00. Rick Stoner's immaculate...
00. Rick Stoner's immaculate '64 coupe was the subject of our attention. Built for the road, this Corvette captures the stock appearance, but has been modified with aftermarket components under the hood. The 327/four-speed combination makes for a nice driver, though poor fuel economy and rough running meant the tune was well off its potential. A Jet Performance Products-modified Holley carb and a day at the chassis dyno promised to make it right.
Even for the most diehard do-it-yourselfers, sometimes there's nothing better than just handing it over and saying, "You fix it." Sure, your tool crib may look like a display room for the Craftsman catalog, but chances are that things like a chassis dyno, an exhaust gas analyzer, and boxes of tuning components are not to be found tucked in the corner of your attached two-car garage. A well-equipped dyno shop can work wonders, primping up a soggy power curve and breathing newfound youth into a tired combination.
This was the case with our subject: a 327-equipped '64 coupe. The car did start and drive, and that was a good thing. But bucking, stalling, and an appetite for fuel like a corner drunk's thirst for a jug of Gallo detracted markedly from the driving experience. We remembered the joys of driving a sweet-running, 327-equipped mid-year. The wrinkles in our gray matter hold memories of it being better than this--much better than this. Something needed to be done, a complete physical, if you will, to get to the bottom of this small-block's ailments.
A trip to Westech's chassis dyno was just the therapeutic program to recuperate our ailing coupe. We left the session with the 327 revitalized by 25 more rear-wheel horsepower, a 10 percent gain; but that was only part of the tale. The Corvette's crisper response and more agreeable temperament on the road, not to mention newfound thrift, are harder to quantify, but certainly make the call of the road much more gratifying.
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01. Before beginning the chassis...
01. Before beginning the chassis dyno work, it was worth the time off the dyno clock to take care of the basics. We checked the ignition system and replaced the plugs with a fresh set of Denso's premium iridium plugs.
02. The 327 engine has been...
02. The 327 engine has been rebuilt with stock replacement components, with the exception of a mild Competition Cams XE262 camshaft and valvetrain package, and is supported by an MSD ignition and a Holley carb of unknown origin.
03. Firing the plugs; Stoner's...
03. Firing the plugs; Stoner's car was carrying an MSD distributor, coil, and secondary wires.
04. Hidden low on the driver-side...
04. Hidden low on the driver-side inner fenderwell was an MSD ignition box. With these ignition components, we were confident there was plenty of spark energy for this mild 327.
05. The ignition timing was...
05. The ignition timing was checked and recorded, reading 42 degrees total timing (initial and mechanical advance only; vacuum disconnected) at the damper.
06. Tom Habrzyk, Westech chassis...
06. Tom Habrzyk, Westech chassis dyno operator and tuner, always goes through a safety protocol before running at speed against the dyno's rollers, including checking the knock-offs on this car to ensure they are secure.