Topic: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

Hello, in this week’s YouTube video regarding the BMW powered C3, they rip on the Corvette’s frame, differential, and 350 sbc.  My question is if the Corvette can’t handle the demands of a race, how does an ordinary coupe or sedan?  Or is there something about the Corvette and 350s that make them particularly bad for endurance racing?

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

Cheap Corvettes are weird in endurance racing, for some reason.  They just never seem to do that well.  Maybe it's that they invite people to drive them past their mechanical limits?  I don't know.  There were two C4s at CMP for the 24, and, I believe one finished the race, and the other almost did, but mechanical troubles sidelined them to the point that they got beat by a Volvo 850, a Buick Century, and a Kia Sephia.Strangely, all of them were from the mid-90s, and the Volvo ran into a transmission problem partway through the race that basically limited them to 60mph.  So, yeah, weirdly, you're likely better off in a 'regular' sedan than you are in a Corvette.  I'm sure others can pontificate further on why. 

The problems with a 350 small block, or any small block Chevy, really, is that they don't like to rev.  They last forever and ever on the street because they spend the overwhelming majority of their time below 3k rpm, and many even lower than that.  When you take them on track and start revving them to 6k rpm at every shift, well, they don't do so well.  Many teams have made SBCs work just fine, but, almost all of them will tell you that they keep the revs down, and make sure to have plenty of oil.  Which, really, is the solution to keeping just about any engine alive in Lemons - don't rev it (cut at least 1k rpm off of the redline), keep plenty of oil circulating, and, for God's sake, keep it cool!

Semi-Sentient Centenarians
1996 Buick Century - we upgraded our crappy GM sedan with parts from a crappy GM minivan.
"It's got a van motor, a 220 cubic inch plant, it's got van tires, van suspension, van shocks. It's a model with the catalytic converters ripped out so
     it'll run good on regular gas. What do you say, is it a racecar or what?" - Blues Brothers, Probably

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

I think that by the time a C3 sinks into Lemons territory, it already has significant issues.  Rust being the most likely.  I think the C3s rear end issue centers around the transverse spring and squatting taking out the halfshafts.  As mentioned SBCs (and SBFs) both are blow uppy in Lemons.  They certainly can be made to last at RPM but it takes some serious money.  All of the issues are solvable and have been solved but it takes money to fix all that which takes it out of Lemons territory.  In general, it's really not a great platform to take endurance racing which is why its perfect for Lemons.

1990 RX7 "Mazdarita"  1964 Sunbeam Imp (IOE 2013 Sears Pointless) 2002 Jaguar x-type (Winner C-Class 2021 Sears Pointless)
Gone bye-bye
1994 Jaguar XJ12 (Winner C-Class 2013 Sears Pointless)  1980 Rover SD1 (I Got Screwed 2014 Return of Lemonites)

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

With a few exceptions, anything you think you know about reliability from the street has no bearing on reliability in Lemons endurance racing.  Engine examples that are the paragon of street reliability but have been insanely unreliable in our series include the Toyota 20/22R, Honda B-series and the traditional SBC 350.

Engines that should not be reliable but are include the Alfa V6 (technically, the most reliable engine in Lemons), Caddy HT4100, the stupid Hyundai/Kia 2.0, and the Olds 307.

As far as chassis, the C3 never was considered a great handling car and any semi-modern (90's or newer) Honda Accord or Dodge Neon can run circles around it.

Almost all the engine issues for the SBC can be mitgated with excellent cooling of both water and oil coupled with a low rev limit.  Not that this is the same, but many folks have blown up multiple Buick 3800's in Lemons while our NA motor has at least 12 races (call it north of 4000 race miles) and our Supercharged L67 has at least 7 races on it...but we have a STRICTLY enforced rule that neither ever goes over 4600 RPMS and the shift light on the L67 is set at 4400.

