Seats 18/24

Joe literally did talk to us about his car for hours on end and the way he spins it, it was easy to get lost in his stories because they’re all told so passionately, you couldn’t help but get a little worked up and want a Vette like this of your own.

“What I really like to do with the car is drag race it. I have been taking it to local muscle car index and bracket races for about eight years. I really want to do the F.A.S.T. and I’m slowly collecting parts for that.” Not only did Joe tell us that he refuses to put a full ’cage in the car (appropriate to its e.t.) based solely on principle, but he insists that he can rip off consistent 9.70 runs and still drive to and from the track. He seems almost serious enough to want to fight about it. Considering a lot of the trial and error stories he regaled us with, we totally believe him.

1971 Chevrolet Corvette Hood 22/24

“It takes a very patient wife and kids to put up with a muscle car and drag racing addiction. They have come to my races and always been very supportive, sometimes helping in the shop. I really want to thank all my drag racing buddies, Big Block Shawn, and most all; my family.”

Source: SuperChevy.com

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Posted in General Motors, Interesting Stuff

No Prep Drag Racing Shootout

No Prep Drag Racing Shootout

The challenge of drag racing has always been a delicate balance of horsepower and traction. It’s easy to have too much of one or the other—or sometimes a little too much of both. Regardless of the situation, the result is pretty entertaining, which is one of the many reasons we love drag racing. You never know what might happen, so when the balance of horsepower and traction is lopsided, it draws a crowd. Such is the case with the recent Chattanooga’s Fastest Street Car Shootout, an eighth-mile, no-prep drag race at Brainerd Optimist Drag Strip in Tennessee.

Anytime the subject of “no-prep” drag racing comes up, it’s always a hot topic, as the true street-racing contenders are often revealed. If your car can hook on an unprepped surface, that usually means you can get it done on the street. We were on hand as the cars battled for a $1,000 winner-take-all purse and the bragging rights of being Chattanooga’s Fastest Street Car. Scattered rain showers in the forecast made for a light racer turnout, but the action was hot and a bunch of spectators came out to view this Friday-night shootout.

The rules for the shootout were simple, as the unprepped racing surface was the ultimate limiting factor for some of the higher-horsepower cars. With no tire rules, no engine rules, and no suspension rules, this shootout came down to the driver’s and tuner’s ability to get the car down the track. No times would be displayed on the scoreboard, and the timeslips were cut in half to keep the e.t.’s under wraps.

The racers must first complete a street cruise and pull directly into the staging lanes to start the first of two qualifying passes. After two back-to-back qualifying passes, the cars were allowed to cool off while the staff set up the elimination ladder. Race organizer Rusty Bridges mandates a rule that he calls “chase is a race,” which means the typical red-light disqualification rules are not in place. If a racer leaves before the green light comes on, the fellow in the other lane has the option to “chase” his opponent or make the very difficult decision to remain staged. If you chase, it’s a race—if you stay locked in the staging beams, the early leaver gets disqualified. It’s a tricky rule, but a couple of racers used it to their advantage.

Throughout the night, the heavy hitters revealed themselves, as the field grew smaller during eliminations. Many of the contenders were sporting nitrous-fed combinations, but there were a couple of turbocharged cars in the mix as well. Our pick for the top five street cars in the shootout goes like this:

Datsun 240z With Massive Cowl Head 2/99

Ron Lane’s Datsun 240Z is a handful to drive, but that’s just the way Ron likes it. It has an aluminum-headed small-block under the massive cowl hood. One nitrous system is all it takes to make this 240 get down. It sits on a set of Mickey Thompson 275/60R15 Pro Drag Radials.

Chevrolet Chevelle With 275 Drag Radials 3/99

Although Russ McDaniel’s Chevelle looks a little rough around the edges, it is exactly the type of street car that will take your money at a moment’s notice. The nitrous-assisted big-block makes big-time power, and the stock suspension works hard to keep the 275 drag radials hooked up.

1967 Chevrolet Chevelle Burnout 4/99
1967 Chevrolet Chevelle Big Block Nitrous Engine 5/99

Car Craft featured Patrick Henry’s 1967 Chevelle in the Sept. 2013 issue. Since that article, Patrick replaced the small-block with a big-block with nitrous. He’s running an overdrive transmission, as this car sees lots of street miles and consistently runs 5s in the eighth-mile. This is one bad street car.

Ford Fox Body Mustang Burnout 6/99
Ford Fox Body Mustang Small Block Engine 7/99

If there were a “best appearing” award at the Chattanooga’s Fastest Street Car Shootout, Mike Newton’s Fox-body Mustang would own it. His ultra-clean coupe is powered by a small-block Ford with a single 88mm turbocharger. It was a regular in NMCA True Street racing several years ago.

