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Brad's Big Block-Powered '71 'Vette

By Tommy Parry

Brad currently has his hands full with another Corvette project, but when he came across this 1971 Corvette, he knew the potential was too good to pass up. He made some space in the garage and rolled in this tarnished toy. 

The car is a 1971 Corvette coupe, complete with T-Tops, optional power steering, power brakes, power windows, and crucially for Georgian weather, air conditioning. It was also fitted with the LS5 454 and a TH400 transmission—the options which sealed the deal.  

Brad verified all the numbers on the car and it is indeed numbers-matching. That doesn’t mean just a hell of a lot to him, but it’s pretty cool and it does dictate how he will proceed with the build. He definitely decided on keeping more of the original parts he would have otherwise sold or discarded.


The 454 was rebuilt years ago, put on a stand, and never started. It’s bored .030 over and has a set of 10:1 pistons, a small cam, and some decent hardware holding it together. The heads are 1970 castings in good shape, the exhaust manifolds are factory, the intake manifold is the stock iron item and heavier than a black hole. 

Naturally, Brad was a little worried when pulling apart the motor. It had sat for a decade without spark plugs so he naturally expected the worst. Fortunately, the elements hadn’t found their way in and the interior was suitable for usage, so he set about his first real order of business: removing the body from the frame. 

With the body on a supportive dolly, he started breaking down the chassis; sanding and grinding in anticipation for a coat of POR15. The front end rebuild kit and Viking front coilovers came next, complete with ball joints and another coat of POR15. 


Then came the sway bars, new end links, brake lines, and then a set of Viking Smooth body shocks in the rear. Hopefully, that should harness this EFI-equipped big block’s pavement-rippling torque when all is finalized, freshened, and ready to turn heads. 


To keep tabs on Brad’s progress, follow his thread here