Tom Stotts of Mena, Arkansas, acquired his '57 Chevy in 1971. He was a senior in high school at Loveland, Colorado. Like most Shoebox enthusiasts of the time, performance was the first thing on his mind. Out came the original 283ci and three-speed combination. The original engine was bored to 301 ci and assembled with all the right stuff for a respectable street machine. Reinstalled with a four-speed and a 4.56:1 differential, it was good to go.
Over the next several years the car went through many transformations from 327 ci to 350s, four-speed to Turbo 400 and gears ranging from 3.08s to 5.36s. It had new paint on three occasions and interior twice. The last drivetrain was a 350/400 combination with 3.08 gears. The best mileage Tom could attain was a meager 10-12 mpg. It was time for a major change.
Tom was already leaning toward fuel injection when he made a visit to Street and Performance of Mena. After a tour of the plant and a good look at the LT1, Tom's mind was made up. He had to have one!
A new crate motor and transmission would not fit Tom's budget, but a used one would.
Mark Campbell of Street & Performance supplied a low-mileage LT1/460E combination out of a '94 Corvette and the fun began.
Tom enlisted the aid of Archie Speer, owner of Hot Rod Assembly Line, to transplant the new powertrain.
The spare tire hole was removed and a large Rock Valley fuel tank, with internal high-pressure fuel pump was installed.
With approximately 22 gallons of gas Tom should be able to cruise all day without stopping for anything but fun. The fuel is transported by stainless steel lines by Tube Tec of Mena. Power steering was added using a 605 gearbox, and Lokar accessories round out the cabin and engine compartment.
This beauty has front disc brakes, Dakota Digital gauges, Air conditioning, music from Custom Autosound, and a Griffin radiator.
The stock frame and suspension rides very well on four P245/60R14 BFG TAs wrapped around classic Crager SSs. Custom interior and a fresh coat of Black Cherry and white pearlcoats complement the striking brightwork which has all been polished, rechromed, or replaced.
After removing the hood, all of the front radiator housing and support framework is removed. Bolts are hidden in a number of locations, including underneath the frame pan, so be patient.
The old engine and trans come away easily, and the cleaning and detailing of the engine compartment and firewall can begin. If you're using a computer, now is the time to locate the computer unit and make appropriate modifications to the firewall.
The old front motor mounts are removed in preparation for the new side mounts which will reduce engine vibration. The original motor mounts interfere with new-style power steering pumps.
The new power steering is the 605 '55-57 Gear Box Kit from Mullin Steering Gear or your local hot rod shop. The 605 gearbox and column are fitted before detail.
This '95 LT1 uses the 4L60E transmission, which shifts with the computer. Both '92-93 Corvettes and the '93 IROC had non-electric overdrive. All '94-up LT1s had the 4L60E transmission.
The LT1 factory bracket kit did not work in the '55-57 installation, so we picked the Street & Performance alt, air, power steering kit in chrome-we chose chrome for its easy maintenance and good looks. We used the wide-style brackets (Corvette-style) because we moved the battery to the back. If the battery box on your '57 is in the stock location, you have to run street rod-style brackets. On a '55-56 you can run either because the battery is on the firewall.
After positioning the LT1 and finishing the installation of the motor mount kit, we can build the rear transmission mount.
Hot Rod Assembly Line built the rear crossmember. This project is going to run the Dakota electric speedometer & gauges, so the harness will supply a wire to run the speedometer.
A set of Street & Performance coated LT1 Pro Car headers for '55-57s was installed. The LT1 Pro Car headers come with two O2 bungs, because on LT1s you must run one oxygen sensor on each side. The headers come complete with stainless steel bolts, gaskets, and collectors.
Tri-Five Chevy small-block Pro Car headers with all stainless head flanges and collector flanges and O2 bungs installed. Also available to fit a '55-57 with rack-and-pinon steering.
Hot Rod Assembly Line wanted to hide the fuel lines, so the fuel rails were sent to Tube Tech to be modified to flow into the passenger side, rear of head. Corvette fuel rails are located over the passenger side rear. When installing injectors into the fuel rails, take care to use a lubricant on the injector O-rings.
A Street & Performance LT1 chrome dress-up cover plate was easily installed using small drops of silicone. It gives the LT1 a custom finished look and covers the unpolished portion of the intake. The rear-exit fuel rail hold-down brackets were also installed.
This is the rear-exit passenter side stainless steel Fuel Line Kit from Street & Performance which allows you to run the fuel line up the passenger side.
Because this '57 had a V-8 mount radiator, Hot Rod Assembly Line made brackets to mount the V-8 radiator in the six-cylinder position. This allows the additional needed space for the LT1 and allows the dual electric fans to be mounted behind the radiator for better cooling and looks.
With the radiator in six-cylinder position it's easy mount the dual electric fans. We wanted to put the fans behind the radiator to improve cooling performance, and looks.
The stainless radiator overflow is mounted on the passenger side along side the polished dryer & bracket for air. The chrome aluminum power steering reservoir and bracket is mounted on the driver's side.
The new power steering was detailed with an Aeroquip high-pressure braided hose kit. The power steering lines are mounted using aluminum hose separators from a No.6 high pressure hose from pump to gearbox and from the gearbox back to resevior.
From reservior back to pump be sure to use at least a No.8 power steering hose, rated at least for 20-27 inches of vacuum. If not rated for sufficient vacuum, the hose may collapse and starve pump from the requisite fluid flow.
We used hard-line stainless steel fuel lines by James Miller of Tube Tech. Avoid rubber fuel lines.
The larger-size stainless steel fuel tank required removal of the spare tire mounting hole and relocation of the battery box to the trunk area. Be sure to ground the battery back to the engine/transmission-engine to frame- engine to body.
The Rock Valley tank comes complete with stainless steel mounting straps and the high-pressure fuel pump already installed in the tank. The in-tank pump is quieter, runs cooler, and is a pusher, which reduces the opportunity for vapor lock in hot weather. If you decide on an external pump, planning pump location is very important in maintaining fuel flow.
The Lokar LT1 braided throttle cable was installled. On LT1s with a 4L60E transmission don't run detent cables like '93-and-earlier cars.
The old factory harness and computer that came off the LT1 engine & transmission.
The new Street & Performance harness (PN 16188051), complete with a GM factory computer, came with the engine & transmission.
On a '96-97 LT1 engine you need to go back to the '94-95 computer so you can get away from OB-2. With the Street & Performance '94-later harness you don't have to run mass air flow. When running a 700 R-4 - 350/400 transmission, use the '92-93 computer (PN 16159278), which employs a programmable chip.
Lokar pedals were used for the brake, accelerator, and dimmer switch. Installing Lokar throttle and brake pedals improved the looks as well as the throttle cable pulls from the inside for a cleaner fire wall. Lokar makes a bigger pad for non-power-brake cars. This '57 was converted to power brakes.
We used a Lokar engine oil dip stick, which is flexible and lets you route around your headers, and a Lokar 4L60E firewall mount transmission fill tube.