On the Top Shelf this time: New editions of some old favorites, and the latest in a Chevrolet-info series that will help you decipher your C1's, C2's, or C3's history-and what's on it.
Vette Verification Made Easy
How do you know that "numbers-matching" mid-year that you just shelled out good money for is the real thing? Or, how do you know which Rochester Quadrajet is the correct carburetor for your 49-state, LS5-powered '72? There's now a book that helps you answer these questions-and it's by someone very familiar to Corvette Fever readers.
Alan Colvin's 1955-'82 Corvette by the Numbers: The Essential Corvette Parts Reference is the latest in his "By the Numbers" series, and it's just as much a goldmine of information as the four predecessor volumes for '55-'75 steel-bodied Chevys are. His adventures in automotive archaeology over the years have not only taken him to swap meets like Carlisle's, but also the extensive archives where Chevrolet, Flint, Delco-Remy, Saginaw, Tonawanda, and Muncie documents were kept. That's where he pored over decades of Chevy's engineering specifications as well as original part blueprints, Technical Service Bulletins and other documents to identify and verify exactly which "coded" parts were used to build Corvettes.
At over 600 pages, this massive tome contains detailed chapters on Vehicle ID Numbers (VINs), engine codes, engine block casting numbers, crankshafts, cylinder heads (including casting symbols like "double humps"), carburetors, intake and exhaust manifolds, water pumps, distributors, camshafts, generators and alternators, transmissions, axles and differentials, wheels, starters, clutch housings, harmonic balancers, radios, hoses, Libby-Owens-Ford (LOF) glass, year-by-year model changes-and a big chapter on Rochester Fuel Injection systems that's worth the price of the book all by itself. In fact, each chapter is-thanks to the painstakingly-verified information, factory photos and illustrations, and reference tables in each one.
Thanks to Alan's "By The Numbers" series, you'll also solve some long-standing Corvette mysteries, including where the first shipment of Muncie M-20 four-speeds went in early 1963 (HINT: It wasn't to St. Louis Assembly!). In its chapter on transmissions, this book refers to an appendix covering when the first Muncie M-22 "Rock Crusher" four-speeds were built, but that appendix (and must-read story) is actually found in the 1965-'69 Chevrolet by the Numbers, a predecessor volume in Alan's series, where that appendix spells out exactly when they were built (April of 1965), and that they went into 32 high-horsepower racing Corvettes, with 25 M-22s from that same pilot-production run going to Chevrolet Service Parts.
That last fact alone might prompt you to buy the 1965-'69 volume by itself. But, if you want as complete a parts reference guide as there is for 1955-'75 Chevrolets, you'll want to include all five "By The Numbers" volumes...starting with this one if the only Bow Tie in your garage wears a fiberglass body!
Rebuilt: Two Small-block Builders' Favorites
CarTech Books' "Workbench How-To" series have helped thousands of Bow Tie devotees build their first, or their latest, engines over the years. Now, their two small-block Chevy-specific titles have been revised, updated-and loaded with color images throughout.
Larry Atherton and Larry Schreib's How to Rebuild the Small-Block Chevrolet: Stock and High-Performance Rebuilds should be a teaching text in every auto shop classroom across the U.S., and their new edition makes it even more of a gotta-have for Chevy engine builders. That's because it's now filled with over 600 color step-by-step photos, taking you from disassembly and inspection to parts selection, machine work, critical component fit, assembly, plus installation and break-in. Throughout the book, Atherton and Schreib include performance modifications and upgrades (especially in the parts-selection pages), and appendices include general specifications, torque specs, piston ring gap alignment, plus info on cylinder numbers and firing orders for each version of Chevy's most popular V8.
