file 1969 Chevrolet Corvette LS3 T56 6-Speed Conversion at V8 Speed & Resto Shop

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05 Jul 2017 16:07 - 28 Feb 2018 11:30 #3793 by oestek
oestek created the topic: 1969 Chevrolet Corvette LS3 T56 6-Speed Conversion at V8 Speed & Resto Shop
1969 Chevrolet Corvette LS3 T56 6-Speed Conversion at V8 Speed & Resto Shop

Corvettes all have history, and this clean 1969 Corvette Roadster is no different. It was built in the 4th week of March in 1969 at the St. Louis Corvette plant, and was originally equipped with a 300 HP 350 cube V8 and a 4-speed manual transmission. The first buyer sprung for the fiberglass hardtop for his Monza Red roadster, but other options were limited to headrests for the bucket seats.

As time went by, the original engine disappeared and was replaced by a remanufactured 350, and the car was repainted and fitted with a 427 hood. Polished wheels were added, and the suspension was improved with a composite monospring kit, powder coated coils, front and rear anti-sway bars, Bilstein sport gas shocks, and polyurethane adjustable struts. Wear items were replaced including ball joints, a heavy duty idler arm, new control arm bushings, and a differential crossmember reinforcing kit, u-joints and heavy duty offset trailing arms were installed. The brakes were refreshed with sleeved calipers and a new master cylinder, in about 2001, and our customer bought the car as you see it in 2009.

But by that time, the 350 was showing signs of wear, and the car didn’t run that well. In fact, our customer was only able to drive the car a few hundred miles over his ownership time because it was unreliable and didn’t deliver the performance he wanted.

So he gave us a call at the V8 Speed & Resto Shop where a new plan was made for the Corvette, consisting of more power, better braking, increased reliability and economy in a car that retained it’s classic look. The heart of the recipe calls for a GM Performance Parts LS3 crate engine with Holley EFI and a Tremec T56 6-speed manual transmission from Modern Driveline. Follow along as the V8 Speed & Resto Shop crew complete this transformation and add some additional upgrades from Vintage Air, Detroit Speed, Hydratech Braking, Dakota Digital, Tanks, Inc., Custom Autosound, Wilwood brakes, and MagnaFlow Exhaust, and YearOne wheels.

The purists will cringe, but the original engine and suspension parts are long gone, so this car is being re-built to do what Corvettes are supposed to do… DRIVE!!


Kevin Oeste
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Last Edit: 28 Feb 2018 11:30 by oestek.

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21 Aug 2017 21:57 #3849 by oestek
oestek replied the topic: 1969 Chevrolet Corvette LS3 T56 6-Speed Conversion at V8 Speed & Resto Shop
The existing small block Chevy in the Corvette was in a pretty poor state of tune, we could barely keep it alive long enough to get it on the trailer to bring it to our shop. The battery was dead from sitting, and the float was stuck in the carb. Even after we freed the float, it was not a happy engine.








The car is pretty clean, and the interior is pretty good for a driver.




Kevin Oeste
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21 Aug 2017 21:57 #3850 by oestek
oestek replied the topic: 1969 Chevrolet Corvette LS3 T56 6-Speed Conversion at V8 Speed & Resto Shop
The radio says “Corvette” in case you forget what you are driving, or the badge right above somehow becomes obscured.



We perform a complete inspection on all the cars that come into the V8 Speed & Resto Shop, and here, Trevor checks out the original 4-piston brakes. Corvettes were always known for decent braking performance, but we have plans for better binders from Wilwood on this one.





The car has a few little secrets like this bumper mount ouchie, but it’s intended to be driven and not shown. Maybe some day the exterior will be restored, but for now, it’s all performance upgrades.


Kevin Oeste
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21 Aug 2017 21:58 #3851 by oestek
oestek replied the topic: 1969 Chevrolet Corvette LS3 T56 6-Speed Conversion at V8 Speed & Resto Shop
The bottom side is clean… even though Corvettes are fiberglass bodied cars, you have to make sure the frame isn’t all rusty underneath. This is definitely a good one.



After the inspection, the crew made the plan of attack on the conversion from mundane to in-sane. Well, not insane, but up about 300 HP from the beginning. Sure is a handsome devil.


Kevin Oeste
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17 Sep 2017 18:57 #3859 by oestek
oestek replied the topic: 1969 Chevrolet Corvette LS3 T56 6-Speed Conversion at V8 Speed & Resto Shop
The day came to start the tear-down of the Corvette to get the project rolling. We started on the interior on this on, prepping the works for the Vintage Air A/C install and Detroit Speed windshield wiper motor. Here, Caleb puts his favorite screwdriver to the test.



Corvettes have tight quarters, so working on them can be a challenge. Caleb pulled the sunvisors, then moved to the dash pad and glove “pouch” on the front of the dash.











Kevin Oeste
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17 Sep 2017 18:57 #3860 by oestek
oestek replied the topic: 1969 Chevrolet Corvette LS3 T56 6-Speed Conversion at V8 Speed & Resto Shop
The original heater box came out, as the new Vintage Air system will replace this one.



Backside of Corvette’s center gauge panel. This will be replaced with a Dakota Digital unit.



Removing the center section with the radio and gauges. Note the extensive use of Scotch Lock connectors… these are not very reliable, so they will all be jettisoned and replaced by proper wiring.



Center panel is out, the housing will be reused, but with all new innards. Should be cool.


Kevin Oeste
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