Chevrolet Nova Wheelie 8/99
Chevrolet Nova Small Block Engine 9/99

It was Justin Dempsey’s first time driving his newly acquired Chevy Nova, so he didn’t expect to carry the wheels for 100 feet on an unprepped surface. The leaf-spring Nova put the 28×10.5-inch slicks to work and carried the wheels on nearly every pass. A healthy small-block with a plate nitrous system makes it go.

When it came down to eliminations, the top five cars showed their strength, but it came down to Ron Lane in the lightweight 240Z taking home the $1,000 victory. Although a few of the cars hooked hard and proved that the unprepped surface still offered some bite, the 240Z came out on top thanks to some careful control of the nitrous oxide to keep from overpowering the track. The Chattanooga’s Fastest Street Car Shootout was part of a three-day event called the Scenic City Smackdown.


Ford Fox Body Mustang Driving 10/99
Ford Fox Body Mustang Driving 11/99

This slick Fox-body Mustang GT laid down some killer passes with plenty of street-friendly features. Power comes from a centrifugally supercharged small-block Ford.

Second Generation Chevrolet Camaro 12/99

Sometimes, it doesn’t take a super-sticky surface to break parts, as evidenced by this second-generation Camaro. It spit the rear U-joint out of the driveshaft in the first round of qualifying.

1957 Chevorlet 210 13/99

Rickey Barnes hammered on his slick 1957 Chevy 210 all evening. He’s an avid drag racer, but came out to play in his street car, which is powered by a small-block and four-speed manual transmission.

Chevrolet Camaro Convertible 14/99

Even though it looks pretty mild, Eric McDaniel’s Camaro convertible held its own among a bunch of serious street cars. The nitrous-fed LS3 ran great all evening.

International Pickup With Giant Turbo Hanging Off Of Junkyard Ls Engine 15/99

Yes, that’s a giant turbo hanging off the front of a junkyard LS engine in a rat rod pickup. John Gray pilots this International pickup, which handled the unprepped surface nicely.

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Source: Carcraft.com

Posted in Events, Racing News

1965 & 1967 Chevrolet C10 Sibling Rivalry

Going fast is in the DNA of pretty much every car or truck guy, but it’s not always easy or affordable to act upon that natural need for speed. Some folks opt for a crate engine and creature comforts in favor of a radical camshaft and upgraded fuel system. And while the simple approach is perfectly acceptable, the Calhoun brothers aren’t interested in simple — they want to go fast. Chuck and Jeff Calhoun are truck guys who happen to have a thing for Chevys.

Chuck’s truck is the Sunburst Orange 1967 Chevrolet C10, while his brother Jeff’s truck is the bright red 1965 Chevrolet C10. Both trucks make lots of power, but they go about it in a different way, so the typical brotherly competition is in full swing. Chuck relies on a turbocharged LS-based engine, while Jeff makes horsepower with a tried-and-true aluminum-head small-block. Both trucks are street friendly, but make occasional trips to the dragstrip where bragging rights are on the line.

So, who comes out on top in this brotherly battle? So far, Jeff’s ’65 C10 has claimed the quickest elapsed time, with a best time of 7.808 at 89 miles per hour in the eighth mile. Chuck’s turbo C10 certainly has the potential to outrun his brother’s naturally aspirated combination, but transmission issues have prevented it from putting all the horsepower to the ground. When he gets the bugs ironed out, we’re guessing Chuck’s performance will encourage Jeff to up the ante and create a good old-fashioned grudge race. Jeff says that’s nothing a little nitrous won’t fix.

Despite the intentions of going fast, the two C10s are nicely finished with no details left untouched. Beautiful paintjobs cover both trucks, and you won’t find any outrageous body modifications — just simple custom touches throughout. Let’s find out more about the Calhoun brother’s trucks, and what makes them an awesome pair of potent pickups.

1967 Chevrolet C10 Front Passenger Side

Chuck ran across this ’67 C10 in 1999, and traded with a friend to take over ownership of the truck, which needed a lot of attention. For many years, he used it to haul off the trash, hauling anything he could find and chasing parts for other projects. Since then, it has gone through many changes to reach the configuration you see here. Chuck admits that the truck is an ongoing project, and will likely never be considered “finished.”

Underneath, the chassis has been progressively updated and modified to give the truck a lower stance and better handling. The front suspension is lowered 3 inches, thanks to a set of drop spindles, and now features disc brakes with a Hydro-boost system. Chuck upgraded the steering system with a steering box from an ’87 C10, which offers a quicker steering ratio. Out back is a 12-bolt rearend, set up with 3.73 gears, and a Positraction differential. The rear brakes are made up of scratch-built brackets to accommodate 2005 Corvette disc brakes. Chuck installed lowering springs to bring the ride height down a total of 5 inches in the rear. He then converted the front and rear to a five-lug bolt pattern, and bolted on a set of polished American Racing Torq Thrust II wheels, sized at 17×8 inches and wrapped in Goodyear GTII 255/60R17 raised white letter tires.

