By Brent Davis of www.corvetteonline.com
If the average car enthusiast had a dollar for every minute they spent watching the countless “reality show” car builds on TV, we would probably all have finished project cars. While it is certainly entertaining to watch a car transform over the course of a few days, it can leave you wondering about the quality of the craftsmanship and how that car will perform down the road. When Ridetech decided to take on the challenge of building a car in 48 hours, they figured there should be some sort of way to demonstrate that the work was not only quick, but sound.
For those that do not remember the event, Ridetech took on its first 48 hour build in May 2011, and completed the task with immense success. According to Bret Voelkel, President of Ridetech, “The original 48 Hour concept came about at the 2010 SEMA show during a discussion about there being so many parts available for early [gen] Camaros, that you could bolt one together in a parking lot in a weekend.”
We had the opportunity to speak with Voelkel about the build and after hearing more about it, we are beyond excited to watch this amazing project unfold right before our very eyes. Voelkel explained, “The primary build crew will consist of three teams of three people each. One team will be working in the engine bay, one team under the car, and one team inside of the car. Each team will have one person designated as the team leader… he gets to make the decisions and will expedite any problems with components, fabrication, or tools.”
“In addition, several manufacturers will have their staff on hand to attend to the installation of their particular product. Rick Love from Vintage Air is doing the A/C installation, John McCleod from Classic Instruments is doing the gauges, Michael Manning from American Autowire is doing the wiring, Mike Copeland from Lingenfelter is attending to the engine package, Mark Bowler is doing the transmission, Will Baty from Centerforce is handling the clutch, Gabi Baer and Rick Elam from Baer Brakes will install the brakes, and Robin Lawrence from Holley will be here to tune the EFI. I know that as the build gets closer more manufacturers will have staff in attendance.” While everybody cannot make the event personally, quality products like those of C&R Racing in capable hands should make the installation quick and painless.
The project car is a C3 Corvette that was purchased off eBay, out of Phoenix, Arizona. It is a relatively nice LT1, four-speed car that is fully capable of driving to the Ridetech Build Center on March 10th. We asked what the main reasoning behind selecting a C3 for this build was, and Voelkel responded, “The Corvette market is likely the biggest and most organized car niche in the country today. There are several manufacturers and distributors that specialize in nothing but Corvettes.”
“Up to this point most of these cars have been restored or lightly modified, but recently there is a growing number that have been upgraded with modern drivelines and other amenities. The newer C5, C6, and now C7 Corvettes are such highly refined cars that now the C2 and C3 guys want their cars to perform that way too. We intend to show them how!”
The build schedule will consist of three 16 hour days beginning on March 10th. In the conversation we had with Voelkel, he explained that they specifically chose the split-format compared to a solid 48 hour build for a few reasons.
To begin with, it is unreasonable to expect any person to work on a project for 48 straight hours. Building the Corvette over the course of three days will enable the teams to overnight any parts they may have overlooked or did not plan on needing due to those inevitable surprises.
Voelkel added, “We think it is totally conceivable that a group of hot rod friends would get together and thrash on a car for three days to get it ready for a major event.” While most folks try to plan ahead for shows and races, it is often tough to avoid wrenching at the 11th hour, so it should make for a realistic representation of that final prep.
As we mentioned before, Ridetech’s original goal was to prove the quality of their 48 hour builds. Accordingly, the day after the car is complete it will be driven about 120 miles to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, to race on their new road course. In addition, the car will compete in a number of events throughout the 2015 and 2016 seasons including: Goodguys autocross, Optima Ultimate Street Car events, as well as appearances at SEMA Show 2015, and a few other Corvette events; a formal event schedule will be posted by Ridetech.
Chad Reynolds will be hosting the entire event along with some “question & answer” sessions between the viewers and the experts at hand. There will also be some great information and giveaways on Ridetech’s Facebook page. Should you want to ask a few questions leading up to the build, simply visit the 48 Hour Corvette section of Ridetech’s website and you will find a chatroom box to speak with the build teams, guests, and more.
If you are in the middle of your own C3 restoration or project build, you will be especially interested in this ’72 as all of the parts permanently removed from the car will be put up for auction on eBay, immediately available to the public. Watching your next part being removed from its source should make for a pretty simple installation on your own C3!
You will be able to watch the entire build from start to finish as it streams live on this link.
Corvette Online will be covering all three days of the build and publishing a recap of the entire project shortly thereafter, so stay tuned for a full recap of the build and how the new ’72 performs during its road trip to Bowling Green and on track at the National Corvette Museum.