(Posted for Editor Campisano while he's stuck in jury duty!)
When I bought Project Homewrecker two years ago, I never dreamed it would take so long to get it on the road. Why I thought this I do not know...
When I bought Project Homewrecker two years ago, I never dreamed it would take so long to get it on the road. Why I thought this I do not know. I've been playing with cars for nearly 30 years and they always take twice as long to fix up as you expect. Maybe I am just the eternal optimist.
The last time this '72 LT-1 Corvette was in the magazine was late in 2007. We finished the paint, chrome, interior and suspension and needed to get the Shoestring Stroker 383 under the hood.
It made no sense to drop in a new engine and leave the factory clutch in there, so we stepped up with a new McLeod twin-disc clutch and aluminum flywheel. This combo promised to have plenty of grip, but with the kind of light pedal effort you'd expect from a new car. Would it deliver? For improved charging, we went with one of the terrific high-output alternators from PA Performance.
Naturally, there were issues. We had to find a starter that would work with the smaller-diameter flywheel, the HEI ignition would never clear the firewall nor work with the factory mechanical tach (we swapped the original distributor back in for the time being), there was a major oil leak from where the valve cover moved when we installed it and we had to have custom pipes made to go from the new Flowtech headers to the factory 2.5-inch exhaust.
All in all, things went great. The clutch feel is beautiful (or so it seemed on my on-the-street drive with open headers!), a new valve cover gasket stopped the oil leak and the exhaust is supposedly mint. (I've been stuck at jury duty and have not been able to pick up the car from the exhaust shop. I'm typing this from the courthouse!)
Let's hope we can get this puppy fully operational in the next couple of weeks. It's always the last five percent of the project that takes the longest--or so it seems. Maybe I'm just getting anxious.
Next up: Adjusting the shift linkage, fixing the tach, getting the hood stripes redone, adjusting the doors so they open and close better and then having some fun.
Once this is accomplished, we'll take it to a chassis dyno to see just what the difference is between what the 383 made on the engine dyno at B&B Automotive in Carteret, New Jersey, with open headers and no accessories and at the rear wheels, through closed exhaust, spinning the accessories.
I'm guessing the difference will be 10-12 percent, not the 15-18 percent difference typically people claim for manual transmission-equipped cars.
And while I'm at it, are you in favor of more or less Corvette-related stories in Super Chevy. Once upon a time, there was a Vette on almost every cover. Now we rarely do anything on them.
Let me know what you think.