Editor’s Note: This post is a contribution by the car’s owner Leonard Buote as he tells the story of his car in his own words
Purchased in 1967 for $3,995 with 8,000 miles on it, this Corvette was already on its second engine! This car was my daily driver for many years, wearing out the 425hp/427 cubic inch replacement engine. One day I went to the Service Center in Paramount and saw a L88 short block on the floor. The asking price was $700, so I bought it and had them install it. This engine had 12.5 compression and the pistons rattled brand new because of the clearances. Because I drove the car every day, the engine only lasted 30,000 miles before it needed rings. Today I could kick myself, but I traded the engine to my friend Chuck for a complete 350 installed. I drove the car another 25 years with this setup but not as much as I used to.
When I bought my house, the car stayed in the garage most of the time, and every time I went to drive it the brakes had to be bled. In September 1999, I took it to my friend Chuck to get the brakes redone. When I went to pick the car up upon completion my friend Chuck showed me the GM performance catalog. The ZZ502 crate motor really got me excited, so I went home and asked my wife, “Mommy, can I get a new engine for my Corvette?” She said only if I fixed the whole car up. (Bless her heart).
Well many long years later and here it is, finally all prettied up! The ZZ502 has been upgraded to 533 cubic inches with a Scat rotating assembly and SRP pistons. The heads are ported and port matched shaved ten thousands with GM roller rockers, Comp roller lifters and Comp Beehive valve springs breathing through 2⅛ inch headers with 3-½ inch collectors. A Comp Cams XR300HR hydraulic steel billet roller with 248/254 duration and 560/580 lift runs the valve train fed by a 950 Holley Ultra HP Carb. Run on the engine dyno it put out 700 hp, 645 ft lb torque. The engine is bolted up to a NHRA approved steel scatter shield housing a Mcleod dual disc clutch connected to a M22 (Rock Crusher) 4 speed pumping into a 12 bolt conversion 4.11 positraction, 1480 axle kit, offset trailing arms, high performance rear spring, and rear camber control rods, all from Tom’s differentials.
I took the car out to Fontana drag strip 3-11-2011, ran out of RPM at the end of the strip but still backed up my license plate! The drag strip run was with 502 cubic inches and before the Comp Beehive valve springs were installed. Out of 7 runs best ET was11.741 & best Speed 119.53. On 4-11-2015 I went back to Fontana with the new engine, in spite of my driving skills the speed shows it may be close to a high 10 second car. Out of 5 runs best ET was 11.644 & best Speed 124.02.