Visitors since May 2000
1970 Corvette Stingray 454
Not Correctly Restored Stingray
Finally the transplant day arrives. The 454 moves in!
From a time when COOL was measured in Cubic Inches.
Updated September 2008
Email me at email@example.com for more information.
Above is a Billet Aluminum oil filler cap. I had the top engraved in recognition of my good friend Rolling Thunder. He's helped me earlier in my project when his health was better. He may never get to finish his "Rolling Thunder" project, so I thought it appropriate that my Vette recognize his help. Dave lives in Kentucky so I think I'm safe with a Western Pa "Rolling Thunder." It's also a good description of how the engine sounds too.
This was also a tribute to all the ground troops of the Vietnam War who received little of no appreciation. Dave was one of those special troops. The term Rolling Thunder described a bombing campaign during that war. You can read more here ----> http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/rolling_thunder.htm ---Jan 2005
Here's where it all began back in February 2002, a 1987 454 4bolt main from a rusted out Suburban.
Above. Days prior to the actual swap, I cleaned and degreased the engine bay. I painted everywhere I could easily reach. This isn't about a body off restoration, but pretty close. I kept with my thinking though of replacing every item I ran accross that needed attention.
It was also at this time that I replaced all the front brake lines with stainless steel. That included SS braided caliper hoses.
Just because I'm out in the garage swearing doesn't mean I'm enjoying myself!
Here is the completed engine right before the swap. The pulley's are Corvette in origin. The March alternator and bracket will have to go as there just isn't enough hood clearance. Glad I didn't go for the March serpentine setup.
The 15degree swivel aluminum water neck is from Billett Specialties and features an O-ring seal and SS bolts.
The fuel pump is from Carter and the SS braided fuel line and AN fittings are all Areoquip. The intake manifold is a Weiand Stealth.
On this day I had to recruit two reluctant assistants to help me with the engine & hoist. I had to wake them up at 9am!
For those of you not familiar with my plight, it all started way back in February 2002! I've been slowly rebuilding this engine piece by piece. When it was in the machine shop I had just about everything done that you could have done to a BB, including, but not limited to: align hone, bored 0.060, magnafluxed, dipped & washed and had cam bearings and freeze plugs installed. I had the connecting rods resized and fitted to the pistons. I also had the entire rotating assembly balanced while it was in the shop. I performed the remainder of engine assembly. That included spec'-ing the crank, connecting rods, bearings, and rings. So what is going into the engine bay is a balanced and blue printed engine.
I bought and installed the pieces as time and money would allow. The engine & tranny are in and bolted down. I installed the engine and tranny together. I removed the left front wheel & tire, the radiator and radiator support to provide enough clearance. During the installation, I found that I had to remove the drivers exhaust manifold to get it to clear.
There's nothing that screams BB like those huge orange valve covers. Through the years I never thought this day would come. There's still a lot of work to do before I can say I'm finished though.
Eventually I want to have it chassis dyno-ed at a local shop but a few guys have estimated that I'm close if not over 400 RWHP.
Converting from a 350 to a 454 may sound easy, and in some respects, it is. You can check out my other page for the different engine components http://temp.corvetteforum.net/c3/themoneypit/index9.shtml
Most of my parts are either new or rebuilt. Once I got into the project, I soon realized that I wasn't going to accomplish this task in 6 months. My time and money were the limiting parts. I started with a block and was simply going to add heads, cam etc. but soon found out that one of the pistons was seized in the cylinder. So, soon after I started I found that I would need to completely break down the engine. I had never done a complete rebuild from the bottom up, so this was new territory for me. That's why this project has taken about 2.5 years to complete...and the engine still hasn't fired.
I also spent a lot of time working with the bearing clearances,piston to valve clearances and gapping the rings.
My heads I bought from Salle Chevy (the link is on my page), most of the performance items we obtained from Jegs & Sumitt Racing. Some internals were obtained from Competition Products. My rebuilt, race prepped M-22 was bought from a forum member who races SVRA Vintage GT.
