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.