1967 Corvette - Dropping The Big One

Kinsler-injected, 500-cube LS engine makes 701 horses and 677 lb-ft.

Barry Kluczyk Mar 8, 2012 0 Comment(s)
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Among the less-obvious details are super-bright Hella H4 lights and PIAA driving lights installed in the housings for the original turn signals. LED turn-signal lamps were carefully woven into the front grille, and the rear back-up lamp housing was converted to an LED-lit center brake light.

The other thing worth noting about the exterior is the black finish seen on the fuel-cell lid, windshield frame, taillight housings, and more. It's not paint, and it's not powdercoating. It's Teflon. Seriously. Every piece of brightwork and trim--except the painted bumpers--as well as the door latches and strikers and other hardware, is coated in Teflon. It wasn't an inexpensive upgrade, but it's more durable than powdercoating and impervious to fading.

The Corvette's cabin is just as dramatically redesigned as the exterior, with most of the work handled by interior artisan Paul Atkins. The Atomic Orange color carries over and is offset by orange-and-black-trimmed leather seats--scratch-built by Atkins--and Alcantara suede-like material used on the seats, dashboard, door panels, and more. It looks, feels and exudes an atmosphere of luxury unlike anything we've encountered lately in a modified early Corvette.

As with the exterior, details abound inside. Ambient lighting is provided by LED-lit light pipes that are part of the door trim, while C6 handles and speaker grilles also fill out the door panels. Orange-faced gauges reinforce the color scheme of the car, while one of our favorite details in the entire car was borrowed from a late-model Mini. It's the military-style, dashboard-mounted switch panel, complete with protective rings separating each switch. The setup looks like it could have been taken from any bomb-toting B-52 from the early days of the Cold War.

The interior is also home to power door windows and vent windows, as well as the components to a carefully hidden audio system, including a remote, modern head unit that doesn't otherwise distract from the classic lines of the cabin. And yes, more Teflon coats the interior trim. It's also worth noting that shop owner Tom Coleman's experience with racing produced a level of wiring detail we're not used to seeing in a street car. It includes aviation-grade shock- and waterproof sockets and connectors, along with marine-grade wiring throughout. Every connection is silver-soldered, too. As Coleman puts it, the car is “wired for life.”

Now, let's zero in on that explosively potent powertrain. The engine is based on one of Katech's 500ci billet-aluminum, LS-type cylinder blocks. In place of traditional iron cylinder liners, the aluminum bores are coated with super-tough nickel-silicon carbide, which is just a scratch below a diamond when it comes to hardness. Of course, there's a totally forged rotating assembly churning away in the block, its momentum kept alive by the combustion generated within a set of LS7 cylinder heads and the exotic Kinsler fuel-injection system.

The electronically controlled port injection system from the longtime FI manufacturer is no stranger to racing circles, but at about $7,000 for a basic setup, it's rarely seen on the street in place of a fine-breathing factory intake. But aesthetics and presence are what this car is all about, and a dull, black-plastic factory manifold simply wouldn't have fit the project's megaton objective. The manifold itself is painted to match the body, while the air-ram tubes look delicious in carbon fiber. Carbon valve covers complement the package nicely, with the coil packs tucked away under the fenders. There's also a dry-sump oiling system.

With 11:1 compression and running on pump gas, the engine dyno'd to the tune of 701 hp and 677 lb-ft of torque. That's some serious blast power for a naturally aspirated engine, one that's operated with the assistance of a GM MEFI-4 controller (which required a 24-tooth crankshaft reluctor wheel). TWC built custom stainless headers, which lead to a racing-style 3-inch exhaust system that exits under the center of the rear fascia, as on a C6.

The cooling system consists of a custom, polished radiator from Dewitt's and a chrome-plated, dual-fan setup from Spal. Backing the engine is an RPM Transmissions–built Tremec T56 six-speed manual, which channels all 677 lb-ft to a tough Dana 44 rear axle that's been converted to a 3.73 gear ratio. Believe us, there are many more details to this car, and we've simply run out of room to print them.

A hundred years ago, few would have believed the power that was capable of being unleashed from carefully split atoms, and 45 years ago, the thought of a 700hp street Corvette would have been just as unthinkable. Heck, even only 10 years ago, the performance capability of Joe Henderson's '67 Corvette would have been a significant rarity, but technology knows no bounds.

The Winning Collection did a stunning job in transforming this classic into a modern hot rod that retains the essence of the Corvette. It's a one-of-a-kind creation that will blow you away, much like you see in those atomic-test films from the 1950s. You may want to put on your shades to check out this restomod masterpiece, but there's no way you'll avert your gaze.

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