1976 Chevrolet Corvette - Blue Thunder

Allen Rauch's '76 Went From "20-Footer" To Canyon Carver

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While the paint prep was going on, Rauch found out that the new color he wanted to use was not available. So, he had Steckel's paint it in the Nassau Blue Metallic that was a Corvette color selection in 2000, in basecoat/clearcoat form. Inside, a set of Al Knoch leather seat covers went on a pair of '79 Corvette buckets, and a Flaming River tilt steering column also went in.

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In all, it took two winters to transform Rauch's '76 from 20-footer to the beauty you see here.

But he wasn't quite done. "I just changed the rear gears from 3.07s to 3.73s," Rauch says. "That woke [the car] up, like adding a hundred horsepower to it!" Rauch says he's also considered adding one of FAST's "EZ FAST" fuel-injection systems in place of the carburetor and intake that are on now.

Thanks to the C4-suspension swap, Rauch says his '76 now corners like it's on rails. "As we say, 'We took the John Deere out of that C3!'" He adds that when he goes to car shows, guys following him tell him later, "You just don't know what your car looks like until you've followed it up the road. It doesn't lean-all it does is run down the road."

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Compared to earlier-generation Corvettes, there's no shortage of project-ready late-C3 Vettes, as at least 40,000 Corvettes a year were built during the '76-'81 model years. If you've found a "20-footer" of that vintage that you'd like to upgrade to C4 chassis hardware, Rauch has this advice: "You don't have to buy a new frame if you don't need one. You can do the job with a little bit of knowledge, the way we did it."

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