1979 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe - Grunt Of The Litter

A Hollywood Bomb Ignites A Thermonuclear C3

Christopher R. Phillip Aug 1, 2009 0 Comment(s)
Vemp_0908_07_z 1979_chevrolet_corvette_coupe Right_side 2/13

Mealing topped the assembly with a Weiand blower intake and a Holley 930-cfm "double pumper" carb, then finished things off in grand fashion with a polished Weiand 177 supercharger. Other notable powertrain upgrades include a Comp Cams camshaft to direct the valvetrain action, a full complement of MSD ignition components, a Milodon 7-quart pan to keep things lubricated, and polished Hooker headers and side pipes to give the exhaust a plausible escape route.

The power is transmitted to the pavement via a high-stall (2,800 rpm) torque converter, a shift-kitted Pro Comp Turbo-350 automatic, a balanced driveshaft, and a Dana 44 rear stuffed with Richmond 3.70 gears. The result, according to the owner, is a dyno-verified 525 rwhp, or about three times the power the Corvette left the factory with 30 years earlier.

Vemp_0908_08_z 1979_chevrolet_corvette_coupe Rear_left 3/13

With the powertrain buttoned up, McDonald upgraded the car's suspension to handle the exponential power increase. He added Edelbrock IAS shocks at all four corners, along with a fiberglass leaf spring and an aftermarket sway bar in the rear. Classic good looks and a comfortable ride come courtesy of Yokohama 255/60R15 tires wrapped in American Racing Torq-Thrust II wheels.

Although it wasn't used in the aforementioned dyno test, McDonald also added an Edelbrock NOS kit complete with a heater blanket and a polished bottle. If utilized, it would infuse the already brawny Vette with an additional 100 to 250 horses of instant muscle power.

Vemp_0908_09_z 1979_chevrolet_corvette_coupe Blower 4/13

Other accoutrements include a polished March pulley system; an aluminum radiator; braided brake and cooler lines; a chrome power-brake booster, master cylinder, and alternator; and Chevy Bow Tie tall valve covers. Future mods will involve the addition of a Garlits 6-71 SC500 Streetcatcher supercharger and a new custom hood.

"My idea was to have a Vette on steroids, but still a streetable machine," McDonald says. We think he proved his point with one of his recent timeslips, a 10.4-second sizzler down the 1,320.

Considering that the '79 sauntered down the quarter-mile in 15.3 seconds when new, it's clear that McDonald's ministrations have had the desired effect. Now all he needs to do is to install a DVD player to watch Corvette Summer-while he's turning heads and racking up impressive timeslips in his unique C3, of course.




subscribe to the magazine

get digital get print