The age of amazing barn finds is mostly over: there aren’t any added Le Mans Bentleys still sleeping beneath inches of dust in English barns. For the active and advantageous Corvette enthusiast, though, there are still a few gems ambuscade out there, and Seattle’s Dan Pepper tracked one down.
Dan Pepper has been a Corvette nut aback 1970 aback he aboriginal got a ride at the age of six in a cast new Laguna Grey coupe. Like watching the Apollo 11 moon landing on TV the summer before, that acquaintance is still a active memory. Over the years, he pined for a C1 or C2, and assuredly bought his ’66 427/390 Coupe, which is unrestored and has becoming NCRS Top Flight recognition.
An added “ordinary” Corvette was appropriate to accumulate the afar low on the ’66, but the C2 bazaar was activity through the roof, so Dan started attractive for a nice aboriginal chrome-bumper C3 to use as a driver. He begin an ultra-clean low-miles ’69 350/350hp auto in Monaco Orange over atramentous vinyl. The ’69 auto got him absorbed in the C3 affiliate of Corvette history, and he absitively a nice big-block would annular out his collection. Perhaps a 435hp tri-power car, or possibly one of the attenuate LS6 ’71 Corvettes with aluminum heads…the chase was aback on.
During a abiding and ultimately bootless behest war over a survivor-quality ’71 LS6 Coupe, he got to apperceive the LS6’s owner, retired Boeing architect Brian Graebel. While Brian was affectionate with Dan over accident the behest challenge and thanking him for aback allowance to jack the final auction amount up to a actual advantageous sum-Dan kept behest appropriate up to the bend of risking his kids’ academy fund-he happened to acknowledgment a acquaintance and accessory who endemic a ’70 ZR1.
So what are the affairs that a guy who endemic a actual attenuate car like a ’71 LS6 Corvette formed elbow-to-elbow with accession guy who endemic an alike added attenuate ’70 ZR1? It articulate unlikely. However, Brian collection Dan over to accommodated “Mr. ZR1,” Darrell Boettger, whose barn aperture was formed up to acknowledge a weary-looking Bridgehampton Dejected Corvette Auto hoisted up on a 4-post lift. It was coated in dust and not an absorbing sight. Dan spent the aing two hours dabbling about with a flashlight, clipboard and agenda camera, although Darrell wasn’t absorbed in affairs the car.
Darrell had originally anticipation it was aloof an LT1 with an M22 chiral and a 4.56 posi rear end. Afterwards affairs the car and admission from Purdue University in 1979, he took a job at the Boeing bulb in Everett, Washington, as a propulsion engineer, and towed the Corvette abaft his Camaro from Indiana to Seattle in the average of winter. The windshield got absurd as he jackknifed on an ice application in NE Oregon. Luckily there was no added accident (other than to the Camaro’s disciplinarian bench upholstery).
A new career, helpmate and babyish mostly elbowed the Corvette aside, but in the mid ’80s Darrell went to check the brakes and took the old advanced anchor pads to a bounded Corvette shop. The boutique owner, acclaimed west bank SCCA racer Rick Stark, asked him what the dual-pin pads were from and explained that those J56 brakes were alone accessible on the ZR1 in 1970. Darrell again accomplished the car ability be a ZR1. Trips to Bloomington Gold, and accord with ZR1 experts apropos agent pad, date codes, catchbasin sticker and the car’s altered configuration, accustomed that the dejected auto was one of the 25 ZR1s produced in 1970. Dan’s analysis and photos added accustomed that this car was a absolutely attenuate allotment of Corvette history.
Dan still capital the ZR1 actual badly, and he would get calm with Darrell and Brian every so about to allocution cars, alcohol microbrew and bethink about “the acceptable old days.” Every session, Dan acclaim nudged Darrell arise affairs him the car. Finally, Darrell agreed, but on two conditions: first, that it would be adequate to NCRS specs, and second, that it would be replaced by accession C3 as able-bodied as a above cycle of Franklins. Darrell now owns Dan’s ’69 Monaco Orange Coupe, and “Ol Blue” is now garaged alongside Dan’s ’66 big-block.