The pulley's and bracket were obtained from Volunteer Vette, Zips and Paragon Reproductions. One Water Pump Pulley I bought on Ebay. Most used stuff I found to be crap or the seller wanted a fortune. Building this BB hasn't been cheap, I guess I could have cut corners here & there but wasn't in a hurry. I would buy parts as time and money allowed. I still had my Vette to drive around in with a 350. --September 04
This is the Russel fuel line kit I installed. It was a special order thru Jeg's. I don't have the actual part number, but on the back of the package reads: 4127/641270 Dual inlet/Filter Assy.Holley
This engine swap and build was a major accomplishment for me. I started my gear head days back in the mid-late 60's. Yeah some consider me old.
My first car was a used '67 VW Beetle 4speed that I hot rodded with headers, Weber carbs, fender flares, Cragar 5 spoke mags and over sized tires. My friends at the garage I worked called it the drag buggy.
My next vehicle was a 1967 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400. It had a 330HP, 400 c.i. engine and rare for it's day, front disc brakes. With this car I was well on my way into hot rods & muscle cars. This was one of the quickest cars I owned. Slam the accelerator and the entire front end would lift. I think I'd still have this car today if the trunk and rear half didn't rust out from under me.
This is a close up of the distributor position and orientation for my reference use.
This shows how I temporarily solved my hood clearance issue. This is an original Cal Custom low profile air filter used primarily on the Camaro's, Chevelee's and Corvette's they modified in the '60's and early '70's. I saw one of these in a magazine when I was in high school and vowed that one day I would get one for my Vette. It has a much nicer appearance than the L-88 assembly.
One of the modifications need was a longer clutch rod. Using a Centerforce DF clutch required that the clutch rod be about 1-2 inches longer. Fortunately, this one I got when I putchased a used Z-bar & linkage. The stock rod was simply too short.
You can see where someone had already welded in a 2 inch piece of rod.
Above is the double roller timing chain from Competition Products.
Here is an aftermarket aluminum timing cover I purchased via Ebay. I wouldn't recommend this cover since I had a very difficult time getting a timing pointer to fit. I finally had to make modifications to another aftermarket pointer. Looking back, I think I would have just used the stock timing chain cover and paint it orange.
While I had the transmission and shifter removed, it was a good opportunity to refurbish the console data plate. I cleaned the plate carefull and sprayed a few coats of Krylon Semi-flat black. Mindy then removed the paint from the "chrome" areas with a scraper, razor blade and scapel. I'm very pleased with the result. I added a new leather shift boot too.
That's me above on the left...
Car Cruise Fun! So I turn into a Corvette benefit cruise....
And there's a guy directing me where to park. So I back into this spot and he tells me to pull forward a little since I'm back too far. I oblige and then back up again to "straighten" out. Then go to shift out of reverse and snap!
The linkage binds or locks up and I have NO gears at all. How humiliating! Infront of other Corvette owners too. Was this the NCRS curse?? Fortunately the benefit cruise was at Tom Henry Chevrolet. I know there are a bunch of gear heads working there since I've picked up parts for my car there. In fact, the Parts manager has an Orange '69 327. He wasn't there though.
So I asked the guy who was directing traffic there, who I might talk to to get a floor jack and a couple wrenches. He takes me inside to see Mr. Henry, the owner of the dealership. I proceed to tell Mr. Henry, who is a big Corvette supporter, my plight. He says, "Give me a minute." I said "OK." and wait around inside the show room gaugling over the new Corvette's. Mr. Henry comes back out in about 10 minutes and introduces me to a young kid, maybe 19-20, and says this is Rob. He'll see if he can help you. I thought to myself, ok, this outa be good.
Well Rob comes out to first evaluate the situation. He quickly notice that with the sidepipes, there's no way we were going to get a floor jack under the frame, especially with a lowered front end. I said yep, I then told him how I could sometimes squeeze a jack in the front corner to get to the front crossmember. He said I'll be right back.