A different note on C3 and C4 Corvettes...they are very difficult to cage successfully and meet the helmet restrictions.  Also, damn they are long.  Tiny Miata's are easier to cage successfully and boy can good drivers fit them through slots a Corvette only dreamed of.  This coming from guy that races a 1947 Plymouth Sedan, a 1995 Dustbuster minivan and 4th gen Camero (also a pain to cage)!

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

Yea you need to rely on raw pawer with a vette to overcome its size. To do that means lots and lots of cheaty money or lots and lots of brokey, brokey.

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!", Ex Astris, Rubigo / Semper Fracti
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)
2018 Route Sucky-Suck Rally Miata, 2019 World Tour Of Texas 64 Newport

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

Guildenstern wrote:

Yea you need to rely on raw pawer with a vette to overcome its size. To do that means lots and lots of cheaty money or lots and lots of brokey, brokey.

/agree

Most people don't realize that 3rd generation Corvettes are actually really heavy for their size.

1992 Saturn SL2 (retired) - Elmo's Revenge -  Class B winner, Heroic Fix winner x2
1969 Rover P6B 3500S(sold) - Super G-Rover - I.O.E Winner, Class C Winner
1996 Saturn SW2 - Elmo's Revenge (reborn!), Saturn SL1  Dazzleshipm Class C winner
1974 AMC Javelin - Oscar's Trash heap - IOE,”Organizer's Choice" and "I got Screwed" award winner

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

The is no reason a properly prepared C3 cannot compete and dominate. I suspect it has to do with the build. Even a low-performance mid 70's 350 can make 350+hp w/o much of an issue. C5/6 brake kits are available and work very well. C3's are farily heavy so good brakes are important. Moog sells springs in various rates/sizes. The aftermarket for these cars is huge. You can run HUGE tires.  A well prepped 350 and T-10 could easily last an endurance race. Gen II F-body's also do very well. I'm guessing the initial cost is the biggest issue as why you don't see more of  them in Lemons. You are starting to see more in Champ/Chumpcar where cost isn't a factor.

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

8 (edited by TrenchFoot 2020-11-09 04:16 PM)

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

The frame on Aaron's C3 was a mess from the factory and made worse by whoever tried to fit mud tires on it. Corvettes of that era were just shitty. With the body removed the frame was a bendy noodle that needed a lot of triangles to make it kinda stiff. Also, because of the low ground clearance, weird frame geometry, and low roof he had to get approval for his cage design in advance.

To the OP's question, the C3 may be "America's sports car" but 90% of the cars on the road today would fare better in Lemons than a C3 Corvette. It's also damn near the hardest to build a cage for. Consider that the Plastic Fantastic could have been made in a Bayliner factory. Imagine trying to cage a Bayliner...

Get an Aerostar, Outback, Volvo wagon, Sedan de Ville, or a Lada and save yourself the C3 headaches. Just because it's marketed as "sporty" doesn't mean it can survive on a track for 14 hours.

Low Road Racing:  Stylemaster/Mustang II/Sunbird/Spirit AMX

We will not compromise our morals and build anything but a class C car.
"You take the high road, we'll take the low."

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

Despite people's memories, old cars weren't very good.

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/artic … s-revenge/

Eric mentioned to me once "well I might hesitate to put that new'ish horrible car in class C, it might just turn slow laps all weekend and win on reliability" or something like that.

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

Thread is a bummer!  I periodically see dirt cheap C3's and thought one would make a good Lemons car.

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

bulletpruf wrote:

Thread is a bummer!  I periodically see dirt cheap C3's and thought one would make a good Lemons car.


I don’t disagree. Stay tuned smile

#289 1984 Corvette Z51 (the road goes on forever…)
#111 Tradewinds Tribesmen VW Passat Inde ‘20 (‘21 too) Thunderhill ‘22!
Gone but not forgotten, #427-Hong Kong Cavaliers Benz S500: formerly known as OMG Racing #140
Other foolishness: Finisher of Hell on Wheels (Jaguar) IOE (Humber)

12 (edited by chaase 2021-11-29 07:28 AM)

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

bulletpruf wrote:

Thread is a bummer!  I periodically see dirt cheap C3's and thought one would make a good Lemons car.

