RESTORING and modifying a performance car-be it a Corvette or other some brand-involves many complex processes and decisions. From the inception of the project, the end result must be envisioned by the builder in order for the car to meet the desired goals of the build. Being VETTE magazine, our vision for our C3 project car was not foreseen as a run-of-the-mill restoration, but rather as a highly modified, fun-to-drive automobile. With this in mind, we decided to build the car for all-around performance, starting with the basics of safety, and then upgrading the car's systems for an eventual engine swap to a more powerful mill.
If you've been following our project, we think you'll agree that we've accomplished a lot in a relatively short amount of time. After picking up our 1971 Chevy Corvette Stingray, we gave it a quick safety check, repairing any substandard items that existed and giving the car a good detailing. Since then, we've gathered baseline dragstrip and braking data, and begun modifying the car with a new fuel system from Holley and Summit Racing Equipment, fresh ignition parts from MSD, and an upgraded cooling system from Zip Products. We've also treated the Vette to a fresh paintjob, thanks to JD's Paint and Body Shop in Mulberry, Florida, and BASF, who supplied the Diamont paint supplies. Finishing out the exterior, we installed all new door seals, door handles, emblems, mirrors, rocker moldings, and lenses from Corvette Central, along with a pair of new rear bumpers from Year One.
Thanks to the foregoing mods, our Stingray is fast becoming a solid foundation in which we can install a more powerful engine and aftermarket transmission for even better performance. And we have plenty more upgrades we'll be covering in the months ahead, from SLP ZR-1-style wheels and Nitto Invo performance tires to Stainless Steel Brakes braking hardware and a Steeroids rack-and-pinion conversion kit from Speed Direct.
We're also planning an interior makeover for our Stingray, which will include a rollbar, better seats, five-point safety harnesses, and Auto Meter gauges from Summit Racing. The balance of the interior will be restored with new carpeting, door, and dash panels, as well as fresh T-top seals, finish panels, and a rear window. Additionally, we plan to add modern sound deadening material, a quality aftermarket sound system, and to repair our car's air conditioning, ensuring a more pleasurable experience as we cruise our Corvette to car shows and various testing venues.
Even at this early point, we're enjoying a sports car with V-8 muscle, good balance, nimble handling, and great braking-the hallmarks of any well-tuned Corvette. Our car has been transformed from a fairly used and neglected Stingray into a reliable, attractive performance vehicle, one that receives positive responses from the general public and enthusiasts alike whenever it's driven. We have some ideas in mind for the future of this project, including a possible stroker small-block with aluminum cylinder heads, or perhaps an LS engine swap. We won't rule out supercharging or turbocharging for some really sick power, and we'll almost certainly discard the Borg-Warner T10 transmission for a five- or six-speed conversion.
We'd love to know what you think of our project so far, and we look forward to hearing your ideas for future upgrades as well. It's easy to contact us by email, so be sure to visit www.vetteweb.com and tell us your thoughts concerning project C3 Triple-Ex.