The opening paragraph of the seventh edition of the Chevrolet power manual states: "The small-block Chevrolet V-8 is America's most popular and most successful production-based racing engine. Since its debut in 1955, more than 60 million small-blocks have been manufactured, a feat unmatched by any other automotive engine. The amazing small-block Chevrolet V-8 has powered more winning race cars and won more championships than any other motor." We'd have to wholeheartedly agree.
While 1971 is hailed as the benchmark year for Corvette performance (that is until the recent manifestation of the 500-plus horsepower Z06), many fail to realize that the LS6-optioned '71 Stingray was not only rare in numbers (188 in total optioned vehicles), but also had a hefty price tag of $6,717. the majority of the 21,000 Corvettes sold that year featured the potent and reliable 350 small-block. As the '70s rolled on, the big-blocks would slowly vanish from the lineup, leaving only the 350 and its smaller brother, the 305, available to future shark enthusiasts.
Randy Stone of Dallas, Texas, couldn't fork out the down payment for a new Corvette in 1979. Randy was just out of high school, working the oil fields in Texas. Cutting corners and hanging onto his change, Randy was able to scrounge up enough to purchase this '71 T-topped Stingray from the original owner in November of that year. the Vette was put to use as the 18-year-old's daily driver, college cruiser, and as an autocross car under the hot Texan sun.
Over time, the Corvette and its novice driver earned quite a reputation. But after Randy married and his family started growing, he had to do the grown-up thing and store the Corvette in the garage. But, do not be dismayed, the racer-turned-architect kept his love for American muscle alive with dual street rods: a '34 Plymouth five-window coupe and a '35 Chevrolet two-door sedan, as well as composing future plans for the yellow shark. When the opportunity for Randy to cash in his midlife crisis credits came, he did so with a vengeance.
The Corvette was extracted from its holding pen and turned inside out. Randy aimed his sights at his earlier love of competitive racing, and wanting to keep the outside reasonably stock, Randy chose to turn the Vette's internals into a powerhouse. Randy started with a crate motor from the General, a ZZ4 small-block 350 with a 4.00-inch bore. Randy upgraded the engine with a hotter camshaft, while all General Motors Performance Parts filled the insides. Lightweight aluminum heads top the block with a signature intake manifold for the specific ZZ4 engine. A Holley 750 tops the powerplant with a Davis Unified Ignition (D.U.I.) and Live Wires. Large Hooker competition headers flow into Dynomax Turbo mufflers and out 212-inch stainless steel tubing.