Once you get the intoxicating sound of a pumped-up small-block bellowing through the side pipes. After purchasing the car, the first thing Dennis did was pull the engine and transmission. He replaced the 350 with a Speed-O-Motive Sportsman 383 stroker worth 538 hp and 495 lb-ft of torque. The motor features 11:1 J&E pistons, a Comp Cams 0.552-inch/0.552-inch camshaft, and Dart Iron Eagle heads with 2.06/1.60 valves. The assembly is topped off with an Edelbrock Victor Jr. Air Gap intake manifold and a 750-cfm Edelbrock carburetor. Hooker headers exhale into a 4-inch side-exhaust system. The transmission was replaced with a B&M Turbo 400 featuring a Stage II kit and a 2,400-rpm Hole Shot converter.
While the engine was out, Dennis cleaned and repainted the engine compartment and "jeweled out" the framerails with new paint. Up front, he added a QA1 coilover kit with adjustable shocks from Vansteel, yielding a 2-inch-lower stance. The rear, meanwhile, was raised 3 inches using HD adjustable strut rods, nine leaf springs, and Monroe Sensatrack shocks. Dennis drilled all four disc brakes to help vent hot gases, and a Crane vacuum canister was added to provide additional vacuum to the power-brake booster. The Halibrand-style Edelbrock wheels measure 15x7 inches up front (with BFG 225/60-15s) and 15x8 inches in the rear (with 295/50-15s).
Dennis and Cheryl also made some subtle body modifications. First, the body was stripped of old paint, and a new gelcoat was applied. An L88 hood was installed, along with bubble taillights with center blue dots, flush rear exhaust ports, a polished stainless lower-windshield surround, and chrome rear-window vents. The paint is a Sikkens black basecoat with House of Kolors "Kameleon" ghost flames designed by Dennis and Cheryl. True to their name, the ghost flames either disappear or shift colors under different light conditions. Glenn Tumbleson, owner of the House of Kustoms, in Springfield, Oregon, sprayed the colors on the car.
Springfield's Ray Gonzales did the interior seats and door panels in black leather, while Corvette Central's reproduction carpets grace the floor. Dennis installed a Kenwood sound system and an Auto Meter tach and shift light, and modified the console to accommodate more toggle switches.
Other neat touches abound: Notice the polished stainless cover in the intake-manifold area, which really adds a clean look to the normally plain-looking area under the carburetor. At the rear, Dennis used the larger 3-inch-diameter halfshafts from a '75 Vette in place of the car's original 2 1/2-inchers. You'll also notice he chromed and polished as many items as he could on the rear end, even going so far as to fabricate a stainless box with the word "VETTE" that lights up in red.
Stepping out of the shadow cast by a famous antecedent can be tough. Fortunately, the Huntleys' scintillating '71 has the mechanical and aesthetic goods to make a little hot-rod magic of its own.