Of the two pickups, Chuck’s ’67 C10 certainly has the most wow factor under the hood. He opted for a modern powerplant, a 6.0-liter “LQ4″ engine from a 2007 Chevy truck. This Vortec engine is based off the popular LS platform, so it had lots of potential for power and plenty of life left in it with only 7,000 miles on the clock. Chuck kept the stock bottom end, as well as the original cylinder heads, but utilized a Hummer H3 oil pan to fit the modern engine into the C10 without clearance issues. The Comp Cams hydraulic roller camshaft is mild, but works well with the T-76 Q-trim turbocharger, which is the biggest conversation piece of the entire build. The turbo gets a lot of attention, and it’s plumbed with stainless steel piping, which starts at a set of Stainless Works headers and ends with a pair of Flowmaster mufflers and stainless steel tailpipes. For now, the maximum boost pressure is 8 pounds.

1967 Chevrolet C10 Interior Steering Wheel 

To support the additional horsepower from the turbocharger, Chuck’s 6.0-liter engine is equipped with a custom aluminum fuel tank and dual Racetronix fuel pumps that send 93-octane fuel to the 60-pound injectors. InTune Motorsports tuned the turbocharged engine to be manageable on the street, yet still make plenty of power when Chuck takes the truck to the local dragstrip. Power application is controlled by a 4L65E automatic overdrive transmission, equipped with a Yank 2,600-rpm torque converter.

Although Chuck still has some testing and tuning ahead of him, the exterior and interior of his truck is immaculate. The truck has all new bed panels, and a few custom touches that required some moderate metal fabrication. The original fuel filler hole is now smoothed, and Chuck shaved all of the emblems for a clean look. The PPG Sunburst paint is sanded and buffed to a slick finish, and offers the finishing touch for Chuck’s classic Chevy.

Inside, the truck features a mostly stock interior, with a recovered bench seat and door panels, finished in black. The sunburst orange paint covers the steel portions of the interior, while Auto Meter gauges fill the original cluster. A tilt steering column mounts a woodgrain three-spoke steering wheel for a classic look, while an Alpine CD player provides a modern convenience to this old pickup. Another creature comfort consists of the Classic Auto Air A/C system, which gets put to use on humid summer days in Tennessee. Between the stance, paintjob, interior, and turbocharged engine, Chuck’s C10 offers a nice blend of old and new, and the final result is a dependable truck that he and his wife Darlene can enjoy on a regular basis.

1965 Chevrolet C10 Front Drivers Side

The differences between the brother’s trucks are numerous, and Jeff’s leans more toward the traditional side of the spectrum. Instead of the metallic paintjob, Jeff’s truck is coated in Victory Red, and instead of a high-tech turbocharged engine, Jeff opted for an all-motor small-block Chevy. His ’65 C10 offers good looks and great performance, while still being mild enough to drive on the street.

Suspension modifications are similar to Chuck’s truck, with 3 inches of drop up front and 4 inches out back. Jeff used drop spindles and drop springs to lower the front ride height, and upgraded to an ’86 Chevy truck sway bar. The power steering system is from a ’72 Chevy pickup, as are the disc brakes, which changed the wheel bolt pattern to the more popular five-lug configuration. Rolling stock consists of polished American Torq Thurst II wheels, the same size as Chucks, and wrapped in Toyo 255/6R17 tires for the street. For track use, Jeff uses a set of 15-inch Americans and Goodyear radials.

The rearend is a stock 12-bolt housing that utilizes an Eaton differential with 3.73 gears. The stock rear axles have been redrilled to feature a 5-on-5-inch bolt pattern. Jeff fitted a set of Astro Van rear brake rotors to the rear end, and finished off the brake setup with a pair of ’72 Chevy truck calipers.

Under the hood, the powerplant looks like a basic small-block, but it’s far from it, boasting 406 cubic inches, and a laundry list of go-fast parts. It all starts with an Eagle crankshaft, Scat rods and Speed Pro forged pistons, which create an 11.0:1 compression ratio. The aluminum cylinder heads are Dart Pro1 215cc castings, packed with 2.05- and 1.60-inch valves, and outfitted with Comp Cams valve springs and pushrods. The camshaft is also a Comp stick with 255 degrees of duration on the intake side and 262 degrees on the exhaust, measured at .050-inch lift. Fuel is provided by a 750-cfm Barry Grant carburetor, mounted atop an Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold, while fire comes from an MSD Pro Billet distributor and 6-AL box. Hedman headers send exhaust gasses into a 3-inch exhaust system, complete with Magnaflow mufflers.

