Friday, July 29, 2016

Badass Corvettes

Unsure as to why classic race Corvettes were usually convertibles with a hardtop, but I just love that look. Another nice detail is the LeMans-style gas cap.

Pics of race or just badass Corvettes I find during my Internet travels.

Thank you for following!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

1976 Corvette Steering Column and the "Vega" Wheel
Part Nine

I've been dragging my feet and—even though the 1978 OEM column I rebuilt has been done for a while—avoiding going through with the actual swap. But now that my car's motor is being rebuilt and I am done detailing the firewall and engine bay, the perfect time to start the swap has presented itself.

I started by reading one of the excellent Corvette steering column tutorials published by Jim Shea, which provided step-by-step instructions that allowed me to remove my car's column all by myself, in approximately an hour-and-a-half. It is safe to say that, with the engine in the car, the process would've taken at least an additional hour.


The first thing I did was to remove the steering wheel and the plastic column cover under the dash. I also loosened the two bolts that secure the column to the dash, but as Shea recommends, I left everything in place.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Powdercoating by Topp Coat in Orange City, Florida

You never know for sure what results you'll get from a new shop, whether it's bodywork, paint or—as in this case—powder coating.

Well, the guys at Topp Coat in Orange City, Florida, did an incredible job with the parts I wanted done. They turned out so nice and glossy, they really look like wet paint.

The only way to show how great they look is through photos, even though it is hard to really capture the full effect of the finish, but at least you'll get an idea.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

On Stingray Pond

My grandma used to say, "God protect me from my friends, for I know who my enemies are." And it's obvious that the guy who let his "bud" borrow this 1971 Corvette Stingray—who ended up driving it into a marsh—could've used some of that advise.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Detailing Misc. Parts and Hardware

Mark from Sunrise Automotive called me early this morning to ask me if I could swing by the shop to pick up some hardware that, he felt, could use a good cleaning.

Well, "some hardware" tuned out to be bags upon bags of the original engine and engine accessory nuts, washers and bolts. I have to say that they did a beautiful job of tagging everything which speaks volumes in my book, as to how particular they are, and I am very pleased to see that.

But cleaning greasy and dirty hardware is not a fun job. Besides, after four decades and 40k-plus miles on them, age and stress takes its toll, so I am going to clean and paint a few items, but when it comes to nuts, bolts and washers, I plan to replace as many as possible with Grade 8 hardware.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Powder and Ceramic Coating

Small details make a huge difference when it comes down to detailing anything, and the motor is no exception. So today I stopped by Sunrise Automotive to pick up a few pieces that will be powdercoated gloss black by Topp Coat Powder Coating right here in Orange City, FL.

This morning I did a quick search for powder coating services near my home, and lo and behold, this shop is less than two miles from my house.

So I dropped off twelve pieces, including pulleys and brackets, which should be done in about a week. John, one of the shop owners, sent me a "before" photo of the parts inventory, which was great since I forgot to snap a few beforehand.

Unfortunately I did not know that Topp Coat also offered ceramic coating, otherwise I would've let them take care of the exhaust manifolds at the same time. Anyway, those are going to be done by Performance Kote of Orlando.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Firewall and Engine Bay Detailing | Part 5

Detailing and refinishing the firewall and inner fenders is a very tedious job, but I finally got to the point where every wire and hose was masked with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Using tape and paper would take forever, so the aluminum foil approach is the best.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Firewall and Engine Bay Detailing | Part 4

Since it's inevitable not to scratch a few areas of the hood surround lip, I will lightly sand it when I am ready to spray the firewall, and then give it a few coats of SEM Landau Black paint, at the very end.

Meanwhile, I continue to sand and fill in deep scratches with glazing compound, most of which is sanded off with 80-grit paper.

C3s on TV

If, like me, you are a C3 enthusiast, there's no such thing as too much information, especially when it comes to videos and TV shows.

And there are plenty of videos on the web. A quick Google search for C3 Corvette videos, reveals over 89,000 links.

They run the gamut. From buying tips to restomods; from exhaust sounds to performance, and everything else imaginable in between. Some of them are produced really well, but the great majority just plain suck!

But if you're looking for good and clean entertainment value, you can always turn to television.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Restoring the Shifter Console

Since I want to keep good records of work I've done to my car, I had to include the shifter console reconditioning I did a while ago.

The console itself is in okay condition, albeit showing its age. But since aftermarket replacement parts are expensive, I decided to keep the original console with the car for now and recondition things such as the shifter plate, replace the shifter boot and knob, and repaint the black edge of the plate.

Monday, July 18, 2016

1969 Stingray Convertible on CL. Too Good to be True?

A couple of days ago, while looking at C3 Corvettes offered on Craigslist (CL), I came across a 1969 Stingray Convertible that definitely caught my eye.

