1970 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 - Barn Stormer

Seattle's Dan Pepper, An Alert And Lucky Corvette Enthusiast, Found Himself A Spectacular Barn Find, A '70 ZR-1

Iain Ayre Aug 30, 2009 0 Comment(s)
Corp_0910_03_z 1970_chevrolet_corvette_ZR1 Radiator 2/14

The '70 and '71 ZR1s were fitted with the base-engine type metal fan shroud. The '72 cars were shroud-less. There is one other item often overlooked when reviewing the HD radiator/cooling system on the ZR1: the HD radiator used a modified (widened) radiator core support.

Dan still wanted the ZR1 very badly, and he would get together with Darrell and Brian every so often to talk cars, drink microbrew and reminisce about "the good old days." Every session, Dan gently nudged Darrell towards selling him the car. Finally, Darrell agreed, but on two conditions: first, that it would be restored to NCRS specs, and second, that it would be replaced by another C3 as well as a major roll of Franklins. Darrell now owns Dan's '69 Monaco Orange Coupe, and "Ol Blue" is now garaged alongside Dan's '66 big-block.

Dan got the ZR1 home and instantly started poking around the dash, looking for an interior order copy. The tank sticker was very faded and hard to read. He was hoping that the order copy, often stuffed behind the dash between the tachometer and speedometer, was still there. It was, but somebody else had found it first. It was now part of an ancient mouse's nest. However, the reassembled scraps of paper supported the car's genuine identity and matched the spec: ZR1 370HP Special Purpose Engine Package, M22 HD Transmission, F41 Special Use Suspension, J56 Heavy Duty Brake Package, tilt/tele column, 4.56:1 Positraction and NA9, the one-year-only California-required Evaporative Emissions Control System. The latter, along with the printed dealer number "183," suggests the ZR1 was originally purchased in California, either at Guaranty Chevrolet in San Diego, or F. H. Daley Chevrolet in San Leandro.

Corp_0910_06_z 1970_chevrolet_corvette_ZR1 Radiator_tag 3/14

They appear to be leftover pieces that were modified originally for the '68 and '69 run of L88s. The tag on the radiator confirms the radiator is the correct heavy-duty type and the date.

Dan is a member of NCRS, and intends to restore the car to factory specs, but he's in no hurry as he's enjoying being able to drive the car without being afraid of a little wear and dirt. The odometer reads 39k miles, and that's quite likely correct as the 4.56:1 rear end ratio is a bear to drive on the freeway, with 3800 RPM for 70mph, although the low rear end makes top fun out of short blasts around town. A speedo gear reduction box fitted between the transmission and speedometer cable hook-up was required on all cars with 4.11:1 and shorter gearing, and that's still present and works fine.

The interior is mostly original but rough, with cracked door panels and non-original front carpet. The Mexican-style blue velour seat inserts were fitted in the 1970s before Darrell bought the car, and the Hurst shifter is another '70s addition. The rest of the interior is stock, down to the radio block-off plate.

The car has had one lacquer repaint in its original Bridgehampton Blue and if you look close, you will notice the original LT-1 hood stripes were not reapplied. Dan said "A ghost image of the original hood stripes can be seen under the paint when the light hits it just right. Who knows-maybe leaving them off was an attempt at being stealthy-or to save a few bucks. I have a stencil kit and decals, and have contemplated re-applying them prior to the repaint/restoration just so it has all the LT1 cues. I've left them off for the time being so the car might be recognized by a previous owner or anyone else who might remember it the way it was back in the '70s. Eventually it will be restored to factory standards-complete with stripes and decals." Original paint remains in the doorjambs, along with the blue GM certification label and factory trim tag. The car was judged at the 2007 NCRS Regional Meet, as a way to "benchmark" its condition prior to restoration. The most minute details continue to be thoroughly photo-documented, to be sure nothing is missed upon restoration and reassembly.




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