1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 from North America
Actually good, though perhaps over-engined
Suspension got out of alignment at both ends.
I didn't actually own this car, a friend did, and he brought it into my small-town speed shop for a rebuild. He'd used his severance pay from the Army to buy the car, and, having recently lost his thumb in a punch press in the factory in which he worked, he'd decided to spend the settlement he'd got from the factory to full-house the L88 (which is a legendary species of hi-po 427) in his '68 Vette.
To convince me that he actually needed a rebuild, he took me out of town, hitting over 130 in the first 1/4 mile of country road, and indicated I should listen to the dreadful roar of that engine, and within it, find cause to agree with him about its need for a rebuild. The car was wandering all over the road at that speed, so I quickly agreed, to get him to slow down. He hit the brakes, and the 'Vette snatched from one side of the road to the other, even worse than it had been wandering. On the way back to my shop, I told him he really needed to get the both front and rear suspensions aligned, badly.
But he wasn't interested in that, he wanted to get into my Chevy High-performance catalog. So we selected the highest-performance cam that Chevy made for that engine, short of the FI competition cams, an Eidelbrock 2500-6500 rmp torque-range intake manifold, an 850 CFM Holley double-pumper carb, and an ignition advance kit, I put new rings, bearings, pop-up forged pistons, oil pump and seals in the block, got a three-angle valve job from my machinist, unshrouded the valves in the combustion chambers, clayed the piston tops to guarantee that there was no valve-to-piston interference, buttoned that sucker up, tuned it, and put it back in his accident-prone hands, telling him I figured it for about 550 (SAE Gross) horsepower, and not to take it over 5000 rpm for the first month of driving it. A mutual friend told me he saw him spin it up to 6500 rpm the first night.
That same night I was in a local service station in our small town, and the owner told me (word gets around in a small town) that I'd "as good as killed that (30-year-old) boy".
But I'm of the firm opinion that you don't ask a professional mechanic to do something like this unless you're as grown-up as he is; after all, if he's not careful and knowledgeable about what he does, your engine will blow up in his face. I'd warned him about that alignment.
And, of course, he didn't listen. He went off the road about 2 weeks later, at about 150 miles an hour, sideways, and took out about 1/4 mile of quality fenceposts. It didn't hurt him a bit, but it covered most of that pasture with fiberglass. He sold the remains for as much as he could get, and the last I heard that L88 was installed in what had become the fastest tow truck in the county.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 17th December, 2005
19th Dec 2005, 07:30
Not really a review, but interesting to read about the doofus in the Corvette. Maybe he can go out and get his other thumb chopped off so he can buy another one...
6th Oct 2006, 13:09
If he was daft enough to drive at 150mph along a country road, I don't think having correct alignment would help him much.
19th Feb 2010, 20:41
Yeah man, no one EVER listens to mechanics, the car owners always know better! Trust me, I've been there.
20th Feb 2010, 14:14
This sounds like a fairy tale embellished at each new telling. I would have bought the car back from the insurance company settlement and bought another Vette off CL and installed my old motor in it.