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Turning a 1965 Chevrolet Corvette into a Top Stock Eliminator

From the Archives: Texas twister

Drew Hardin Dec 20, 2016
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Bill Hielscher’s Vette must have come straight off the showroom floor and into his race shop. That’s the only way we can figure the Irving, Texas, drag racer managed to turn a 1965 Corvette into an Eliminator winner at the AHRA’s Sept. 1964 national meet. And according to Hot Rod magazine’s Jim McFarland, that was just the first of four Eliminator titles the car had won by the time it was featured in the Oct. 1966 issue.

Hielscher’s Vette “spells 336 inches of trouble for Top Stock Eliminators wherever he goes,” wrote McFarland. Along with earning the class wins, he was the record holder in the AHRA’s F-1 E/Stock class with an 11.68 pass at 118.88 mph.

1965 Chevrolet Corvette Drag Racer Engine 2/4

Not too shabby for a small-block still fitted with its stock heads, valvetrain, ignition, and four-barrel Carter AFB. Those valves were actuated by an Isky flat-tappet 550-series cam, there were Venolia pistons in the bores, and power moved to the transmission via a 10.5-inch Schiefer clutch. “Bill’s choice of rear gears ranges between 5.13 and 5.38, depending on variations in strip conditions,” McFarland wrote.

One of the secrets to Bill’s success was winding the heck out of the engine. “Thrown-belt problems have been eliminated by the installation of a Chevy truck pulley (normally used for truck generators or alternators) and an air-conditioning belt turned upside down in the pulley grooves. The engine has been spun to 8,700 rpm and has yet to throw a belt,” McFarland said.

1965 Chevrolet Corvette Rear Suspension Detail 3/4

Bill also spent some time sciencing out the Vette’s suspension. The rear of the car was raised “some 2-1/4 inches by the installation of three 3/4-inch aluminum blocks placed between the differential case and the springs,” McFarland noted. “Front-end raising was accomplished (about 1 inch) by stretching the stock springs and re-heating the bottom couple of coils. Although this lowered the front to a mere inch over stock height, the operation increased spring resistance by almost 200 pounds. Nothin’ tricky, just the combination of little things that normally go together in making a successful race car.”

McFarland’s parting shot was this advice: “Be a spectator when Bill’s around. Running him can be disappointing.”

1965 Chevrolet Corvette Overhead Rear Three Quarter 4/4

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