Given enough time and energy, anything can be a "good" Lemons car. We stopped running the Rover after it won Class C because we didn't want to invest the time and $$$ to make it better. If you really want to run a C3 in Lemons, do it You could be one of the first teams to do it.

1992 Saturn SL2 (retired) - Elmo's Revenge -  Class B winner, Heroic Fix winner x2
1969 Rover P6B 3500S(sold) - Super G-Rover - I.O.E Winner, Class C Winner
1996 Saturn SW2 - Elmo's Revenge (reborn!), Saturn SL1  Dazzleshipm Class C winner
1974 AMC Javelin - Oscar's Trash heap - IOE,”Organizer's Choice" and "I got Screwed" award winner

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

bulletpruf wrote:

Thread is a bummer!  I periodically see dirt cheap C3's and thought one would make a good Lemons car.

Don't mistake the tone of this thread: A C3 Corvette will make a good Lemons car. Without a lot of work, it won't make a fast or competitive Lemons car.

I know of one C3 that is built for Lemons and would have beaten Aaron's BMW-powered C3 as first, but the team building it had to redesign the cage and then had life intervene. They were at Gingerman in October with video proof of it running (ie Doing a burnout in their small farmtown, ie Using up 25-50 laps of Lemons engine in one go), but didn't have time to put in some of the finer details so they blew some of the leaves out of their old pile and raced that.

To be clear: It has the original running gear and they have no illusions about it as a good car. The chassis feels floppy and it handles like a dump truck. The frame is roughly the same as that on a '55 Chevy with about as much power as an original Small-Block Chevy V8. Yeah, you can make the 350 breathe and you can make the suspension work and you can make the car stop (I'd do this far before the other things), but you're always making it hard on yourself.

Ergo, it's perfect for Lemons, not least because CORVETTE PEOPLE will screech and retch at its existence in Lemons.

Eric Rood
Everything Bagel, 24 Hours of Lemons
eric@24hoursoflemons.com

14 (edited by Guildenstern 2021-12-05 01:59 AM)

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

bulletpruf wrote:

Thread is a bummer!  I periodically see dirt cheap C3's and thought one would make a good Lemons car.

It does make a good Lemons car, and a damn pretty one! It does not make it a good Race Car. But you're at Lemons.

Bonus points if you put a janky shooting brake back on it.

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!", Ex Astris, Rubigo / Semper Fracti
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)
2018 Route Sucky-Suck Rally Miata, 2019 World Tour Of Texas 64 Newport

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

Not sure why people think a C3 would make a terrible race car. The frame can be made tight, the cage takes care of part of that. It has very good balance, it has independent rear suspension w/ LSD. You can stick huge tires under it, there are bazillions of aftermarket parts available for cheap. The 200hp 350 can be turned into 300 in under a weekend. The initial cost is the biggest restriction. Not sure what the OP means by cheap, because I have been looking at buying one (for a driver) and even ones that need a ton of work are going for 4k+.

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

16 (edited by chaase 2021-12-05 11:10 AM)

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

Mr.Yuck wrote:

Not sure why people think a C3 would make a terrible race car. The frame can be made tight, the cage takes care of part of that. It has very good balance, it has independent rear suspension w/ LSD. You can stick huge tires under it, there are bazillions of aftermarket parts available for cheap. The 200hp 350 can be turned into 300 in under a weekend. The initial cost is the biggest restriction. Not sure what the OP means by cheap, because I have been looking at buying one (for a driver) and even ones that need a ton of work are going for 4k+.

I see cheapish ones around here but Long Island is also Corvette central. Tons and tons of people drive them around here. I won't discourage anyone from doing it but these are the things to note.