Dan got the ZR1 home and instantly started dabbling about the dash, attractive for an autogenous adjustment copy. The catchbasin sticker was actual achromatic and adamantine to read. He was acquisitive that the adjustment copy, about blimp abaft the birr amid the tachometer and speedometer, was still there. It was, but somebody abroad had begin it first. It was now allotment of an age-old mouse’s nest. However, the reassembled debris of cardboard accurate the car’s 18-carat character and akin the spec: ZR1 370HP Appropriate Purpose Agent Package, M22 HD Transmission, F41 Appropriate Use Suspension, J56 Heavy Duty Anchor Package, tilt/tele column, 4.56:1 Positraction and NA9, the one-year-only California-required Evaporative Emissions Control System. The latter, forth with the printed banker cardinal “183,” suggests the ZR1 was originally purchased in California, either at Guaranty Chevrolet in San Diego, or F. H. Daley Chevrolet in San Leandro.
Dan is a affiliate of NCRS, and intends to restore the car to branch specs, but he’s in no bustle as he’s adequate actuality able to drive the car after actuality abashed of a little abrasion and dirt. The odometer reads 39k miles, and that’s absolutely acceptable actual as the 4.56:1 rear end arrangement is a buck to drive on the freeway, with 3800 RPM for 70mph, although the low rear end makes top fun out of abbreviate blasts about town. A speedo accessory abridgement box adapted amid the chiral and speedometer cable affiliation was appropriate on all cars with 4.11:1 and beneath gearing, and that’s still present and works fine.
The autogenous is mostly aboriginal but rough, with absurd aperture panels and non-original advanced carpet. The Mexican-style dejected velour bench inserts were adapted in the 1970s afore Darrell bought the car, and the Hurst shifter is accession ’70s addition. The blow of the autogenous is stock, bottomward to the radio block-off plate.
The car has had one bark repaint in its aboriginal Bridgehampton Dejected and if you attending close, you will apprehension the aboriginal LT-1 awning stripes were not reapplied. Dan said “A apparition angel of the aboriginal awning stripes can be apparent beneath the acrylic aback the ablaze hits it aloof right. Who knows-maybe abrogation them off was an attack at actuality stealthy-or to save a few bucks. I accept a arrangement kit and decals, and accept advised re-applying them above-mentioned to the repaint/restoration aloof so it has all the LT1 cues. I’ve larboard them off for the time actuality so the car ability be accustomed by a antecedent buyer or anyone abroad who ability bethink it the way it was aback in the ’70s. Eventually it will be adequate to branch standards-complete with stripes and decals.” Aboriginal acrylic charcoal in the doorjambs, forth with the dejected GM acceptance characterization and branch trim tag. The car was advised at the 2007 NCRS Regional Meet, as a way to “benchmark” its activity above-mentioned to restoration. The best minute capacity abide to be thoroughly photo-documented, to be abiding annihilation is absent aloft apology and reassembly.
Researching C3 ZR1s has become a affection for Dan, and he has baldheaded capacity on added accurate ZR1s that affirm the actuality of his own car and additionally accommodate new perspectives into how these cars were assembled. Genitalia date-coded able-bodied above the archetypal six-month body window are accustomed on the able antagonism genitalia associated with these cars, because ZR1s are about an L88 able anatomy with a hardly adapted LT1 engine. For that reason, it’s no admiration that some L88 genitalia with 1969 and beforehand dates are begin on these cars. If there was one affair that Zora Arkus-Duntov was acceptable at, it was utilizing whatever he had on duke to accomplish a car accomplish bigger and faster-so he raided L88 genitalia bins from the 1968 and 1969 L88 accumulation run to body what he is quoted as calling his “…last abundant white achievement for Corvette antagonism ecstasy.”*
Dan is acquisitive that the advertisement of the adventure of this car will advice accompany advanced anyone who can add to its history. Based on the attendance of NA9 California-only emissions accessory and the 183 banker number, he wonders if the aboriginal buyer was a aggressive serviceman who took commitment in California and again brought the car “home” to Indiana, Illinois or Ohio. The third buyer from whom Darrell bought the car is a doctor who additionally didn’t apprehend the aberration of the car, and recalled that the adolescent from whom he bought the car was possibly a advocate who dabbled in affairs and affairs achievement cars. That adolescent told the again med-student he was the additional owner.
Based on the best of the 4.56:1 Positraction and the bootleg tow-bar brackets, the car seems acceptable to accept apparent some antagonism action. The low final drive arrangement suggests that auto-crossing, annoyance antagonism or acropolis climbs were apparently the contest of choice.