An excellent companion volume is the updated edition of David Vizard's How to Build Max-Performance Chevy Small-Blocks on a Budget, also available from CarTech Books. This book is ideal for those looking for maximum power and torque out of their 265-400-cubic-inch small-blocks, while shelling out the least amount of money. There are loads of new color photos and illustrations, as well as info on the latest engine-building techniques, today's engine technology, and what today's affordable small-block engine buildups contain. (There's a section in back where ten different engine builds, from grocery-getter to race-only screamer, are detailed.) That's along with the information David includes about desirable factory part numbers to look for and use in your builds, inexpensive-but-effective aftermarket parts, what blocks, heads and cranks are the best to build your engine with, how to select a camshaft and rotating-assembly parts, and much more. Get both of these updated titles from CarTech Books, and you'll be dollars ahead on your next engine project.
Want To Swap In An Overdrive Automatic?
For at least the last couple of decades, GM's overdrive automatics have been swapped into cars and trucks that used to house TurboHydraMatics or Powerglides. There's more to these swaps than the OD gearboxes' fuel-saving top gears, and Cliff Ruggles' GM Automatic Overdrive Transmission Builder's and Swapper's Guide spells it all out.
In this book-another CarTech Books "Performance How-To" volume-Ruggles focuses on the 700R4 and the electronically-controlled 4L60E, both derived from the tried-and-true Turbo 350. There's a chapter detailing the history of these automatics and the changes and upgrades GM made to them, as well as a chapter on the tools you'll need to rebuild one of these "boxes." The chapter on rebuilding is the heart of this book, and it's filled with color pictures, illustrations and related sidebars-which will make this book a vital reference not only to first-time rebuilders, but also to experienced transmission technicians alike.
You'll also find a chapter on proper transmission removal and installation, as well as one on shift kits and a detailed chapter covering torque converters. In back, there's a bonus section (authored by former SIM editor Ro McGonegal) that covers swapping these later-model GM automatics into earlier-model cars and trucks, including a full-page color montage of the various bellhousing bolt patterns GM's overdrive automatics use, and a swapper's source guide that lists companies whose products and services will make your swapping go easy. Transmisison rebuilding and swapping can be straight-forward, and-thanks to Cliff's book-it can be done easily, with smoother shifts, better fuel mileage, and increased performance as a result.
Supercharging for the Street? Why Not!
Pat Ganahl's A Complete Guide to Street Supercharging has been the standard reference work for those looking to force-feed more air and fuel into their engine for more power. Now, thanks to CarTech Books, it's been updated with color pictures throughout, plus new info on centrifugal superchargers (and how to get the most from them).
The chapters on blower basics and supercharging history-both OEM and aftermarket-and how blowers work are still there, and they've been joined by a detailed chapter covering the latest centrifugal blowers like Vortech's, Paxton's and ProCharger's recent products. That's along with a big chapter on vintage superchargers-with a must-read section on what to look for, and look out for, in a used supercharger-as well as chapters on Roots-type superchargers (think GMC blowers), and screw-type superchargers like those from Whipple and Kenne-Bell. Finally, there's a chapter on building the supercharged engine that covers what you need to assemble an engine that will not only make best use of the force-fed fuel-and-air mixture coming in from the blower, but will survive without pinging or grenading. A good read through this book will answer a lot of questions you might have about supercharging-and maybe inspire you to add one of these power-adders to your Vette.
Push-Button Power: The Hows and Whys
While we're talking about power adders, let's not forget the one that's no laughing matter: Nitrous oxide injection, the push-button power adder. Unfortunately, some ill-advised or under-informed people have used it not to add power, but to distribute their engine's internal parts in as many outward directions as possible. They haven't read a tutorial like Jeff Hartman's Nitrous Oxide Performance Handbook, now available from Motorbooks.
In it, Jeff delivers a treasure-trove of information about nitrous oxide-its early uses in aircraft engines, the physics and chemistry behind it, its performance potential, and nitrous-system architecture. That's before he gets into the details of installing, tuning, and optimizing a nitrous system, the "rocket science" of nitrous oxide injection, and a chapter of frequently asked questions which you may want to read first!
Like the other books on the shelf this time, the Nitrous Oxide Performance Handbook would make a great teaching text in any auto-shop class, and it will make a valuable addition to your reference library-especially if you're not considering adding nitrous oxide injection to your Vette yet. Read this book, and you'll have the understanding you'll need when you finally decide to add this power adder to your Corvette.