1963 Chevy Corvette Project Car - Split Personality, Part 3

Engine, Drivetrain, And Brake Upgrades For A '63 Z06 Pro-Classic

Rich Lagasse Mar 14, 2007 0 Comment(s)

Engine Detailing
Since the car will be used for shows, we wanted to do something special in detailing the engine. It was sent to Street & Performance where Adam Gunn performed his work. The heads, throttle body, and water pump were polished. To help retain their finish, they were coated with Zoops Seal. The front engine cover, oil pan, starter, coil mounts, and valve covers were chromed. Even though the block is aluminum and could be polished, we wanted to have a contrast to the polished and chromed pieces, so the block was smoothed and painted in our custom red paint. All the mounting bolts were converted to 12-point polished ARP bolts.

There will be several other custom pieces made for the final detailing; these will be shown in a future installment. This will include the cold-air intake system, the custom cooling-system radiator, and expansion tank made by the Pro-Fab shop at Be Cool. Mark Walkowiak from Mark VII Machine and Fred Militello from Be Cool have worked from our diagrams to make these units, and their work is outstanding.

Engine Installation
In our first installment, we mentioned there would be some equipment you may not have that would be helpful in the project, such as an engine hoist and leveler. We also found a hydraulic table came in handy when it was time to line up the transmission. some extra hands and eyes are always helpful when you are lining up the motor and transmission mounts. Luckily for us, Frenchy Bernier and Ray Zisa from Corvette Center made a house call.

Gas Tank
This is probably a good place to mention the fuel tank . The stainless tank is from Rock Valley and has a built-in fuel pump. Note that this tank has the main and return lines on the top instead of the bottom as is usual since we wanted to keep the bottom of the tank free of fuel lines (photo 09). The tank has been polished (we've made a note that this is another one of those jobs we never intend to do again). As we write this segment, we are looking for the best location for the fuel filter (C5-style with a built-in regulator), and then we will route and mount the main and return lines with a combination of braided-stainless and hard-stainless lines.

Transmission
A Tremec T-56 transmission from Keisler Engineering was chosen. We've had good luck with that unit in our '62, and like the smooth shifting and gearing. To improve its appearance, we decided to smooth and polish the transmission and bellhousing. That involved approximately seventy-five hours of polishing and is not something we're likely to do again! The skip shift solenoid was eliminated as was the backup light switch. The reverse lock-out unit was also polished, rear cover plates fabricated, and the brackets were painted. All the bolts were converted to 12-point ARP polished stainless. To help retain the finish, the entire unit was coated in POR 15 Glisten, which should stand up to the heat. The urethane transmission mount is from Energy Suspension.

Flywheel/ Clutch/Pressure Plate & Hydraulic Unit
Since the engine comes with the flywheel, clutch, and pressure plate, we saw no reason to go with aftermarket units. To activate the clutch, a hydraulic unit used in the F-body cars was used, along with a custom bracket mount from Alf Ebberoth of Performance Automotive.

Differential
A Dana 44 differential was chosen for its strength, along with a gear ratio of 3:90 that works well with the double overdrive of the T-56 transmission. The unit was smoothed, and then painted in our custom red color for contrast to the chromed differential carrier. A custom torque arm from SRIII Motorsports was used. The welds were smoothed, and the unit was chromed. Urethane bushings from Energy Suspension were used for both the differential carrier and torque arm. They were mounted using six-point polished stainless bolts from Totally Stainless.

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