Behind the healthy small-block is a TH350 automatic transmission, which is mildly modified with a shift kit and a Boss Hog 3,000-rpm stall torque converter. Despite Jeff’s tendency to take his truck down the dragstrip, he retained the column shifter. Other interior details include gray leather upholstery, and a stock gauge cluster with the addition of a vacuum gauge from a ’67 GTO and an Autogage tachometer. The steering column came from a ’72 Chevy truck, while the Grant woodgrain perfectly matches his brother’s truck. An American Autowire wiring harness provides juice to all of the electronics, including the Sony CD player and Memphis speakers.

1965 Chevrolet C10 Interior Door Panel 5/20

When it came time to repair the body and paint on his ’65 C10, Jeff repaired the normal rusty areas (rocker panels, kick panels, and lower front fenders) and then straightened the panels in preparation for paint. He then called in help from Mike Raby to apply the Sikkens Victory Red base/clear paint, which turned out beautifully. Other help throughout the build came from Chuck Calhoun, Scotty Martin, Will Phillips, Jerry Beavers and several folks from the 1947-Present GM Truck forums.

And though Jeff’s truck has very specific details that differentiate it from his brother’s sunburst C10, the two trucks make a nice pair when parked together. You begin to notice the similarities when the trucks are together, even when the trucks are lined up together at the dragstrip. It’s a brotherly battle between two killer C10s, and it always ends with smiling faces and a little less rubber on the tires.

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Posted in General Motors, Interesting Stuff, Truck | Tagged , ,

Twin Turbo “Murder Nova” makes 3,000-plus HP

Exclusive photos of the Murder Nova! Its Twin Turbo Big Block makes 3,000-plus HP

The very definition of badass, Shawn Ellington’s 1969 Nova is one of the most well-known cars in the country. When we first met Shawn two years ago, his Pro Line–built big-block Chevy was carbureted and supercharged. Since then, he’s switched to electronic fuel injection and a pair of turbos—specifically a pair of 88mm Pro Mod turbochargers from Precision. The engine itself is pretty basic, considering it makes about 3,400 hp. It’s a 572 built with a Lunati crank, Oliver connecting rods, Diamond pistons, and 380cc Dart Pro 2 cylinder heads. At the heart of the engine is a Comp solid roller cam, and Comp lifters and pushrods. The camshaft is geardriven off the crank.

FuelTech’s FT500 sequential-port fuel-injection system runs the show, and it incorporates Billet Atomizer fuel injectors built by Alan Kennedy, which are fed by a beltdriven fuel pump. Jeff Lutz built the headers and turbo plumbing using tubing from Stainless Works, Precision wastegates, and a Precision air-to-water intercooler. Shawn says they placed the turbochargers in the rear of the engine compartment near the firewall for better weight balance and transfer. The engine is cooled by the same water that runs through the intercooler. It gets pumped from a Chiseled Performance aluminum tank mounted in the trunk, to the intercooler mounted under the dash on the passenger side of the car, then through the engine before returning to the tank in the trunk.

24 1969 Chevrolet Nova Rear

The transmission is a TH400 built by Rossler with a 2.10:1 First gear. A carbon-fiber driveshaft from Precision Shaft Technologies connects to a Strange 9-inch housing with a Strange spool and axles. Strange disc brakes are on all four corners.

Don Dial’s Race Shop fabbed the rear four-link and built a stock-style front suspension with TRZ control arms. Chris Bell from Kinetic Engineering built the Penske double-adjustable shocks, front and rear, and helped Shawn set up the suspension.

26 1969 Chevrolet Nova Profile

Electronics are a part of any car making this much power at this level of competition, and Shawn’s car is no stranger to technology. He’s got a Davis Technologies bump box, MSD’s Power Grid ignition system, a boost controller from Hyperaktive Performance Solutions, and a Racepack dash and datalogger. Though he’s got plenty of onboard electronics that can function as traction control devices, Shawn says he’s tried them, but feels more comfortable and runs faster without them.

With a 9.3:1 compression ratio and spooling 42 pounds of boost (though he can turn it up more than that), the Murder Nova runs on 116-octane Q16 oxygenated gasoline from VP Racing Fuels, and Shawn recently ran 4.42 at 178 mph in the eighth-mile on 275 drag radials in this configuration. He expects to see very low-4s on a set of 315 radials at No Mercy 6 later this year in Valdosta, Georgia, if the show’s shooting schedule permits.

25 1969 Chevrolet Nova Side Quarter View

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Source: Carcraft.com

Posted in General Motors, Interesting Stuff

How to: C-Notching Truck Frame Rails

Top Notch - C-Notching Rails From Art Morrison Enterprises

There’s only so far you can lower a vehicle before the suspension bottoms out, or the rearend hits the chassis. We knew when we planned out this ’56 F-100 frame that we’d have to C-notch the framerails for clearance if we were to achieve the desired ride height. Art Morrison Enterprises installed their front and rear suspension at the beginning of the project, while we’d tackle the C-notch ourselves at a later date. That time had come!