1) They are heavy - Curb weight of 3500lbs
2) They are hard to cage - body on frame with very low roof line
3) In stock form, they are slow because of the weight (200hp is generous for the mid-late 70's cars)
4) The 350's are not known for being reliable in Lemons. You can fix this but it costs money to upgrade.
5) If you've never driven one, sight lines suck. I am 6' tall and i can barely see over the fenders when I drove one around. You are basically sitting on the ground.

Here is a Lemons candidate

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/it … ecc69b6080

Craiglist occasionally has one.

1992 Saturn SL2 (retired) - Elmo's Revenge -  Class B winner, Heroic Fix winner x2
1969 Rover P6B 3500S(sold) - Super G-Rover - I.O.E Winner, Class C Winner
1996 Saturn SW2 - Elmo's Revenge (reborn!), Saturn SL1  Dazzleshipm Class C winner
1974 AMC Javelin - Oscar's Trash heap - IOE,”Organizer's Choice" and "I got Screwed" award winner

17 (edited by Guildenstern 2021-12-06 12:36 AM)

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

Mr.Yuck wrote:

Not sure why people think a C3 would make a terrible race car. The frame can be made tight, the cage takes care of part of that. It has very good balance, it has independent rear suspension w/ LSD. You can stick huge tires under it, there are bazillions of aftermarket parts available for cheap. The 200hp 350 can be turned into 300 in under a weekend. The initial cost is the biggest restriction. Not sure what the OP means by cheap, because I have been looking at buying one (for a driver) and even ones that need a ton of work are going for 4k+.

You take a perfectly ok suspension, then put a whole Bass Boat full of fiberglass on it. And not thin fiberglass, Sloppy 60 and 70's fiberglass. In Lemons you generally want to go the other way with a 350 if you want to see a few full weekends. So 200 doesn't become 300 it becomes a de-rated 160hp running through fairly tall gearing. (and that's before you add 40 years of worn to hell to the engines horsepower output)

They make ok "REAL RACING" cars with enough money to throw at it. But so does anything. So does a cheaper lighter late C4.

In Lemons, If you can control yourself with the tach, you'll be mid pack at best watching 90's sedans walking you.

Also as Chaase posted, the magic number is 1980's the WORST C3's

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!", Ex Astris, Rubigo / Semper Fracti
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)
2018 Route Sucky-Suck Rally Miata, 2019 World Tour Of Texas 64 Newport

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

Guildenstern wrote:
Mr.Yuck wrote:

Not sure why people think a C3 would make a terrible race car. The frame can be made tight, the cage takes care of part of that. It has very good balance, it has independent rear suspension w/ LSD. You can stick huge tires under it, there are bazillions of aftermarket parts available for cheap. The 200hp 350 can be turned into 300 in under a weekend. The initial cost is the biggest restriction. Not sure what the OP means by cheap, because I have been looking at buying one (for a driver) and even ones that need a ton of work are going for 4k+.

You take a perfectly ok suspension, then put a whole Bass Boat full of fiberglass on it. And not thin fiberglass, Sloppy 60 and 70's fiberglass. In Lemons you generally want to go the other way with a 350 if you want to see a few full weekends. So 200 doesn't become 300 it becomes a de-rated 160hp running through fairly tall gearing. (and that's before you add 40 years of worn to hell to the engines horsepower output)

They make ok "REAL RACING" cars with enough money to throw at it. But so does anything. So does a cheaper lighter late C4.

In Lemons, If you can control yourself with the tach, you'll be mid pack at best watching 90's sedans walking you.

Also as Chaase posted, the magic number is 1980's the WORST C3's

Our 305 is probably 275, maybe a little more. We shift at 5800. It is nothing special. Home ported heads, good rebuild kit, Used comp cam, ported intake, good replacement parts. Been together more than a few weekends. Same amount of work on a 350 would result in much more power. C4 is a much better car for racing for sure... and typically cheaper to buy.

