1978 Chevy Corvette - Engine Of Desire

Repowering a '78 Indy Pace Car with a Ram Jet 350

Steve Temple Jan 11, 2012 0 Comment(s)
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After patiently enduring a 500-mile break-in period, he was able to realize the performance difference between the original L82/three-speed combo and the Ram Jet 350/four-speed setup. An additional benefit came in the area of fuel mileage, which increased from 14 to 24 mpg on the highway.

Initially Walker left off the cruise control because the throttle linkage on the Ram Jet is on the right side of the engine, but he later had a local hot-rod shop fabricate a mounting bracket for the cruise servo. A simple stainless-steel welding rod was then used to connect the servo to the throttle. He then ran the vacuum hose behind the firewall and through the mounting bracket, and once again had a working cruise control.

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The Ram Jet looks great in the Vette--almost like a factory option--and of course the performance improvement is vast. And while some insist that you should never modify a "classic" Corvette, Walker has a different take.

"By installing the Ram Jet, we were able to get the horsepower I'm sure GM would have liked to have in 1978," he says. Just in case, he wisely stored the original motor and transmission, so he can put the Corvette back to its pre-swap look without any problems.

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Still, having become accustomed to the newfound power and efficiency afforded by the injected engine, he admits, "I don't ever see myself doing that." And besides, when the hood is closed, this 350hp C3 looks very much like a stock '78 Pace Car. All of which means this cop's Corvette now packs a much-higher-caliber concealed weapon. vette


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