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.
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.
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.