It was the first week of June and, after many long hours of work, theKeisler Maximum Overdrive '65 Corvette was ready for the Hot Rod PowerTour. Of course, like any project, we were down to the wire and neededmore time to finish a few things. The car ran well and the A/C wasblowing cold, which was a good thing since we were going into theheartland in the summer.
Late into the project, we were informed the Keisler-engineered Tremecfive-speed overdrive transmission installed previously would be swappedwith the original Muncie four-speed. The idea was to record fuel mileageon the first half of the Power Tour with the old unit, then reinstallthe Tremec for the final half. We had to install the body and interior,and finish the cold-air hood and intake plenum for the GMPP Ram-Jetelectronic-fuel-injected engine in record time.
We hoped to leave with a mini- caravan for Arlington, Texas, on Thursdaymorning, but were still assembling the interior and wrapping up the A/Cinstallation Wednesday afternoon. We wouldn't be ready for a Thursdaydeparture, and Friday would be a stretch.
At times, it seemed the easy way would be to cut corners and get on theroad. But each segment of a major project takes considerable time, andrushing through usually bites you in the end. Spending the time up frontmakes the trip more enjoyable and prevents downtime chasing parts andtools.
Sometime after dinner Thursday night, we realized an all-night sprintwas necessary in order to leave Friday at anytime. My wife, Hope, anddaughters, Stacy and Stephanie, stayed with me into the wee hours. Myson-in-law, Steve, worked on the brakes and underside while the rest ofus finished the interior chores.
We set up the car with the Keisler-modified Tremec five-speed overdrivetransmission; we had the speedo certified earlier. Now we had to replacethe transmission with the Muncie four-speed for speedo certification.The five-speed Tremec was removed around 2 a.m. Friday. As thefour-speed and pieces were readied for installation, we realized wedidn't have the correct clutch disc.
Our only option was to wait until 8 a.m. for a clutch disc and makepreparations for a speedy transmission installation. Hope kept up thepace, smoothing the cold-air-intake plenum box while I finished theinterior. She stayed with me until the sun came up, and worked hard onthe cold-air intake. As we watched the sun come through the open garagebay door, we realized we would make it to the Power Tour.
We found the correct clutch disc, and within a short while, thetransmission was in and the '65 was ready for a ride to the speedo shopfor certification. I quickly realized I should have no problem stayingawake on the run to Texas because of the roar from the factory sidepipes at 75 mph and 4,000 rpm. Spike, a friend who was part of thecaravan, stayed behind for moral support and any help he could provide.He loaded the car while I got ready for the trip. We headed out at 3p.m. At that point, the car had been driven approximately 30 miles sincethe total transformation.
Spike jumped in my '90 Corvette convertible and we headed towardTallahassee, Florida. We made it west of Pensacola on Friday night. Theroar from the '65 side pipes was deafening, and fatigue won.
The next morning, we checked the fluids and were on our way by 7 a.m. Tovary engine speed during engine break-in, we ran between 2,500 and 4,000rpm.
We decided a jog north on some secondary roads would break the monotony.We found an Ultimate Carwash and Quick lube facility in Hattiesburg,Mississippi, for an early oil change on the fresh engine.
The manager, Louis, let us go into the pit to look for leaks or anythingthat needed attention. We found a slight oil leak at the valve-coverpush-in breather grommets. The power-steering fluid was also leakingslightly from the fill cap.