For owners of classic Corvettes, replacing a beloved, original engine might feel akin to cutting out your heart. Sure, transplants are fine for restomod projects that pound the ground with a modern LS powerplant. But what if your car is a survivor, or a pristine restoration?
Brad Ryan's '67 coupe fits mostly in the former category, a fully loaded older Vette that Ryan prefers to keep pretty much as it was from the factory. So when the car's 390hp, 427ci engine began pushing some oil—partly from sitting still, partly due to Ryan's heavy right foot—"I put it away before I blew it up," he admits.
It wasn't long, though, before Ryan began searching for a company that could remanufacture the historic big-block. He wasn't looking for a simple rebuild/refresh (which he had personally done once before), but rather a return to original specs, or even better.
This desire led him to a special division within Jasper Engines and Transmissions: Authentic Custom Drivetrains. Founded in 1942, Jasper is known for remanufacturing large volumes of drivetrain components—about 57,000 gasoline engines per year, along with 68,000 transmissions and 9,500 differentials. But upstairs from this massive operation is a newer, limited-volume (350 to 400 units per year) area devoted to rescuing treasured, collectible powerplants (plus transmissions and differentials) from the brink of oblivion.
Here, veteran technicians who have an appreciation for the pride and satisfaction that accompanies classic-car ownership painstakingly bring back drivetrains from a near-death state. The process consists of a numbers-matching build, original paint, testing, and, for an upcharge, valuable documentation of the remanufacturing process. That way, should a classic Corvette or other collectible car ever be sold, the owner can prove the lineage and meticulous care that has gone into the project, preserving its historical value.
This optional documentation package lists in exhaustive detail the bill of materials, specifications, dynamometer reports, and detailed in-process information, including photos. In other words, just about anything you would like to know about your engine as it goes through the company's extensive and precise steps. This information is available 24/7 via a web page, and can also be e-mailed during the hand-building procedure.
When Ryan received a hard copy of the information specific to his engine build, he had this to say: "I was totally impressed with the entire process." Adding to the entire experience, he scheduled a visit to the Jasper facility when the initial firing-up took place, and took great pleasure in hitting the starter button on the dyno panel. "I was really thrilled to hear my Corvette's engine roar back to life."
"It's moments like these that make my job an absolute pleasure," noted Darren Ragsdale, Jasper Authentic Custom Drivetrains & Performance Division Manager. "It's an honor to work on our customers' projects."