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Corvette Book Guide - The Top Shelf: Volume Three

Even More Of The Latest And Greatest Corvette Books

Scott Ross Jul 13, 2009
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From descriptive how-to books that spell out how components work and/or can be restored or modified, to lavishly illustrated histories, we've got another selection of Corvette-themed and Corvette-related books for you. We'll start with the historical tomes first.

Build That Coffee Table! We've Got Vette Books for It
We get a lot of books that are best-described as "coffee-table" books--whose size, lavish visuals and historical information demand that they only be placed on the best coffee tables (yours). Here are some for yours--especially if you're building the ultimate Corvette-related coffee table.

This book that should be the first one on it: Jerry Burton's Corvette: America's Sports Car Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow. It's big--in fact, it weighs almost as much as an aluminum smallblock cylinder head--and it contains one of the bigger treasure-troves of Vette photographs, illustrations, factory art work, etc., this side of The General's archives.

You can thank Jerry Burton for the must-read stories in each chapter. The founding editor of Corvette Quarterly, who also wrote the definitive biography of Corvette engineer Zora Arkus Duntov, tells the complete story of the Corvette, from the EX-122 "Opel" prototype to the "Blue Devil" ZR1.

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Corvette: America's Sports Car Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow
Universe Publishing (A division of Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.)
$75.00 +Shipping

When we said treasure-trove of images, we mean it--over 400 in all, including factory photos (including shots of styling clays and prototypes), on-track action photos, plus page after page of museum-quality Vette illustrations and photographs.

Get it, and you'll know why Karl Ludvigsen (author of the classic Corvette: America's Star-Spangled Sports Car) says, "Only owning a Corvette will offer more pleasure than owning this book."

Sometimes the most eloquent ideas have the shortest it is with Robert Genat's new book Fuelies. It's a lavishly-illustrated history not only of the 1957-65 Corvettes that were equipped with the Rochester mechanical fuel injection system, but it includes info and pictures of steel-bodied Chevys and Pontiacs that also offered that fuel system as an option.

One story regarding the fuelie's option status in its last year is debunked in these pages. Robert says that instead of being discontinued when the 396 joined the Corvette option list in March of that year, the RPO L84 fuel-injected 327 was available throughout the entire 1965 model run. Another story relates to how a "test-fitting" killed the proposed four-seat Sting it and see for yourself.

There's also a chapter dedicated to the workings of the Rochester system that includes factory schematic drawings, plus close-ups of system sub-assemblies and individual-part photos of the components that made up the Rochester system--and which ones were updated from year-to-year.

History (From One of Our Historians)
You've no doubt read Tom Falconer's monthly "Righthand Drive" columns in Corvette Fever for years--his adventures with America's Only True Sports Car in the U.K. and in Europe. And, more than a few of you have read his previous book, Collector's Originality Guide: Corvette 1953-1962, not only for its exquisite photography but also for the information you need to authenticate your C1, written in his most-informative style.

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Cartech Books
$29.95 + Shipping

Now, Tom--with help from photographer James Mann and the folks at Motorbooks--have published Collector's Originality Guide: Corvette Sting Ray 1963-1967. There's a chapter for each year of the second-generation Vette, explaining and showing off the year-to-year changes as well as available powertrains, options, factory documentation (including numbers marked on various components during its manufacture) and plenty of other information you'll need to make the task of authenticating your midyear--or one you're interested in buying--that much easier.

The book's final chapter covers restorations--explaining why they're done, covering what areas of the C2 tend to need the most attention, what's involved with restoring each component and sub-assembly. Instead of the usual assembly-manual writing, you get passages like, "When the body is finished, ten friends and neighbors is the ideal number to help with the body drop, and then celebrate with a barbecue. Completely 'un-car' people can become quite enthusiastic after this enabling experience, and even confirmed A to B people start to tell the office about how they helped to build a car."

Carbureted or Injected? These Vette Books Have You Covered
Now for some Vette Books for you hands-on Corvette owners/devotees. This first bunch deals with those devices that many swear by while others swear at: Carburetors and fuel-injection systems.

Our very own Dave Emanuel weighs in with How To Rebuild and Modify Carter/Edelbrock Carburetors: Performance, Street and Off-Road Applications. Each chapter covers a specific area such as carburetor types, carburetor selection (for your specific application--how to go about it the best); carburetor function, modifications and tuning; rebuilding tips; plus appendices showing "exploded" views of the Carter ThermoQuad, AVS, AFB and WCFB.

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Collector's Originality Guide: Corvette Sting Ray 1963-1967
$24.95 + Shipping

It's of particular interest to restorers--whose pre-'66 Corvettes came with Carters as standard equipment--as well as to Vette Rodders. For the latter group, it includes info and images covering also the Edelbrock carburetors that came about as the result of Edelbrock's acquisition of what was left of the Carter Carburetor Company during the '80s.

If your Vette came with one of these atop its engine, or you think it'll be an improvement over what's on there now, you need this book in your reference library (i.e. the one out in your garage above your workbench, where you've got your old GM and Fisher Body manuals stashed).

If you can remember when GM's Rochester Carburetor Division came up with the Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, you likely remember the jokes you made about The General's "imitation Holley," or you put it down for its supposed lack of performance and ability to modify into a serious piece of high-performance hardware.

CarTech Books has these covered in Cliff Ruggles' How To Rebuild and Modify Rochester Quadrajet Carburetors. Not only will you get the basics of Q-jet design, assembly and operation in this book, you'll also get detailed tech info on rebuilding them, as well as how you can turn a much-maligned, mass-produced item into a carburetor that can flow the volumes of air and fuel you'll need to make big power out of that V-8 below it. It doesn't contain jokes and put-downs you can tell about people who used to joke about and put-down Quadrajets. But, after digesting what's in this book, you'll come up with plenty of those yourself.

