Paint & Body Special SectionOne of the potential problem areas for someone looking to install a hot engine in a mid-'70s Corvette is a definite limit on available hood clearance. The price of that sexy, low hood line is that very few custom intake systems will clear beneath it, and, certainly, none of the really high-rise, race-style intake manifolds, even with a small-block.
We have plans to go with an engine set to kill in our modified C3 project car, and a hood swap fit right into our plans. We were all for the wild looks of a custom hood installation, intending to spice up the looks from the conservative '76 piece. Although the stock hood has a fairly significant kick-up in the center, this factory original, cowl-style hood just wasn't going to be enough, either for clearance or aesthetically.
Tastes vary, but to us, there is nothing quite like the Corvette L-88 hood. Originally designed for the baddest of big-blocks, the L-88 hood is a Corvette signature piece-an item that helped define the unrestrained aura of serious performance. It can be argued that this particular design was the most outrageous factory hood offering by any OEM manufacturer, bar none. On looks alone, there is plenty to recommend this swap, but functionally, we did need clearance, and the L-88 hood delivers, offering over 11/2 inches of additional clearance compared to our stock bonnet.