1965 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster - The LA Carrera Corvette

From Wrecked And Broken, To LA Carrera Panamericana Race Winner.

Dick Archi Jan 1, 2001 0 Comment(s)

We set about the task in the following manner: After cleaning, sorting, and cataloging all the components, we had the car painted Ermine White with a Nassau Blue stripe from nose to deck, and then pulled the body off the frame and stored it on a dolly. No body modifications were made, with the exception of substituting a '65 big-block hood for both appearance and air cleaner clearance. All the original wiring was removed and a replacement American Auto Wire harness installed. The headlight and taillight assemblies were replaced or rebuilt as required. We removed the heater assembly and set aside the immaculate, original instrument cluster along with the teak/tele column, convertible top assembly, and the original drivetrain.

After purchasing a bare, used four-bolt main 350 block, we contracted Matchmaker Machine in Verona, New York, to build the engine. The Pan Am rules stipulate that cars competing in the Historic Division must have engines that do not exceed the original displacement. A service bore of up to .040 is allowed. A 1969 wide-journal 327 crankshaft was located, balanced, blueprinted, and installed. Lunati rods and Clevite 77 rod bearings were connected to the crank, along with SRP 11:1 pistons and Speed Pro rings. Dart Sportsman heads were ported and polished, then flowed and fitted with Manley valves, Comp Cam roller rocker arms, and stud girdles. Fire to the cylinders was accomplished with an MSD billet distributor, coil, and 6AL ignition box. A Tilton Super Starter spins the engine over. We used an Edelbrock RPM intake manifold and a Holley 750 double-pumper with mechanical secondaries for induction. We installed a Hooker side-mount exhaust system, less the baffles. The bottom end of the engine was enclosed within an eight-quart, flat-bottomed Canton road race oil pan. A balanced Hayes flywheel and Centerforce Dual Friction clutch were installed. We used an overhauled, stock Chevelle Muncie M21. A used differential housing was purchased and fitted with Richmond 3.55:1 gears. The driveshaft and both halfshafts were balanced and installed with Spicer Brute Force universal joints.

The race rules prohibit serious modifications from the original suspension's configuration. With these limits in mind, we rebuilt the suspension using polyurethane bushings, heavier front and rear stabilizer bars, a fiberglass rear spring, and Bilstein shocks all around. Otherwise, the suspension remains stock. The original, non-power assisted four-wheel disk brakes were rebuilt with stainless steel sleeves and pistons, and a new master cylinder and lines were installed. Race rules limit tire and wheel sizes to original, so the original-size 15x6 wheels were used with General XP 2000 V-rated police cruiser tires.

After bolting the body onto the frame, we re-installed the original grille and bumpers, and replaced the stock radiator with an aluminum one from Griffin. A racing steering column was used with a Schroeder quick-release steering wheel. We made a stainless steel instrument cluster bezel and fitted it into the stock dash pod and installed an Auto Meter speedometer, plus oil pressure, oil temperature, water temperature, and voltmeter gauges. A stainless steel insert was put in place of the radio grille, and an 8,000-rpm Auto Meter Memory Tachometer was mounted on top of it with an Auto Meter oil pressure warning light alongside. An Auto Meter fuel pressure gauge is mounted on the driver's side defroster grille. A six-point rollcage designed to accommodate the removable hardtop was fabricated. Kirkey Speedway Deluxe Layback seats and five-point harnesses were installed.


subscribe to the magazine

get digital get print