Friday, December 25, 2015

My Plan for my '76 Corvette

Since I failed to start my chronicle the day I got the car, this blog —from this date back—will be more of a recap of what I did (or what I'm doing) to my Vette.

I bought the car from the second owner who purchased it from the original buyer in New Jersey.

According to the story, they were friends and both of them were policemen up in NJ.

The guy who bought the car originally, loved Corvettes, and after a few years had three of them in his garage, including my '76. But apparently he really enjoyed driving the newer cars he had, so—according to the second owner—the car just sat in the garage and served double duty as a bench for a roll of carpeting as well as several boxes that were piled atop of the vehicle for years.

He eventually convinced the original owner to sell him the car and, after taking possession of the vehicle, had it repainted since the carpet roll that sat on top of it had ruined the original paint.

My Vette started life as Silver Metallic (code 13) paint, but the new owner did not care for the color so, when he had it repainted, he had them change to color to a dark shade of red.

These are scans of Polaroids he gave me along with all the car's service records.





The paint job was okay for the most part, but the quality of the paint they used is questionable, as the many chips will attest. He also had a couple of parking lot dings which he tried to repair himself, with pretty lousy results.

I've always liked red Corvettes and may have it painted the same shade of dark red when the time comes. Then again, I also like Atomic Orange and Gunmetal Gray Metallic so who knows what the final color might be.

But that's way down the line, as my plans really call for a (somewhat) mild restoration of all suspension, driveline and a few cosmetic components, as well as engine upgrades. More about this in upcoming posts.

One of my "want list" requirements was that the car had a manual transmission, and mine does, even though it is just the late-70s Borg Warner 4-speed box.

As I drive my car around town, I am always looking for that non-existent 5th gear, so that may be something to invest in down the line, as driving down the Interstate at 70 mph with the engine spinning at 3200 rpm can hardly be considered fun or even appropriate for a sports car.

Another pet-peeve of mine is the non-functioning air conditioning system.

Even though I've spent more than $500 trying to get it to run properly, the components are tired and, consequently, all Freon gas has leaked out. I think that a Vintage Air system will take care of those issues once and for all when I'm ready for it. Probably around July or August of next year, as the Florida heat and humidity should provide plenty of motivation to spend the money on such a system.

Other improvements I've made to my Corvette are replacing the OE radio, which never worked, with a modern unit which allows me to plug in my phone so I can listen to my music. I also added a sub-woofer and a speaker box in the storage compartment behind the seats. But the quality of the speakers is questionable so I will get new ones soon, and will either buy or build my own speaker box which will also incorporate the sub-woofer as well as have provisions for a dome light so I can see back there.

Another issue that's been bugging me are the door locks, as the passenger side keeps dragging on the door panel which makes it very difficult to unlock the door. And I am sure the driver's side door will start having the same problem one of these days.

My solution?

I've ordered a remote power door lock system which I plan to customize and install myself, as space inside C3 Corvette doors is difficult to find. Access to the inside of the door is another major issue, so some "surgery" may be required. Stay tuned for that upgrade.

Other repairs and/or updates done to date, which I plan to chronicle individually going forward, include:

  • Wiper bay area restoration
  • Firewall and engine bay detailing
  • Valve cover upgrade
  • Intake manifold upgrade
  • New dual exhaust
  • New Edelbrock 600 cfm carburetor
  • New air cleaner assembly
  • Taillight detailing
  • New radiator and support core
  • OEM aluminum slotted wheels (Kelsey Hayes)
  • Spare tire carrier restoration and detailing
  • Suspension detailing and upgrades
  • Coil spring modifications to drop front-end 1"
  • and more
So bookmark my site and stay tuned!