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How To Rebuild And Modify Carter/Edelbrock Carburetors: Performance, Street And Off-Road Applications
CarTech Books
$24.95 + Shipping

Meanwhile, Tom Benford's book includes over 30 repairs and upgrades ranging from bodywork and interiors to brakes, suspension, cooling system and powertrain, plus some basic-maintenance projects like oil changes done the right way. Each project is also rated as to how long it'll take you, what tools you'll need, what skill level it is (from absolute beginner to advanced fabricator), and which year Vette it's applicable to.

If your Corvette came with a Holley under the hood as an OEM item (as they did from '64-'72, depending on the engine the car was built with), you'll want to get Des Hammill's How to Build and Power Tune Holley Carburetors. Now out in an updated and revised edition, it's filled not only with detailed text, illustrations and photographs showing the various Holley carburetors' workings and how to rebuild and tune them, there's also a goldmine of information regarding how to identify (by look and by part number) the individual components that go into correctly-restored and properly-tuned Holleys.

As with the preceding carburetor books, it's of interest not only to restorers--so their prized rides have a correct AND properly-functioning Holley--but also to Vette Rodders looking for the secret to building a period-correct piece of speed equipment to go on top of their crate/stroker/otherwise non-stock engine.

Does that late C3 or early C4 you just bought have a malfunctioning fuel-injection system that you've dubbed "Cross-Fire Rejection?" Or are you looking to get the optimum amount of power out of the EFI system that's on your daily driver? Charles O. Probst covers those areas, and lots more, in How to Understand, Service and Modify Corvette Fuel Injection & Electronic Engine Management: LB3, L98, LT1, LT4, LS1, LS6, ZR-1.

Three "How To's" That Say, "Why Not?"
With gift-giving time fast approaching again (including birthdays and anniversaries), here are three books from Car Tech Books that'll make great gifts to hands-on Vette lovers--even the one that looks back in the mirror at you!

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How To Rebuild And Modify Rochester Quadrajet Carburetors
CarTech Books
$24.95 + Shipping

Packed with nearly 400 pages of information that includes over 100 pages worth of model-specific wiring diagrams, trouble codes and test specifications, it's the definitive work on the workings of these fuel-delivery systems. There's a survey of the different types of fuel injection systems used, such as throttle-body injection (TBI), multiport fuel injection (MFI) and sequential fuel injection (SFI).

You'll also find chapters on engine control fundamentals, emissions and fuels, sensors, actuators, the electronic control module (ECM), and fuel delivery as well as ones on tuning, troubleshooting and servicing. Probst also wrote detailed books on Bosch and Blue Oval EFI systems, so you know you're getting top-grade information from someone who knows his subject matter very well.

Two Project Books from Motorbooks
You've got to love Motorbooks. Not just for their seemingly-never-ending selection of historical and coffee-table books, but for the titles they have for hands-on enthusiasts. That includes these two Corvette-related titles: George McNicholl's How to Rebuild Corvette Rolling Chassis 1963-1982, and our own Tom Benford's Corvette Performance Projects 1968-1982.

If you plan on driving your dream C2 or C3 Vette, McNicholl's book is one you'll want on hand ASAP, if not sooner. That's because of its step-by-step documentation of the rebuilding of four of his own Vettes ('65 and '67 convertibles plus '69 and '72 coupes). His focus is on rebuilding them for daily-driver use, and there's plenty of clear and concise information about each chassis system and sub-assembly: engines, transmissions, steering, front and rear suspension, frames, wheels, tires and brakes, plus the fuel, cooling and exhaust systems.

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How To Build And Power Tune Holley Carburetors
Veloce Books
$39.95 + Shipping

Ralph Kalal's Car Care for Car Guys is, as its subtitle says, filled with "Tips & Techniques Beyond Auto Maintenance 101." It's packed with plenty of photos and illustrations in each how-to chapter--ranging from tools and supplies you'll need, how to lift your car safely, to chapters on engine lubrication, the air intake system, the charging, cooling and ignition systems, drive belts, electronic engine management and diagnosing OBD-II trouble codes, and chapters on automatic transmissions, brakes and tires.

Much of this information, while not Corvette-specific, is applicable to C5s and C6s, as well as the daily-drivers you use during the week while your Vette(s) are parked.

There's a bright yellow C6 on the cover of Harold Bettes and Bill Hancock's Dyno Testing and Tuning, but that's not the only reason it's for Corvette lovers. It's loaded with information that helps make the best use of both engine and chassis dynamometers in building and tuning for optimum power. Chapters include dynamometer history and basics, goals and objectives, tuning, testing tips on how to use a dyno, correction factors, troubleshooting, what to look for in a dyno facility, and how to read a dyno sheet. Give it, and you'll make someone that much more knowledgeable a car guy/gal, one who's not just a mere spectator on their car club's dyno days.

Impressing spectators and show participants alike has been something that custom paint jobs have done since the first one was applied way back when. Pat Ganahl's Custom Painting gets into how to choose the right paint for the job, picking the right tools and supplies needed, body preparation, block sanding and color sanding--and that's before it gets into chapters on how to apply candy colors, pearls and metalflake, how to do flames, scallops and other taped layouts, how to do fades, fogs and blended colors, pinstriping, "suede" paint--plus the proper care and feeding of that paint job so it doesn't fade and look like a faded-out relic.



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