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

I guess it all depends on what you are trying to do.  Are you trying to go fast?  A typical LeMon grade prep v6 Camry would probably smoke it in an endurance race.  Are you trying to do something like the C3/BMW in the PNW?  Perfectly sound idea.  Can a C3 be made to go fast?  Sure, with enough $$$$ and effort.  Those last two statements are true of any car ever built.  You can build a C3, just don't have unrealistic expectations of it.

1990 RX7 "Mazdarita"  1964 Sunbeam Imp (IOE 2013 Sears Pointless) 2002 Jaguar x-type (Winner C-Class 2021 Sears Pointless)
Gone bye-bye
1994 Jaguar XJ12 (Winner C-Class 2013 Sears Pointless)  1980 Rover SD1 (I Got Screwed 2014 Return of Lemonites)

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

cheseroo wrote:

I guess it all depends on what you are trying to do.  Are you trying to go fast?  A typical LeMon grade prep v6 Camry would probably smoke it in an endurance race.  Are you trying to do something like the C3/BMW in the PNW?  Perfectly sound idea.  Can a C3 be made to go fast?  Sure, with enough $$$$ and effort.  Those last two statements are true of any car ever built.  You can build a C3, just don't have unrealistic expectations of it.

Like I said, it is an expensive car to start with, but parts are pretty cheap. A C4 is better and can be found cheaper. All these old cars are getting expensive. I'd like to run a 71-72 Roadrunner/satellite. but jeesh a bare body in rust is 3-4k. Even Fox bodies and Gen III f-body's are getting pricey. People are watching too much Barrett Jackson.

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

Mr.Yuck wrote:

People are watching too much Barrett Jackson.

"This is a 1 of 1 1963 Plymouth Valiant.  Only 4 door in camelstuff brown with ashtray delete but cigarette lighter added, purple vinyl roof and AM/FM 8 track that came with a slant 6 and 3 on the floor"

No dude it's one of a quarter million Valiants, just weirdly optioned.

1990 RX7 "Mazdarita"  1964 Sunbeam Imp (IOE 2013 Sears Pointless) 2002 Jaguar x-type (Winner C-Class 2021 Sears Pointless)
Gone bye-bye
1994 Jaguar XJ12 (Winner C-Class 2013 Sears Pointless)  1980 Rover SD1 (I Got Screwed 2014 Return of Lemonites)

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

Mr.Yuck wrote:

I'd like to run a 71-72 Roadrunner/satellite. but jeesh a bare body in rust is 3-4k. Even Fox bodies and Gen III f-body's are getting pricey. People are watching too much Barrett Jackson.

There is probably a caged, IOE winning Plymouth Satelite for sale on the West coast.

Team whatever_racecar #745 Volvo wagon

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

rb92673 wrote:
Mr.Yuck wrote:

I'd like to run a 71-72 Roadrunner/satellite. but jeesh a bare body in rust is 3-4k. Even Fox bodies and Gen III f-body's are getting pricey. People are watching too much Barrett Jackson.

There is probably a caged, IOE winning Plymouth Satelite for sale on the West coast.

Nope.....Won on Sunday,sold on Monday......

40+x Loser.....You'd think I would learn......
5x I.O.E  Winner   1 Heroic Fix Winner   1 Org Choice Winner
2x  I Got Screwed Winner    2x Class C Winner
(Still a Class B driver in a Class A car)

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

west coast guys have it easy with cars...everything on the right coast is RUSTED

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

Re: Questions regarding C3 Corvettes

cheseroo wrote:
Mr.Yuck wrote:

People are watching too much Barrett Jackson.

"This is a 1 of 1 1963 Plymouth Valiant.  Only 4 door in camelstuff brown with ashtray delete but cigarette lighter added, purple vinyl roof and AM/FM 8 track that came with a slant 6 and 3 on the floor"

No dude it's one of a quarter million Valiants, just weirdly optioned.

yupppppp #'s matching 318 2bbl Charger...so?

"get up and get your grandma outta here"