Corvettes in Drag Racing, Part 3

Death of the Modifieds

Jim Hill Jul 25, 2007 0 Comment(s)
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In our next installment:
The C3 Corvettes certainly looked fast, but along with their sexy good looks came a reputation that pegged any shark-bodied Funny as an ill-handling deathtrap. This unsavory rep grew considerably in the late '70s when nitro-powered Funny Cars began regularly visiting the other side of 230 mph. It took a racer with a bit of aero curiosity (and the quickness of a "Mongoose") to firmly plant the flighty shark Funnies. But, by the time the instability issues had been settled, the use of Corvette bodies on Funny Car chassis' had moved into the twilight. Nitro-engine technology had leapt exclusively into Hemi territory, and body makers were switching over to replicas of the higher-volume models favored by sponsors.

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By the mid-'70s nearly all Nitro Funny Car teams had made the switch to aftermarket 426 Hemi clones from Keith Black, Milodon, or Donovan. The Mark IV 427/454 was a sturdy powerplant, but with nitro percentages and blower boost pressures growing ever greater, the iron-block Chevys just weren't up to the task. The lighter, stronger, aluminum Hemis offered the proven hemispherical combustion chamber design and huge valves that were notably more efficient when nitromethane fuel and blowers were used. A few "low-buck" racers continued to stick with the Chevys, but they soon fell by the wayside or converted over to the fuel-friendly Hemis.

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