April 2014

Roger Judski’s ZL-1

Roger_4040The story of one of the rarest Corvettes ever produced

(based on excerpts from an article written by Pat Stivers –as originally published in the March/April 1985 issue of Corvette Fever magazine)

Photography by Colin Date

The next best thing to owning a one-of-a-kind Corvette is owning a two-of-a-kind Corvette. The ZL-1 option package was almost as though GM made a last grand stand salute to the big-blocks before the emission controlled economy cars took over the highways of the 1970s. Mandatory with the L88 special Turbo Jet 427 package was the F41 special purpose suspension, a heavy duty transmission, Posi-traction rear end, transistorized ignition, and a heavy duty braking system. The ZL-1 option consisted merely of an aluminum cylinder block. The combined package added $4100 to the price of the car at the time. The L88 package was a $1100 option and the special ZL-1 aluminum cylinder and case cost an additional $3000, making this combination a big, big ticket in 1969. Only two Corvettes had been factory assembled with this ZL-1 aluminum engine option. That alone is enough to thrill a Corvette owner, but this car’s history turned out to be truly unique. This car was originally ordered as a company car, by the Corvette plant resident engineer in St. Louis– George H. Heberling. His rationale in ordering it was that such a production vehicle would benefit from an evaluation in actual use by one of the plant’s personnel. The car was ordered with all available options, resulting in a sticker price of $10,771. Continue reading

Corvette mania!

PA-VetteBy Colin Date

Kind of like Beatle mania– sort of, anyway; there are a few similarities. The Corvette took a few of years to catch on and then it ignited like wildfire. It had a huge run for a long stretch and then came some darker periods; great and not so great. Overall, The Beatles live on in our hearts and memories as one of the greatest rock/pop bands ever. The Corvette – with its incredible history and its brilliant resurgence since the advent of the C6 (and now C7), has forever cemented its place in our hearts as the greatest, and America’s only, Sports Car.

I’m sure we all have our favorites and maybe you’ll disagree with my opening statements (regarding both the Corvette and The Beatles). That’s fine. I’ll go on record right now. Personally speaking– the 1963 through 1967 “mid-year” Corvettes were pure magic; the epitome of style, power, and attitude. I’ve never owned one, but find myself wishing I did. Continue reading

Removal and replacement of timing chain

timing-chain-Photo-5Story and photography by Colin Date

Although replacing the timing chain in itself is a simple task, the multitude of steps one must take in order to access this area of the motor can be quite involved, but the cost savings are significant (vs. having a professional shop to the job). If the motor is already out of the car and perched nicely on an engine stand, most of the dirty work is done. However, if it’s necessary to perform the deed with the motor still in its cradle, the job may be slightly more challenging. But don’t be discouraged. This is how we all learn, right?

We first need to access the timing cover. That means all accessories blocking the path to the cover and chain must go. Remove all braces, brackets, and hoses that may interfere as well. The more room you allow yourself, the better! Be sure to fully drain the cooling system prior to removing the water pump, thermostat housing, or any cooling lines. You may find it beneficial to pull the radiator for extra clearance too.
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