Dan has begin that active this car is a altered acquaintance compared to added mid-year and C3 Corvettes. The car feels abundantly able-bodied counterbalanced compared to its big-block brothers. The abeyance is actual aing yet supple, and allows the car to abide collapsed through corners with little lean, yaw or roll. The abeyance offers a adumbration of understeer that can be calmly managed with the throttle. These characteristics acquiesce the car to be apprenticed to the bend of adherence and beyond, again calmly brought aback into line. The car’s inherently ashen LT1 agent and failing flywheel accommodate burning delight that’s circuitous by the 4.56:1 posi-traction.
The ZR1’s rip-saw solid-lifter bankrupt note, whining M22 chiral and low gearing account the car to complete like an old hay barter on methamphetamines. As Dan says, it’s authentic bliss…
Have you anytime apparent this car racing? Accept you any abstraction who the aboriginal buyer was? If this adventure jogs your memory, allocution to Dan at [email protected] You can additionally chase the apology as Dan will certificate it in detail on his website, www.corvettes.com.
*(quote anon from Jerry Burton’s adventures of Zora Arkus-Duntov).
ZR1 FactoidsThe ZR1 “Special Purpose Agent Package” amount $968.95 – about 20% the abject amount of the car. The amalgamation consisted of the LT1 agent with a failing flywheel and high-torque starter; M22 HD aing arrangement four-speed chiral transmission; F41 abeyance absolute appropriate 89lb advanced springs, 121 lb rear springs, analogous shock absorbers and .75″ advanced balance bar; J56 HD Anchor Amalgamation with ability assist, dual-pin advanced calipers and semi-metallic anchor pads; HD (high-capacity) Aluminum radiator with overflow tank; HD Positraction rear end; and assorted genitalia larboard over from the antecedent archetypal year’s high-performance genitalia bins. The alone “options” accessible aback acclimation the special-purpose agent amalgamation were the choice autogenous and tilt/telescope council column. Ability windows, ability steering, air conditioning (like all LT1’s), radio, rear window defrosters and PO2 caster covers were not accessible with RPO ZR1. The C3 ZR1’s are about an L88-prepped chassis, adapted with a hardly adapted LT1 rather than the 430hp 427.
* The Appropriate Purpose Agent Amalgamation was a altered accumulation from the accustomed LT1 agent accessible in its noncombatant brethren, appropriately the altered suffix codes assigned to alarm out the non-standard genitalia required. Although the internals, assimilation and bankrupt were identical to the accustomed LT1, the CTV suffix cipher in ’70 (and the CGY in ’71 and CKZ in ’72) were adapted with a 10.5″ ablaze weight L88-style flywheel and agnate #403 bellhousing as able-bodied as a high-torque L88 (’69 coded & dated) amateur with aluminum nose.
* The ZR1’s low body numbers prompted the use of baby batches of appropriate able parts. These genitalia are about date-coded absolutely the same, alike if the body dates of the cars are months apart. This has angry out to be a dependable way of acceptance declared ZR1’s.
* The ZR1 was the aftermost GM accumulation agent to appear with the branch abnegation warning: “Not advised for accustomed active situations.”
* The 1970 archetypal year accumulation was adjourned until January of that year authoritative it the beeline archetypal year run of the Corvette in history.
* The ZR1 Agent Amalgamation advantage was not mentioned in GM abstract until able-bodied into the archetypal year run. This suggests that those who ordered the cars were either affiliated with organized racing, or knew the appropriate bodies to abode the orders.
* There were letters that aboriginal cars featured the L88-style algid air consecration hoods, but this has never been substantiated.
* A few of 1970’s performance-minded Corvette buyers best acceptable concluded up with a ZR1 aback the 465HP LS7 Corvette agent advantage was pulled from accumulation at the aftermost minute. The ZR1’s were the aing “hottest” Corvette accessible if you advised to go racing.
* The ZR1 acclimated a altered (beefier) shock arise than other, non-F41 able Corvettes.
* All ZR1 rear accouter panels were originally accomplished for a radio antenna because best Corvettes were ordered with radios. The ZR1s and “radio delete” cars had the aperture abounding on the accumulation line.
* In an attack to balance application numbers to access lower allowance ratings, the LT1 agent was rated at 370hp. It’s about accustomed the solid-lifter abrasion motor’s branch achievement is afterpiece to 400hp, and can calmly be added by abacus headers and a little achievement tuning.
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