The ad did not list a specific city, but the map alluded to a Florida address about an hour away from me. Of course the $10k asking price raised all kinds of red flags in my mind since prices for '69 Stingray convertibles powered by 427 c.i. big blocks, start at around thirty grand!

There was no phone number to contact the seller, only the cryptic CL email address. So I sent an email just to see if someone would respond.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Firewall and Engine Bay Detailing | Part 3

Since there's only so much that sanding alone will fix, I decided to use Bondo® Glass body filler to fill in and smooth out a few areas that looked horrible—thanks to someone at the factory using excessive amounts of seam sealer, and never bothering to make the area look halfway decent—especially around areas that are visible the moment you open the hood.

Once the body filler had cured, I sanded with 60-grit paper, and then applied a skimming coat of glazing putty, which might have been overkill since the bedliner spray will cover sanding scratches.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Firewall and Engine Bay Detailing | Part 2

Today, I started by removing the engine bay hood lock assemblies, but I made sure I marked their exact location on the firewall, to make sure the hood will close and open (especially open) with no problems, when I reassemble the whole thing.

I also tagged and bagged all related hardware to make my life easier for reassembly.

I then proceeded to sand the areas that will be painted, but I still need to Bondo® a few areas to make it look its best. I plan to use bedliner spray for good coverage.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Firewall and Engine Bay Detailing | Part 1

Even though about a year ago I took the time to detail parts of the firewall (those I was able to reach), having the motor out of the engine bay gives me enough access to detail a good chunk of it.

This is by no means, a fun job. Quite the contrary. But it has to be done. Otherwise, what's the point of having a rebuilt engine that looks beautiful sitting in an engine bay that looks tired and dirty?

So with that thought in mind, I decided to start cleaning and sanding some of the areas I can reach. At some point I will have to climb in the engine bay in order to mask everything that does not need paint, and I will also detail the chassis as much as I can.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Rebuilding and Upgrading the Corvette L-48 Engine | Part 2

Mark at Sunrise Automotive, sent me a couple of pics of the engine removal.

And—as promised—they made sure the fenders were protected while the operation was underway. You gotta love that.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Rebuilding and Upgrading the Corvette L-48 Engine | Part 1

By the early 1970s, "horsepower" had become a four-letter-word in America thanks to the combined efforts of insurance companies, environmentalists, and the federal government, not to mention an oil crisis that quadrupled fuel prices.

So when the then-new 1976 Stingray models rolled off the line, they featured anemic 180 hp base motors with 8.5:1 compression ratios. The "high-performance" L-82 option barely managed to bump that number up to 210 ponies.

The irony is that fuel efficiency was nothing to brag about either, with the L-48 being capable of only 13.6 highway miles-per-gallon. For comparison purposes, the new 2016 Corvette has a 460 hp 6.2L V8 with an estimated 29 MPG. The 2016 Camaro churns out 335 horses with a 27 MPG highway fuel efficiency out of the base 3.6L V6 engine!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Abandoned, Neglected and Forgotten | Early C3

Not enough there to determine if this is a '68 or a '69, at least from this photo, but one thing's for sure... this one is gone for good. And what a shame that is.

Rust in Peace!

Photos of neglected, abused and abandoned Corvettes I find during my web travels.

Thank you for following my blog!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Corvette Mystery Science Theater

'How many of God's laws
do these cars violate?'
Sometimes I come across images on the web of "modified" Corvettes that would make Crow T. Robot say, W. T. F!

The resulting byproduct of these mods range from absurd to comical to fugly to—in some rare instances—ingenious, but at the end of the day, 99% of them are just plain wrong!

Of course in this day and age of Photoshopped images, you never know which ones are legit.

Having said that; if you witness one of these Corvette-abuse cases in progress, please notify your nearest NCRS office.

Just kidding! Simply snap a few pics and share them with the rest of us.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

If We Knew Then What We Know Now...

The old postulate that you don't make money when you sell a car but, rather, when you buy it, is evident when I read old Corvette magazines.

The October/November 1976 issue of Corvette News had a couple of interesting articles that talked about Corvette values.

For example, Bob Wingate, a used Corvette dealer, talks about buying his first "classic" Corvette in 1965, when he purchased a 1954 Vette which he flipped for $1,000. That same car, according to the article, was worth $9,000 in 1976—or about $40 grand today.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Valve Covers: Back to an OEM Look

Decided to go back to more of a factory look with the valve covers since I did not really care for how the Edelbrock Elite II's looked under the hood with every other component being period correct.

And so I first tried to reuse the original valve covers, which—my plan was—to paint the factory-correct Chevy Orange. However, after having them bead blasted and hot tanked, I realized they were beyond being salvageable so I decided to look for used ones.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Corvette Station Wagons

Corvettes the Griswolds (National Lampoon's Vacation, 1983), would've loved.

And even though Vette Wagons are not my thing, I have to admit that a couple of them look pretty cool. Having said that, I am not going to buy one, regardless of price.