Paint & Body Special Section
One 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.
Although the OEM hoods found on '76 corvettes have a stylish center kick-up, it isn't enou
The hood hinge arrangement in a c3 corvette is a simple affair, held in with two bolts to
Removing the hood can best be accomplished with a helper on the other side. Remove the bol
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.
Placed side by side, the l88 hood's additional height and more flamboyant style are readil
There was approximately an inch and a half more depth to the aftermarket l-88 hood compare
The hood-latch hardware bolts to the hood at each rear corner, with a cable linkage connec
When the factory produced this style of hood, it was used in conjunction with the separate windshield wiper cover panel, while Corvettes of later vintage had full-length hoods that terminated at the base of the windshield. Hoods produced in this later style are referred to as "long" hoods due to their longer length.
The Keen Parts hood has the threaded inserts to accept the stock latch hardware, and the p
As with removing the stock hood, a helper is a big bonus when installing the replacement.
We like to remove the hood catch for the hinge adjustment since the catch will grab and sh
We spoke to Tom Keen, of Keen Parts, looking for a custom hood to meet our need. Keen had exactly what we were looking for-a bolt-on, L-88 long hood for our '76 Corvette.
Since we are preparing to paint our project, it seemed like the correct time to make all the body modifications we've dreamt about come true. The fit of any aftermarket product is an unknown quantity when the part is taken out of the box, so although the hood will be painted separately off the car when it is time to lay down the fresh color, fitting it to the car now, in the preparation stage, was imperative. It is sometimes necessary to make modifications to edges to get perfect panel gaps, and in some instances, the contours of the hood need reworking for a perfect match to the sweeping lines of a C3 Corvette. After the final color is applied, it is too late to make any modifications, and awkward to try and figure out how to make adjustments without damaging the finish. The plan was to complete the installation and fitting, make any modifications as required, and then remove the hood for the final paint application.
Fore-and-aft and side-to-side adjustment is made at the hinges, while the height at the le
Lower the hood slowly to avoid catching at the leading edge, pointed out here. Once the ho
Aggressive is the only word to describe the look of an l-88 hood. We can't wait to get the
We were more than a little surprised to find just how well the Keen Parts hood fit our Corvette. From end to end and all around, the gaps proved more than acceptable, with only basic adjustment performed at the hinges. All the stock hood hardware bolted in place without modification, and the hood sat at a level plane with the body contour without shimming, tweaking, or adding putty. The product was exceptional. Surveying the installed hood on our custom coupe, the looks were just what we were after-an outrageous mix of Chevrolet at its wildest and a Corvette that just screams performance.
|DIFFICULTY INDEX NN |
|ANYONE'S PROJECT | no tools required ||N |
|BEGINNER | basic tools ||NN |
|EXPERIENCED | special tools ||NNN |
|ACCOMPLISHED | special tools and outside help ||NNNN |
|PROFESSIONALS ONLY | send this work out ||NNNNN |