An owner-requested engine rebuild allowed Lilly to reuse the engine's crank and connecting rods, along with new TRW 0.010-over cast pistons. Other engine specifics include Chevy No. 330545 cylinder heads featuring 76cc combustion chambers, 1.5-ratio stamped-steel rockers, 2.02/1.60-inch steel valves, a compression ratio of 9.0:1, and a factory-spec replacement cam. For spark, A PerTronix HEI distributor was chosen to supplant the Vette's original dual-point distributor, while the original (though rebuilt) Rochester Q-jet and factory cast-iron intake were charged with dictating the distribution of fuel to the cylinders. Up top, a K&N unit took on filtration duty within the Corvette's original air-cleaner assembly.
The remainder of the powertrain retains mostly original components as well. An OE-style clutch, an M21 close-ratio four-speed, a factory driveshaft, and a 3.36-geared rearend complete the configuration. Although "Red" originally shipped with 15x8-inch Rallyes wrapped in GR70x15 radials, the car now shows off 17x8-inch Vintage Cobra wheels matched to Goodyear Eagle 245/55VR17 rubber. Front and rear braking is directed by SSBC Force Ten calipers clamping 11.75-inch GM rotors.
The Dark Red interior is stock appearing, using a plethora of NOS pieces along with OE-reproduction leather seat covers, carpeting, and door panels from Al Knoch.
According to Lilly, the goal of the restoration was to bring both longevity and additional beauty to the '73. "I built it to withstand the test of time," he says. "We had to put a lot of time into the fit to make sure all of the gaps were exactly 3/16 inch. An average person overlooks factory imperfections, but this car had to be as close to perfect as humanly possible. Fit and finish are what you look for when you critique a show car, and that's what we accomplished with this Corvette."
Spending several thousand hours of work on a high-production '73 Corvette may seem extreme to some, but as Lilly explains, the car owner's motivation went beyond practical concerns: "I think many people are concerned about cost, but when there's sentimental attachment to a car, quality becomes the first priority," he says. "This Corvette is the owner's baby-it's a family member to him, and because of that, he wanted the ultimate restoration for it."
For more details on the '73's build, as well as photos from before, during, and after its restoration, visit www.jefflilly.net.