Welcome to Thursday Trivia where we offer up a historical automotive trivia question and you try and solve it before seeing the answer after the jump. It’s like a history test, with cars!
This week’s question: What cooling upgrade was unique to the 1966 and ’67 427 Corvettes with A/C and Powerglide?
If you think you know the answer make the jump and see if you’re right.
When it was introduced in 1954 the Chevrolet Corvette was not a performance powerhouse. Its continental styling and sport-ing nature did prove however to be a wining combination nonetheless, and soon secured the model its place as Chevy’s halo car for decades to come.
That was in the ’50s, and by the time the ’60s rolled around, the Corvette needed both a new look and some performance bonafides to compete in an ever more crowded sports car market. Jaguar XKEs , Shelby Cobras, and Porsche 356s, among others pressed Chevy to make the next Corvette less of a poseur and more of a contender.
Work on the C2 Corvette started in earnest with the 1957 XP-84 concept, a test bed with flamboyant pontoon fenders, a fuel injected, all-aluminum V8 and a transaxle/IRS set up nicked from the Corvair development team. The fastback body was designed with a permanent B-pillar hoop and removable roof, a feature that wouldn’t make it into C2 production, but which would be resurrected as the T-bar top in the C3 Corvette introduced in 1968.
In fact, not much of the XP-84’s advanced features made it into production. The overall shape did however, and it was still as arresting in the production interpretation as it was in the concept. The new Sting Ray made its debut in 1963 with a coupé body style in addition to the previous generation’s convertible. Exclusively V8-powered and sporting independent suspension at each corner the C2 was finally a full-fledged sports car.
Of course, the competition wasn’t standing still while all this was going on, and to compete, Chevy imbued the ‘Vette with ever bigger and often twitchier engines to push the performance envelope forward.
The biggest engine to find a home in the C2 was the big block 427, which was offered in 1966 and ’67, the last two years of C2 production. The 427 was a honkin’ big mill that required a special bulged hood to keep it under wraps, and in certain expressions the need for additional cooling to keep it from melting down. That resulted in a repositioning of the front license plate when required.
From the Corvette Forum:
When new, only 66 and 67 427 air conditioned Corvettes with powerglide got the offset plate. Only 20 cars in 1966 and 138 in 67 had that option, so it is very rare.
A standard U.S. automotive license plate is 72 square inches, and placing it directly in front of the radiator-as was the case with the normal C2 Corvette, would impede a substantial amount of airflow. By moving the plate to the side, under the left-side headlamp pod, that airflow was feed up for the big block.
That still didn’t do enough to address underhood temperatures as the 427-engined cars suffered a reputation of heat-related vaporlock when sitting in traffic.