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New project looking for ideas or suggestions!!

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I always wanted a 70's model Corvette, as a kid had a collection of Corvette Hotwheels and Revell models. Recently I sold my 51 Merc to finance the project.
Then a friend turned me on to a fully optioned 1975 Big Block Corvette his brother-in-law had that's been in storage for four years.
The car overheated and was driven until the engine siezed and cooked the transmission.
This car was a graduation gift in 2005 to the owner from his grandfather who bought it new in 1975. Given the asking price, fact the car sat for 4 years, and info that "some parts are missing" I was skeptical about the condition.
I met with the owner and grandfather, grandpa grilled me for an hour about my plans for the car before he'd let me see it.
Surprisingly it's in great shape, all accessories work with a fresh battery, the leather interior's factory fresh, carpet looks new, and no scuffs or chips on the exterior paint. 48K original miles.
Missing parts are hood, driveshaft, and battery.
I had to promise not to chop the car up, hotrod/ratrod it, or part it out (not my build plan anyways), when I get it running Grandpa wants a ride, and he wants a professional photographer to take pictures of the car.
After haggling we settled on $900 for the car and $1000 on back owed storage fees.

My goal:
A classic cruiser to take to Sonic on Friday nights that'll get 20+ mpg, be able to commute to work on rainy days, able to take short out of town trips, and still turn heads.

My Plan:
Leave the body factory, interior hide an AM/FM/CD somewhere and install new speakers.
The original drivetrain was 454/400 combo, after teardown (it sat 4 years still assembled with water in the oilpan and cylinders) I concluded it'll never run again and would best serve as a boat anchor.
I bought a Vortec 350 roller motor with Dart aluminium heads, stainless valves, mild cam, roller rockers, and serpentine belt drive with underdrive pulleys. The engine's from a wreck with less than 3K on a rebuild by a trusted friend of mine.
I'll use a Holley ProJection system or something similiiar, new Ceramic coat headers out to the factory rocker panel side exhaust, and an MSD ignition.
Swap the rear 4.10 gears for 3.43's or 3.07's
I'm undecided on the transmission, should I go with a Turbo 350 with an aftermarket overdrive or a 700r4?
Anyone got any recommendations or Suggestions to help with the build?


  1. JMPickins09Sierra's Avatar
    You gotta do a wood bed....i am currently working on one for my 09 sierra adds alot of class and looks real fresh....
  2. Springthing's Avatar
    ...a wood bed on a corvette..?..

    Anyhow - Tim! I truly wish I had some advice or an opinion on this stuff... I don't know transmissions enough to have an opinion one way or another. Both are very popular and I think it comes down to which can you get easiest, and what will make things easier for you. The only thought I had was that you finish the car twice. Get the car up and running, nice and clean, stock and let the previous owner have his ride and pictures.. then get into making it your own. I think it would do the g'father good to see it as he remembers it... as 'his' car. If you change it too much and personalize it he won't have as much of a thrill because at that time it will be 'your' car - make any sense? Just thought I'd suggest that.. but that sounds like an awesome project, and if I could find that kind of deal in this area ($1,900??) I'd have another car in my garage right now. Good luck with it, and I'm so very much looking forward to seeing how the project goes.
  3. tbplus10's Avatar
    Came to the same conclusion as you, for now I'm gonna build it sort of stock with a 350/350 combo. Later I'll add an overdrive. At this point I dont have a choice about this, the company that makes the overdrive I want has temporarily shut down production.
    The engine/trans will be the only change, I'll leave the rest factory. I dont want the 454/400 combo because of the fuel mileage. I was told by some Vette collectors if I keep the factory block and trans available and dont mod the rest of the car it'll boost the value for resale later on.
    I washed and waxed it, steam cleaned the interior, and found a replacement factory hood thats out getting painted.
    I'm busy at work getting ready to spend the next few months on the road so I'm towing it to a friends shop tomorrow and he'll install the drivetrain and get a driveshaft made.
    It should be on the road by mid Feb.
  4. JMoney02's Avatar
    Since you've made the choice about the drivetrain company I would in the future ride with the overdrive, just for the fact that with the 700R4 you can keep the RPM's low whencrusing but still hammer it when needed, especially with the BB idea. Seems to be a rather solid plan, keeping with it stock until you can invest your time after getting home. Depends on the Mods you can still drop the BB and store the SM for return later for your investment and make the Hell out of it until then, the BB will fit, but be tight....This was a nice find for the dollars, something I to would have been interested in finding, these are the ones that somehow you really can pass up.....Good luck and we will keep in touch with this Blog..... Jeff
  5. EKperformance's Avatar
    HOW BOUT A BUILT 4L60E witha stand alone controler !! if not then 700R4
  6. tbplus10's Avatar
    I thought about a 4L60E but rejected it because this car has no computers and I'd like to keep it that way.
    One goal I didnt mention was to make it easy to fix and maintain.
    The HyperDrive overdrive system I want to install is supposed to double the gears but it doesnt use a computer, it's cable linkage and looks a lot like a Line Loc attached to the shifter handle.
    Also it will fit in the trans tunnel without any cutting or mods, the 4L60E would require a little fiberglass work to fit.
  7. missingremote's Avatar
    Install anything with an all aluminum engine. You'll get the 20 mpg you're looking for.
  8. tbplus10's Avatar
    A built aluminium block motor was the first thought I had, but after talking to some knowledgeable early Corvette owners they said these cars have a tendency to heat up during in town commuting. And that'll be the main purpose of this car, so I went with a cast iron 4 bolt main block, it does have aluminium heads, manifold, and some lightened accessories. I bought a dual puller electric fan, power steering cooler, and extra large trans cooler today to handle cooling.
  9. tbplus10's Avatar
    Havnt posted about the Vette for a while.
    Got her back from the shop the first week of March, rebuilt 350/700R4 trans, new 4 row Modine radiator, Dart aluminium heads, Billet aluminium water pump, serpentine belt drive, Hedman headers, Dual electric fans, Edelbrock manifold, Edelbrock 650 Performer series carb, and MSD ignition.
    Shop couldnt get her running at first and rewired a few things under the hood, after I got home I went under the dash and found a few wires a fricken mouse had snacked on, repaired the wires undid the shops wire job and everythings good now.
    First good run out on the road the exhaust got noisy. Hmmm maybe we got a loose collector pipe, no the factory side exhaust rusted through. A quick look on line for some replacement pipes shows us replacements are a lot more than I'm willing to pay ($970). Down to the local muffler shop for a couple small Flowmasters and some pipe, $225 later it's quiet again.
    So far we've put 400 miles on her.
    Unfortunately we've found she isnt the dream car we thought she'd be and were finding ourselves reluctant to drive her.
    We listed her in a national Vette registry for sale and I've had a few hits. Mostly feeling us out, I'm in no hurry to sell I've got less than $7k invested so when someone meets my $11k listed price I'll let it go.
    I had a Vette expert inspect her and with the cleaned and stored original parts (engine, trans, and a few other mechanical parts) he feels the price is good.
    I've got a new project in the planning stage to take her place.