When we received the rolling chassis back from AME, there was a little under 2 inches clearance between the rearend and frame, which clearly wasn’t enough. We decided to C-notch the rails by another 4 inches, giving us plenty of suspension movement and room for a bumpstop. However, this would put the top of the C-notch very close to the top of the rails, and given that the coilovers mounted behind the rearend, and thus the rails had to retain plenty of strength, substantial additions to the framerails were required to prevent the rails bending.

We also elected to raise the entire bed floor rather than just a section over the rearend, retaining a factory appearance. This entailed fabricating new mounting lips around the entire perimeter of the bed, as well as a framework underneath the floor, replacing the two factory crossmembers. When finished, to the uninitiated, the floor will appear factory. An added bonus means we’ll have extra room to mount the gas tank under the floor without it hanging down too low.


Truck Bed 2/25

1. The bed still fit on our chassis after the modifications by Art Morrison Enterprises, but the new 20×12 Billet Specialties wheels weren’t going to fit and clear the stock bedsides. The first order of business was to remove a section of the original wood floor.

Miller Plasma Cutting Sheetmetal 3/25

2. Using a space saver wheel and tire as a guide, we used our Miller plasma cutter to remove enough sheetmetal to clear the new rubber.

Semi Circular Cut 4/25

3. Using the space saver ensured a nice even semi-circular cut.

Borrowed Wheels 5/25

4. As we didn’t have the new wheels and tires yet, we borrowed a set of 20×8 wheels. Though not the right width, they were the correct overall diameter.

Checking Ride Height 6/25

5. We quickly hung one of the old rear fenders to get an idea of the ride height. Our calculations had worked out perfectly, with the top of the wheel lining up with the fender lip. The new wheels will be 1-inch further inboard to clear the lip.

Marked Chassis Rail 7/25

6. We marked the chassis rail with the centerline of the rearend, plus the width of the axle tubes.

Removed Bed 8/25

7. The bed was then removed, as well as the rearend and suspension, to prevent the latter becoming covered in debris from the next stage of work. The chassis was set up to be horizontal front to rear and side to side. We also temporarily welded “legs” from the ends of the rails to the floor, which would allow us to see if the rails warped during forthcoming welding.

Clamping Plate In Place 9/25

8. With a level clamped to the sides of the rails, we could clamp a length of 3⁄16-inch plate in place. The same thickness as the rails, these will form the chassis kick-up.

Marked Plates For Cutting 10/25

9. The plates were then marked for plasma cutting the top of them 3 inches above the top of the original kick-up.

Clamping Cut Plates In Place 11/25

10. With two plates plasma cut to shape, they were clamped in place as shown, so their outer faces aligned with the sides of the chassis rails.

Cutting Lengths Of Tube 12/25

11. We cut three lengths of 1⁄2-inch tube we had laying around, to act as spacers, welded them in place, then started tack welding the kick-up plates to the rails.

Checking Kick Ups 13/25

12. We broke out the level once again to ensure the kick-ups were even side to side and diagonally.

Continuing Welds 14/25

13. With both kick-ups in place we continued welding, an inch or so at a time to minimize warpage, and added the top plates as we went.

Transfering Axle Centerlines Outside Rails 15/25

14. With closing plates on the ends, and the welds dressed, we transferred the axle centerline to the outside of the rails…

Marked Area For C Notch 16/25

15. …then marked the location of the axle tubes at the top of the desired C-notch, and marked the shape of the C-notch around that. Not wishing to cut into the AME coilover mount gusset too far, we decided to cut the rear of the C-notch to allow as much of the gusset to remain as possible.

Removed Section 17/25

16. With the section removed using a cut-off wheel, we bent two lengths of 2×3⁄16-inch plate to box in the C-notch.

Plsama Cut Plates 18/25

17. The plasma cutter and a couple holesaws in a pillar drill made short work of these plates, which will be welded around the C-notch for added strength. We opted to do this as the coilovers mount behind the axle.

Mounting Strengthening Plates 19/25

18. Here’s how the strengthening plates will mount. We’ll also weld around the circular cutouts, maximizing the added strength across the welded joint. This is why we ground the welds on the outside of the ’rails.

Completed C Notches 20/25

19. With the C-notches done, and the remainder of the bed floor removed, the bed was placed back on the chassis.

Fabricating Floor 21/25

20. Astute readers will realize that the original floor would not clear the C-notch, and we’ll either need a raised section across the center of the bed, or what we consider preferable, a flat floor, raised to clear everything. We started fabrication by clamping lengths of thick-wall 1-inch box section on the outsides of the bed to ensure it remained straight.

