Space between the steering rack and engine damper was extremely tight. After searching for ways to maintain a 4-inch-diameter tube, which would be narrow enough to fit that area, we found a company called Dr. Gas, which makes oval-shaped tubes from round stock. The company can ovalize a 4-inch round tube down to 2 3/4 inches, however, we had to go further to get the size we needed. One issue you run into when ovalizing a round tube is that it can end up forming a figure-eight shape if you're not using a mandrel. To avoid that, we made a series of wooden jigs to fit inside the tube while we squeezed it further in the vise. We were able to maintain the round 4-inch shape at the top of the tube for the connection at the throttle-body elbow, while achieving an oval shape at the bottom to clear the engine damper.
Engine And Engine-Compartment Finishing TouchesIn Part 3 of our project series, we mentioned some of the finishing touches applied to the engine, such as the smoothed and painted block; the polished heads; the water pump; the dry sump tank and throttle body; the accessory mounting brackets; the serpentine belt system; and the chromed valve covers, oil pan, starter, A/C compressor, alternator, power-steering pump, and coil mounts. However, we've not yet shown what the finished engine and compartment look like with the additional components we've added since then. These include the engine covers, intake manifold cover, power-steering reservoir, battery box, steering linkage, and the brake-master cylinder.
Since we wanted to maintain as much recognition as possible with the LS7 Z06 engine, we had to retain the stock-style engine covers. However, there were several changes made to them, including smoothing and painting them in our red body color. The recessed lettering on the covers was highlighted by using silver pinstriping in an outline fashion. This was done by hand by a local friend of ours at Scavotto Signs. The covers were also modified to gain clearance for the A/C compressor, the brake master, and the intake manifold cover. (See photo 15, engine cover.)
Several years ago we designed a cover for the intake manifold of our '62 Corvette, which had the LS6 engine. This time we wanted to do something similar, however, we wanted it to be a modern interpretation of the original '63 fuel-injection cover, so this one has more of a finned design. We worked with Austin Barnett of VetteORama to design a custom emblem that uses crossed flags with "Z06" and "427" on either side. The cover consists of a framework held in place with brackets, mounted to existing intake-manifold bolt locations, and the billet-aluminum cover itself. Austin also made the "Split Personality" emblem mounted on the wiper door. (See photo 16, intake-manifold cover.)
A remote reservoir from Street & Performance was used. It was a tight fit but just cleared the inner fenderwell and radiator. Braided stainless hoses and AN fittings were used for the connections to the P/S pump and steering rack. (See photo 17, P/S reservoir and lines.)
In Part 3 of our project series, we showed the new battery mount made on the driver side of the chassis. We also had a billet-aluminum battery holder made and added a little more detail by gluing the emblem from the '63 glovebox to the top. Braided stainless-covered battery cables were also used, along with a battery-disconnect switch, and the terminals were smoothed and polished. We used an Optima "Red Top" battery but went the additional step of painting it in the red body color. Access to the battery is gained through the door in the driver-side fenderwell. (See photo 18, battery box, battery, and cables.)