1972 Chevrolet Corvette - On a Mission

One man’s quest to build the ultimate Stingray

Chris Endres Mar 14, 2011 0 Comment(s)
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Next on the agenda were the paint and body. Larson asked Bruce Tschida at Lake Marion Collision in Lakeville, Minnesota, to help him realize his vision for a subdued C3. Though the car's panels were in fine condition, the replacement of two key pieces and the modification of a third were paramount in tying together Larson's mental picture. A new L88 hood was fitted, while a side-pipe-style rear valance took up residence beneath the rear bumpers. Next, the rear deck was relieved of its radio antenna and luggage rack.

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The car was again re-sprayed, this time with two-stage Sikkens Nantucket Blue. This was topped with a pearl white Baldwin-Motion–style stripe, which flops in direct sunlight and takes on a striking purple hue. Careful color-sanding and buffing ensured a surface with incredible depth and devoid of any orange peel. With the paint and bodywork complete, Max added a stunning set of custom Intro Pentia wheels—18x8.5 front and 18x10 rear—with a matching set of Nitto NT555 Z-rated tires—245/40 front and 285/35 rear—to complete the look. "I didn't want to see myself going down the road in the opposite direction every time I took the car out." Very little danger of that, we'd say.

As with most project cars, Larson's Corvette remains a work-in-progress, particularly when it comes to the powertrain. Internally, the engine is as it was when the car was purchased. During its prior restoration, it had undergone a fairly standard rebuild with a solid combination of quality components, most notably an Edelbrock Performer intake manifold and cam. "It had a nice lopey idle, but it needed more power to back up the sound," says Larson.

In a first attempt to rectify this, he added a pair of Hooker Super Competition headers with Jet-Hot Sterling coating. These feed a pair of polished, 4-inch, stainless-steel Super Competition side pipes with Spiral Turbo Specialties baffles. An MSD E-Curve electronic distributor, along with an MSD coil and wires, were also added. The combination was then dyno-tuned and produced 280 hp and 385 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels. While clearly no match for a modern Corvette (yet), Larson's C3 does run strong for its conservative level of modification.

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What does the future hold for this car? "More power, for sure," says Larson. He's currently researching big-block aluminum crate engines, but as appealing as these are, there are other possibilities lurking. A more satisfying backroad experience could be achieved with a better-balanced chassis by way of an LS engine swap with a six-speed transmission, so that combination is under consideration as well.

For now, though, Larson's C3 has the jaw-dropping looks and ear-bending sound that draw stares and thumbs-up every time he drives it. "It's definitely a lot of fun to drive, and I get a lot of satisfaction from having done the mods myself," he said. Not bad for a newbie.

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