Replicating Lips 22/25

21. We wanted to retain a stock appearance to the raised floor, which means replicating the lips that the original bolts to along the lower edge of the bedsides. We used 1x1x1⁄8-inch angle, and copied the mounting holes over. Of course we had to file each one square individually, in order to use the stock-style carriage bolts.

Fabricating Under Floor Framework 23/25

22. We also needed to fabricate an under-floor framework, as the two stock bed-wood crossmembers were now redundant. We used more 1×1-inch box section, and welded them to 1⁄8-inch plates welded to the lower bedsides, with gussets. The new floor will be 4 inches higher than the original, and the wood will sit on the new crossmembers, and bolt to the angle.

Fabricated Triangular Mounts 24/25

23. We then fabricated four triangular mounts that weld to the crossmembers and bolt to the chassis rails. Front to rear gussets were deemed unnecessary as the forward-and rearward-most mounts will prevent the bed moving in either direction.

Completed Frame Work 25/25

24. The completed framework. We won’t cut the lengths of angle or the braces on the outer bedsides until the new wheelhousings are in place.

Source: HotRod.com

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Posted in Truck

’59 Fuelie Corvette After 44 Years

1959 Chevrolet Corvette Side View View Full Gallery

Michael Prince could hardly contain his excitement. He’d heard stories of his father’s ’59 fuel-injected Corvette all his life, and now he was the winning bidder for the car, walled up inside a barn for 44 years. As Prince stated, “I had to chain saw trees that were 16 inches in diameter.” Then, once inside the barn, Prince had to tear down wooden walls the owner had placed around the ’59 Vette to keep lookie-loos away from his treasure.

But, the story gets even stranger. For most of his life Michael Prince actually knew the owner, Carroll Johnson. “There was a period of time of about three years, from 2004 to 2007, when I saw him almost every work day.” The two worked for Prince’s uncle. Many times, Prince would ask if he could take a look at it or if he’d be willing to sell it.

Johnson wouldn’t say no. Instead, he would “just walk away.” Growing up, Michael heard stories from his father about the Snowcrest White, fuel-injected/four-speed Vette. Right after buying the Vette, his father “promptly removed the hubcaps and chromed the wheels and added chrome center caps to complement the wide whites.”

“He told me about running the car on Mulholland Dr. I’ve got pictures of the car with drag racing trophies sitting on the hood and the decklid.” The ’59 was a winner at the dragstrip, but wasn’t as dominant when the ’60 Corvette fuelies came out. So, Michael said his father explained how he and his brother simply went to the Chevy dealer and bought the improved ’60 model fuel-injection unit. Suddenly, he was competitive again and back on top.

1959 Chevrolet Corvette Front Window 2/6

The ’59 Vette was walled up inside an inner structure inside a barn.

1959 Chevrolet Corvette Engine Bay 3/6

The engine was originally fuel injected, swapped out years ago for a four-barrel carburetor.

1959 Chevrolet Corvette Stock Interior 4/6

The interior was stock, but obviously tarnished by time.

The ’59 was a piece of family history from long ago and far away that intrigued Michael, who was born in 1967. His father had “a barrage of cars: a ’57 Chevy, a ’58 Chevy, a ’65 GTO. Dad was from a little town called Campobello, which is just north of Spartanburg, S.C. He moved back there, from California, in the early 1960s and took the Vette with him.”

Soon, the ’59 Vette was well known around the area. Harold kept the car pretty much stock. In 1963, Pontiac introduced the Grand Prix and Harold “had to have one.” He traded in his ’59 Vette. One of Harold’s childhood friends, Carroll Johnson, hustled down to the dealership to purchase the ’59 Vette. Johnson replaced the fuel-injection unit with a four-barrel carburetor and painted the Vette blue. He traded the chromed wheels for a set of aluminum mags.

Johnson drove the car for 5-6 years in the area and took it with him on a move to Atlanta. There, the car suffered front-end damage. When Johnson returned to Campobello in 1969, many potential buyers kept stopping by trying to buy the Vette. So, Johnson pulled the car into a barn on his parent’s farm and eventually virtually entombed the classic Vette to keep prospective buyers away.

Michael Prince told us, “Everybody knew this fellow had bought it from the dealership after my dad had traded it in, and boarded it up inside a barn. It was not unknown, but it was certainly unseen.” When his parents died, Carroll Johnson and his brother moved into the old home place on the farm. His brother died earlier and Carroll died in 2013, leaving 21 cars and all his possessions, including the Vette. He had no family and no will. His cousin liquidated the estate.