I never expected a youngster like him to know much about a Corvette, but then to notice that my front end was lowered and that you can't easily jack a vette with side pipes fron the side. I waited, a little bewildered and then a little more impressed when Rob comes back with a floor jack and says, "Yeah, we had a '65 that jamed its linkage all the time." He knew exactly what I was talking about. This wasn't the first time my linkage jamed, but the first time "on-the-road."
Well we get the front end jacked up and Rob says, "Let me get underneath there and see what we got." Again I was impressed that this young guy just took it upon himself to fix my linkage and get me back on the road.
To make a longer story short, He got it fixed in about 5 mins and we lowered the car down.
I thought a lot of the younger kids were mostly into Imports. I was glad to see this young'n was taught well and was very knowledgable about Corvette's....May 2005
Not Well Known & Unusual Facts About 1968-1982 Corvettes
Pontiac almost beat Chevrolet to the Coke bottle design body, with their 1965 Banshee, a two seater convertible sports car that would have been hefty competition for the Corvette. GM stopped it, and then Pontiac president John DeLorean later became president of Chevrolet.
T-top does not refer to the shape of the roof, but rather it is short for Targa Top. The original design was a pure Targa but body flex demanded the center bar, discovered late in the design.
Due to policy changes in Chevrolet, Corvette was treated like all other car lines for the first time, and quality dropped drastically. With bad publicity in most magazines, policy was re-thought and Chevrolet quickly restored independence and quality to Corvette within a few months, but all 1968s carry the stigma of being "the worse quality" of all Corvettes.
All big block manifolds were redesigned to actually sink into the lifter valley as the hood clearance was less than in '67 and back. As such, a 1965 to 1967 big block intake manifold won't fit in a 1968 or newer Corvette with a stock hood and air cleaner.
The exception to the above was the L-88. It retained the high rise manifold and also received a special hood, which was externally different this time.
Emission control equipment was installed on the first 1968's in the fall of 1967 even though the federal law required it only as of January 1, 1968.
1968 was the first year AM/FM stereo was offered as an option.
1968-1972 the coupe's rearwindow was removeable for more of a true convertible experience
The Sting Ray name was not used on the 1968 Corvette, but returned in 1969… Spelled Stingray.
Corvette had its first all aluminum engine in 1969 as the ZL-1. It was not the first GM automobile to do so, beaten by the Corvair in 1960 and the Buick 215 V8.
In 1969, the ignition lock was moved from the dash to the steering column. It would remain there until 1997 when it was returned to the dash.
The LS7 engine option, which was never installed in the 1970 Corvette was $3000.
No Corvettes were painted Black at the factory from 1970 to 1976.
The only outside difference between the 1971 and a 1972 Corvette is the appearance of the amber front turn signals and vertical chroming on the egg-crate grills both on the 1972 - that's it. Minor stuff most people miss.
1972 was the only year for Corvette "Big Block" engines in the 1968 to 1972 range to have no horse power sticker on the air cleaner lid. "Pewter Silver" was only offered as an exterior color in 1972.
The 1970 - 1972 Corvettes were the last to feature chrome bumpers front and rear. In 1973, the front bumper changed to body-colored flexible plastic. In 1974 the rear bumper followed suit.
In 1973, aluminum wheels were again available as an option, but the same problem that plagued the 1963 aluminum wheels, the inability to hold air, kept these out of the hands of customers until 1976.
The rear view mirror in the 1974 Corvette was increased to a width of 10".
The last true dual exhaust was installed in 1974, post 1974 everything went through a catalytic converter.
1974 rear bumper was 2 pieces, 1975-1982 used a one piece unit.
The awesome 454ci engine was only offered for 5 years.. 1970, 71, 72, 73, and 1974
1975 was lowest production year for convertibles for those years that offered both convertibles and coupes.
1976 Corvette used the same steering wheel as a Chevrolet Vega for the "Sport Wheel" Option.
1977 last year for the notch back shark.
In 1977 crossed flags returned to the nose and sides of the Corvette.
1977 saw the redesign of the center console to accept standard Delco radios, the first year that Corvette didn't have a Corvette only radio.
The '78 Pace Car was "Black and Silver" was because it photographed well. Back then, most magazine articles and ads were still done in Black & White!
