Big-Block Power Tune

Getting The Most Power From Your Classic Big-Block

Steve Dulcich Nov 1, 2006 0 Comment(s)
Corp_0611_01_z 1966_chevy_corvette_l72_big_block_tune Hood_view 1/22

Those Corvette enthusiasts lucky enough to own a classic big-block can maximize the enjoyment of these machines with a perfect tune. Some dyno work on this big-block-equipped '66 had it at its best.

Some enthusiasts are adamant about performing every aspect of wrenching on their own, from a ground-up restoration to the more mundane maintenance chores that surround the experience of owning a classic vehicle. While we admire such resolve, and can be considered to have such tendencies ourselves, sometime a little help can go a long way. When it is all said and done, and your prized possession is finally road-ready, it is the small details that can make all the difference in what enjoyment the driving experience will bring. A good example is a diagnostic chassis dyno test and tune session. Here, the process will identify problems with the fine-settings of the engine in ways that scarcely any of us can achieve on our own. The sophisticated dyno instrumentation will monitor and record vital engine functions, and point the direction for finessing the combination for optimal power and drivability.

Corp_0611_02_z 1966_chevy_corvette_l72_big_block_tune Engine_view 2/22

This vehicle was factory equipped with a Corvette icon: an L72 solid-lifter, four-barrel 427, rated at 425 gross flywheel horsepower. The engine was rebuilt and features all stock major components.

Such was the case with Rick Stoner's fine '66 L72. This Corvette was restored true to the original form, and no detail was spared in the complete rebuilding of this classic machine. The aim of the effort was to make it as road-worthy as a factory fresh big-block Vette rolling out of a dealership lot all of those years ago. In addition to being an avid Corvette fan and collector, Stoner is the proprietor of Westech Performance Group, one of Southern California's top dyno facilities. Naturally, a buildup would be punctuated by a complete dyno session, with an eye towards drivability, economy, throttle response, as well as the more empirical measures of outright max power output. Rick's L72 big-block had the advantage of a full dyno test session prior to the engine's installation in the car, however, massaging the final installed package on the chassis dyno definitely proved worthwhile. We followed along with the experts to see what was involved in the test and tune session to allow this big-block to flex its muscle.

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