The cars and estate attracted a lot of attention. Michael Prince wanted the Vette and teamed up with his brother David and uncle to bid on a lot of 12 vehicles that included the ’59 Vette. Corvette enthusiasts in the area did not know the ’59 was a fuelie. Bidders could “take a peek” at the old Vette through a door in the barn, but they could not actually get into the space to touch the car and really check it out.

Michael’s dad died three years earlier. He had “wished to get it back,” and had asked Carroll about buying it. However, Carroll was a buyer and never a seller and Michael said Johnson “wouldn’t talk to him [his Dad] either, about the car.” It was with high anticipation that Harold’s son, Michael, cut down the trees to clear a path and then tore down the walls to reveal the Vette he’d dreamed of all his life.

1959 Chevrolet Corvette Rear View 5/6

Prince took down the inner walls to reveal the Vette.

1959 Chevrolet Corvette Side View 6/6

Prince could hardly believe he would finally own the ’59 his father bought new so many years ago, and which he had heard about his whole life.

“Neighbors and people who had heard about the car for all their lives came out to see. I think that they were almost as excited as I was to see that the car actually did exist.” Michael was surprised by how much the Vette had degraded, from “the years sitting in a dirt floor barn as the home to squirrels, ’coons, and field mice.” I wondered about the fuel-injection unit. Yes, Michael found the fuel-injection unit in an adjacent room in the same barn, where he also found the tach-drive distributor.

Another surprise was the original engine was not in the car. Michael and his uncle Jerry hunted through multiple barns on the 60 acres for the 283. He could not find the engine until later when his uncle talked to “this old fellow named Cooter,” who was close friends with Carroll. Cooter led them to the matching-numbers engine in another barn on the property. The ’59 has both tops, a Wonderbar radio, and came from the factory in St. Louis with the 290-horse fuel-injected 283. “I’m pretty sure it has Positraction, too,” Michael said.

He plans a complete restoration, but just got the car. One more mystery remains. As of this writing the next thing he plans to do is get the trunk open. Legend has it that Johnson rounded up N.O.S. parts to fix the front end and those components are supposedly in the trunk.

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Source: SuperChevy.com

Posted in General Motors, Interesting Stuff

The Best Damn Camaro In Town

Rear Passenger Side Top ViewWhat happens when you combine one of the most notable muscle car collectors in North America and a super-rare GM prototype racing engine—an engine tweaked by one of the greatest driver/mechanic/designers to grace our nation’s racetracks—and then you give the collector full reign to do whatever he pleases?

Well, this collector car guru found a numbers-matching 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Rally Sport and joined the engine and car in a harmonious relationship of tire-shredding torque, straightaway-ripping horsepower, and road-course handling. It’s a fine union between big-brand product development and late ’60s racing tech.

Flash back 20 years. Car collector Carl Dwiggins of Conover, North Carolina, at one time or another had owned virtually every rare muscle car built. One day he got in touch with a certain fellow in California who had a knack for finding rare vintage iron. The discussion led to an engine he had recently bought at auction at Smokey Yunick’s “Best Damn Garage in Town” in Daytona, Florida. It was a rare prototype that Chevrolet had been working on with Smokey for the Trans-Am racing series. Carl wound up trading a ’58 Buick convertible for the engine, but he just had to have it.

It was Chevy’s Vince Piggins who set the wheels in motion to develop this exotic engine back in June 1968. Its main focus was a set of modified hemispherical-chambered aluminum heads. Each head contained massive ports you could literally put your fist through. A set of 2.05-inch intake and 1.94-inch exhaust valves was installed to increase air/fuel and exhaust flow through the heads.

A unique cross-ram, dual-four-barrel manifold was cast to fit the cylinder heads. Special oversized 12.5:1 pistons were developed to reach the 305ci displacement limit of the Trans-Am series. Even the block had subtle touches: It was relieved in order to clear the large exhaust valves. Inside, a specially designed camshaft was installed to kick the big valves. The prototype hemi small-block was topped off by magnesium valve covers that look like they would fit even a big-block, due to the canted-valve arrangement.

1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z 28 Hemi Head 302ci Small Block 3/8 In the thick of the Trans-Am pony car wars, GM experimented with a hemi-head version of the 302 small-block in a quest for more power. Ultimately the idea was scrapped, and the prototype mill fell into the hands of Smokey Yunick. Even ol’ Smokey couldn’t make the design work, so the hemi was set aside in his “Best Damn Garage” until it was auctioned and eventually made its way into the yellow Z.

Unfortunately, all did not go well with the buildup, but Chevy Engineering did learn a lot from the design. The short-stroke 302 was found to be overventilated due to the oversize intake valves, decreasing the velocity of the incoming fuel charge. Thus, the engine just couldn’t get the density of air and fuel it needed to produce the expected power levels. Though there was a slight increase in horsepower, the torque curve dropped, thus changing the race 302’s potent power band.

