Watash Speed Shop is also where Kerry got help updating the '73 under the hood. Back in the '90s, when he started on this project, there wasn't the array of crate engines available from multiple sources that there is now, but the shop in Lansdale did have a source for a strong small-block short-block. "The guy in charge of the garage at the speed shop back then, Dave Martin, said, 'We can get this from Jasper however we want it-steel crank, balanced, and blueprinted, the whole nine yards. We'll just put whatever heads and cam you want on it.'" Soon after, a four-bolt-main-based short-block arrived from Jasper, and Kerry set out to find heads and other top-end parts to go on it. He found a pair of heads for it at Carlisle. "I picked up a set of factory aluminum heads from a '92 or '93 Corvette cheap, for $200," he says of his swap-meet score. "I took them to a machine shop down here, had them checked for cracks, had a valve job done, then put Lunati valves and springs in, and a mild solid-lifter cam."
That 355-inch small-block powered Kerry's '73 for several years, when the desire for more speed and power led him to call Summit Racing Equipment. "I told them what I had in the bottom end, and told them what horsepower I was looking for," he says. "They rattled off a list of parts, which were the Trick Flow heads, a hydraulic roller cam, and lifters from Comp Cams." Kerry has also added an Edelbrock Air Gap intake topped by a Holley 750. This past winter he pulled out the small-block, and on went a new oil pan and an engine paint/detail job.
The '73's rolling stock also got an update, while keeping a classic look-and avoiding the "marshmallowy" handling that can result with 70-series radial-ply tires on Rallye wheels. "With the old Rallye wheels on it, those tires had a bit of a sidewall, and they didn't feel like they were stuck to the road," Kerry says. He's now got big American Racing Torq-Thrusts wrapped in high-performance Toyo rubber. "With the wheel-and-tire combination that's on the car right now, it's tight. It feels real good. When you go around corners it won't keep up with a new one, but for having stock suspension, it sticks to the road pretty good." Aside from the cornering and braking, how is Kerry's '73 to drive? "It's not bad at all," he says with a bit of understatement.
With the summer show season upon us, you might be tempted to seek out a project-worthy Corvette in the show field, car corral, or swap meet. Kerry's got some advice if you're planning to start a project: "Build it to drive it. What good is a car if you're not going to drive it?" Thanks to his eye for Sharks, he found a "10-footer" that he and his wife Melissa now enjoy taking to shows and events in the Delaware Valley and beyond. It's a Vette Rod that came together faster and better than the "20 miler" he went to see long ago would have!