Perserving Your Classic Corvette Engine

How to preserve the most important component in your Corvette.

Jeff Bernhardt Oct 7, 2008 0 Comment(s)
Corp_0808_09_z Zz383_crate_motor Engine_compartment 2/32

This is the ZZ383 making its home in the engine compartment of the '67. It's a direct bolt-in, but know how you want to build it from here before you commit to the project. The Vortec heads are taller, as are the intake runners (.64-inch) and require a Vortec-friendly intake manifold. GM offers two carbureted Vortec manifolds: a tall one that won't fit under the stock small-block hood, and a shorter one that will. This car has the small-block hood, so we better go with the short one.

Corp_0808_10_z Zz383_crate_motor Street_ram 3/32

Naa. How about the Accel Street Ram tuned port injection made for the Vortec heads, with Accel's own runners, throttle body, and redesigned air plenum. The unit comes from Don Sutherland at Fuel Injection Specialties in San Antonio, Texas, (, who specializes in fuel-injection electronics, computers, harnesses, and all that makes fuel-injection work on any engine.

Corp_0808_11_z Zz383_crate_motor Headers 4/32

The beauty in the ceramic coating of these Hedman Elite Hedders is how they accentuate the aluminum heads, but it's also in the way they fit. There is plenty of clearance for all things concerned, even the rack-and-pinion steering system we have outlined for this '67. And with their 15/8-inch tubes going into a 3-inch collector, they will extract exhaust gasses quite nicely. And, after all these years, they're still made in the U.S.A.

Corp_0808_12_z Zz383_crate_motor Clearance 5/32

As with any "aint quite stock" application, make sure you have room to do it. The stock small-block Corvette hood fits over the tuned port injection just fine almost. With the throttle body (not shown) installed to the front of the air plenum, we'll be into hood center brace territory. We knew this going in and will make provisions for it by "windowing" the center brace: cutting the fiberglass to make a recessed area for the throttle body, but preserving the strength of the brace by boxing it. This modification borders on burning a bridge, but it won't. We can always put it back to stock.

Corp_0808_13_z Zz383_crate_motor Water_pump 6/32

Stick to your master plan by installing the right pieces to achieve your final goal. This '67 is all about setting aside the original powertrain for preservation and installing a high-performance system that will bring this car into the 21st century. On the way out is the original 350hp carbureted small-block; on the way in is this 425hp fuel-injected small-block. We do this engine justice by installing high-performance components to complement it, such as a high-performance fuel-injection system to feed it, a high-performance exhaust system to efficiently extract exhaust gasses, and, yes, even a high-performance cooling system starting with this beautiful Weiand polished aluminum high-flow water pump from Holley Performance Parts. One look at this swirl-patterned casting and you know something is different about this pump.

Corp_0808_14_z Zz383_crate_motor Crossmember 7/32

With headers, there will always be a little custom exhaust work needed as shown on the bottom of our '67 full restoration coupe. Pipes will have to be fabricated to join the collectors to the openings in the crossmember because the system is obviously a different configuration now. Sometimes we run a stock system from this point back, or we like to run a 21/2-inch undercar chambered exhaust system from there to the back of the car-sounds kind of like side exhaust, only it's out the back instead of in your ear. With a high compression engine, it still annoys the neighbors. Yes!


Connect With Us

Get Latest News and Articles. Newsletter Sign Up

subscribe to the magazine

get digital get print