The engineers concluded that the hemispherical head package did not offer enough power gain to justify the cost of the expensive aluminum heads. When GM finished its best efforts with this setup, Smokey Yunick got a chance at further development of the hemi head design. Unfortunately, even with Smokey’s prowess, the final decision was to axe the program. Fortunately for Chevy fans, Smokey kept this engine. Though it didn’t quite reach the results that Chevrolet wanted, it was still a very potent race-ready small-block, itching to be retrofitted in a pony car racer.

Once Carl had the engine in his possession, he went to Dave Tinnell of Edmonton, Kentucky, for a transplant into something worthy of its pedigree. Dave had pioneered some high-end restorations over the years, using his skills on a number of the rarest Chevys. Yenkos, COPOs, ZL1s, LS6s, and many others from Carl’s extensive collection had been worked on or restored by Dave.

After discussing the matter, Carl and Dave hatched a plan to build the ultimate Z/28 that never made it off a Chevrolet production line, using a ’69 Z/28 Rally Sport that Dave had bought earlier for the car’s chassis. It would serve as the ultimate moving engine stand for Smokey’s prototype hemi motor.

1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z 28 Interior With Yellow Houndstooth Upholstery 4/8 Here’s something you don’t see every day: yellow houndstooth upholstery. The Z/28 originally came with black vinyl, but Carl and Dave opted for the brighter seat covers during the car’s restoration.

Dave went through the Daytona Yellow Z/28 with a fine-tooth comb during its resto. When was the last time you saw a yellow houndstooth interior? Even though this car came with black vinyl upholstery originally, the bright skins really look at home in the yellow Camaro.

The interior is complemented by a rosewood steering wheel, a console with gauges, and a factory tachometer in the woodgrain dashboard. Other Bow Tie exotica on the Camaro includes an ultrarare fiberglass cross-ram hood to fit over the dual four-barrel carburetors, an NC8 chambered exhaust system, and radio and heater delete plates. A set of original Firestone Sports Car 200 tires was sourced to fit period correct Torq-Thrust wheels, giving the car the ultimate Trans-Am racer look.

Now, every restoration has a problem or two, and this one was no different. While working through the engine, Dave found that the 302 needed a set of valve cover gaskets, a pretty rare deal since these were experimental heads. Carl called Smokey (the build was done years ago, when Smokey was still alive) to see if he had an extra set lying around. Luckily, Yunick had one pair remaining, but he wanted something in return, namely a four-barrel intake for a ’55 Chevy. Like two kids at a baseball card swap meet, the two agreed to trade parts.

Smokey’s attention to detail was legendary, and Carl experienced it firsthand when the gaskets showed up. Two pieces of wood were used to form a box. One side had the exact shape and depth of the gaskets routed out of it. Once the halves were screwed together, there was no way the “unobtainable” gaskets could be hurt.

Another delay was avoided when Carl decided to hijack a transmission from the restoration of a ’69 Yenko Camaro that he was doing at the same time. He must have had a nice in-house supply shop, to say the least.

The Camaro’s current owner, Fred Phillips, first saw this car for sale in the spring of 1990, but back then he could not agree on a price. He didn’t leave empty-handed; he bought a super-rare ’69 Rally Sport COPO Camaro that he still owns today.

1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z 28 Front Top View 5/8 A rare fiberglass cross-ram hood was fitted during the car’s restoration to clear the engine’s dual four-barrel carbs.

However, like a beautiful woman who steals your heart the moment you lay eyes on her, the hemi Z was never far from Fred’s mind. About 10 years ago he got another shot at the car, and he was finally able to purchase it, along with a beautiful ’80 Motion Camaro, from Charley Lillard of Woodland, California.

There is no other Z/28 that sounds like this ’69. With the 12.5:1 pistons and the chambered exhaust, the raspy note is unlike anything else on the street. Smokey would be glad to know that his motor is still alive and riding inside a true American classic.

If you ever find yourself near Calgary in western Canada, you can tour Fred’s collection of American muscle and European sports cars by inquiring at www.focusauto.com.

At a Glance
1969 Camaro Z/28
Owned by: Fred Phillips, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Restored by: Dave Tinnell, Edmonton, KY
Engine: Chevrolet prototype 302 hemi-head V-8
Transmission: Muncie M22 4-speed manual
Rearend: 3.73 gears
Interior: Yellow houndstooth bucket seat
Wheels: 15×7 American Racing Torq-Thrust
Tires: E70-15 Firestone Sports Car 200
Special parts: GM/Smokey Yunick hemi-head prototype 302ci small-block engine, radio/heater deletes, fiberglass cross-ram hood, NC8 chambered exhaust

 

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Source: Musclecarreview.com

 

Posted in Industry News