The body in 1978 was widened in the rear fender area. This was discovered by customizers when converting '78 and newer coupes to convertibles after the convertible production ended in 1975.
1979 was Corvette's highest production year.
By Federal mandate, the 1980 Corvette was the first Corvette to have an 85 MPH speedometer.
1981 the first Corvette to use a computer.
The 1981 Corvette had two cooling fans to increase engine power.
In 1981, Corvettes were produced with two different types of paint. Lacquer was applied at the St. Louis plant, and enamel was applied at the new Bowling Green plant.
In 1982 fuel injection reappeared in the Corvette after a 17-year hiatus.
For 1968, a factory installed anti-theft alarm system was available as an option, but less than 400 cars were so equipped.
Only two 1969 Corvettes were sold with the ZL-1 all aluminum 427 engine, making them one of the rarest collector Corvettes of all time. Note: Visit Roger's Corvette Center in Orlando, Florida, for a close-up look at an original 1969 ZL-1.
In 1969, the ignition lock was moved from the dash to the steering column. It would remain there until 1997 when it was returned to the dash.
In 1970, big block engines increased from 427 to 454 cubic inches and the powerful 370 HP LT1 small block engine made its debut.
1970 sales were their lowest since 1962 (only 17,316 units) due to a late start in the production year.
The first ZR1 performance package appeared in 1970 (not 1990, as some might believe) and included the 370 HP LT1 engine and a host of other performance items.
1971 was the last year for fiber optic warning lights, first introduced in 1968.
The only external difference between the 1971 and 1972 Corvettes is the amber front turn signals and chrome plating on the egg-crate grills on the 1972.
Beginning in 1972 and continuing thereafter, horsepower would be measured as "net" rather than the less realistic "gross" ratings of earlier years.
"Pewter Silver" was only offered as an exterior color in 1972.
1972 was the only year air conditioning was available with the LT1 engine and since only 240 were so equipped, this combination is a rare find today.
Although 1973 VIN's run to 34464, only 30,464 units were built; the 4,000 serial numbers between 24001 and 28000 were never used.
The rear view mirror in the 1974 Corvette was increased to a width of 10 inches.
The last true dual exhaust was installed in 1974. After that, all exhaust gases were channeld through a single catalytic converter.
The 1974 rear "rubber" bumper was made in 2 pieces due to shortcomings in the manufacturing process. The process was improved the following year, thus 1975-1982 models used a one piece unit.
The big block engine made it's final curtain call in the 1974 Corvette.
The FE7 Gymkhana Suspension package was first introduced in the 1974 Corvette.
1975 was the first year for a HEI distributor.
The convertible was discontinued after the 1975 model year and would not reappear again until 1986. GM cited declining sales for convertibles (only 4,629 units in '75) and safety concerns as reasons for killing the ragtops.
Due to stricter emissions standards, California Corvette buyers could not opt for the L82 engine in 1976.
The 500,000th Corvette, a white 1977 coupe, rolled off the St. Louis assembly line at 2:01 P.M. on March 15th, 1977.
The aftermarket "Moon Roofs" (glass t-tops for Corvettes) were supposed to be optional equipment in 1977, but the manufacturer had a marketing dispute with Chevrolet. GM developed their own glass panels for the 1978 model year.
The 1978 model saw the first fastback rear window since 1967.
Crossed flag emblems returned to the nose and sides of the Corvette in 1979.
More Corvettes were built in 1979 than in any other year, before or since... a total of 53,807 units were produced.
Due to tougher emission standards, Corvettes bound for California were fitted with 305 cubic inch engines.
The 305 cubic inch V-8 installed in 1980 California-bound Corvettes was the first Corvette engine to be monitored by a computer. Since 1981, all Corvettes have been computer equipped.
There were no optional Corvette engines in 1981.
In 1982, console mounted clocks were quartz units and had the word "QUARTZ" printed on the face, while the 80-81 years did not.
For the first time since 1954, in 1982 you could not order a Corvette with a manual transmission.