1966 Chevy Corvette Coupe - Mo' Cubes

A Show-Grade '66 Hosts A 572-Inch Big-Block Party

Christopher R. Phillip May 5, 2010 0 Comment(s)
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Though this Vette's owner could have chosen the look of a traditional V-belt accessory-drive system for the project, he felt a Billet Specialties True-Trac Serpentine System was better qualified for the job, and its polished looks gave the engine the flashy appearance he wanted. The kit included a 105-amp Powermaster alternator, an Edelbrock reverse-rotation water pump, a Sanden SD7 A/C compressor, Billet Specialties' patented A/C manifold, a Mavel power-steering pump, a billet-aluminum tensioner, a Goodyear Gatorback belt, and all the pulleys, covers, and stainless-steel hardware needed for installation.

Vemp_1008_07_o 1966_chevy_corvette_coupe Interior_shot 2/14

Other mods include a Be Cool aluminum radiator, a modified Barry Grant thermostat housing to give the radiator hose a stock-looking routing, twin 12-inch Be Cool fans, and an MSD tall-deck tach-drive distributor and 6AL ignition box.

Though most people would be content with running the 572 with its factory four-barrel, Leroy had a very special request concerning carburetion. "He told me he had a passion for Tri-powers, and he just wouldn't be truly happy without three carbs instead of one," Lovell says.

Hence, AntiVenom installed a Barry Grant (BG) Six-Shooter system, consisting of an aluminum, dual-plane Triple-D Induction intake, three 250-cfm Demon two-barrel carbs, and a progressive linkage, which allows it to cruise comfortably on the center two-barrel, then become a fire-breathing behemoth when the secondary carbs are engaged. According to the company, "Compared to a BG Speed Demon 850, the Six-Shooter was good for about 39 hp and 22 lb-ft of torque more on a GM Performance Parts 502 engine, according to our tests."

Delivering the 572's massive power through the rest of the drivetrain was the next stage of this Vette's epic evolution. Concerned that the car's original two-speed Powerglide transmission would shatter under the merciless torque loads presented to it, Gonzalez suggested a Tremec TKO-600 five-speed manual-trans changeover.

"Keisler really makes a well-thought-out conversion kit," Lovell says. "It includes the transmission, bellhousing, billet-steel flywheel, clutch package, crossmember adapter bracket, driveshaft, factory shifter location, shift handle, and boot. It even includes reproduction C2 brake/clutch pedals and pads for a factory look."

The rearend remains stock with 3.55 factory gears, but the suspension received performance upgrades as needed. AntiVenom retired the stock front coils and rear transverse spring and replaced them with Vette Brakes & Products front and rear transverse leaf springs and rear offset control arms. Other than that, the ride and handling remain stock, with factory-style shocks at all four corners and a factory 7/8-inch sway bar in the front.

Braking, as expected, has been modernized to rein in the 572's potent personality; relying upon the factory's original four-wheel disc system would have been a losing proposition at each push of the pedal. Accordingly, Lovell modified the Vette's factory front and rear spindles to accommodate a set of bolt-on C6 Z06 brakes.

Exterior and interior upgrades are minimal, yet tasteful: a '66 big-block hood, new side-exhaust covers (housing Stainless Works 3-inch mufflers), and ZR1-style 20-spoke wheels (measuring 18x8.5 inches) wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport rubber. The interior, meanwhile, remains factory stock down to its radio delete. (Sharp-eyed observers may notice the Keisler five-speed shift plate, which takes the place of the factory piece on the shifter console.)

Upon completion, Lovell had the honor of being the first person to drive the vicious, Viper-vivisecting Vette. "I tested it on a rainy day, so I had to gingerly apply throttle pressure and be very light on gear shifts. I've taken it out on dry days and blown the tires off in Third gear. At wide-open throttle, from 2,500 rpm up to a 6,000-rpm redline, the rear of the Corvette is enveloped in a huge cloud of rubber smoke until you let off of the gas-not that I ever do," he says.

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