The backstory of the engine

So, I’d been searching for an engine for about a year. I knew what I wanted: 1996 or 1997 LT-1 from a Corvette, Camaro, or Firebird. I wanted the 96 or newer due to the conversion that year to OBD-II, and I was hoping that I could use my existing ’96 body harness already in the truck. I have small hopes that I’ll be able to just plug the two right together and be good to go. I’ll cross that bridge in awhile.

Anyway, the Vette would be a more rare find, since they were quickly pushing for the LS-1 in 1997 in that vehicle. So then I came across this CL post where a guy was selling a 1996 LT-1 with a 4L60E transmission mated, all the accessory pulleys, AND the complete wiring harness. He was asking $950, and my goal was less than a grand for engine and tranny. Granted, I have no desire for an automatic V8, but I can sell this tranny and get a T56 (I hope).

So I went and checked it out, and it looks beautiful on the bottom end. He had the oil pan off, and it’s fantastic. Spins easily. Top half looks like it’s got some soot build up, but I’ll be replacing that anyway. So the story is that this dude used to date some girl who is the daughter of the owner of a junkyard. Occasionally, she’d call him with new finds in the lot. One day, she called him up and said, “Get down here with your truck.” He was confused, and questioned her, and she told him to shutup and POST. What’s a guy to do, you know?

When he gets there, she takes him to a Chevy Caprice. He pretty much just walks off the lot until she forces him back to the car and pulls the hood. Then she explains:

“So, I went to this police auction; I was looking for some body panels for a Caprice, and got this car for about $450. After the auction, the auctioneer came over to me and told me, ‘you got that thing for a song.’ I didn’t really understand, and explained that I just wanted the quarterpanels, and the auctioneer said to me, ‘You didn’t look under the hood, did you?’ I responded that no, Caprice engines are a dime a dozen in police auctions. He just said, ‘Pop the hood.’ When I did, there it was: Corvette valve covers and all, with the wiring harness just laying on top. The install wasn’t even complete. Apparently, the car had been seized in a drug bust as a future mule.”

So, a few months and a couple CL posts later, I’ve got this (apparently) very clean LT-1 with a useless, numbers matching, auto transmission (WHY, people, WHY?).

It sat in the bed of the truck for a month while I did my reserve work in Italy, and now I’ve got it out of the bed and on the engine stand. I’ve pulled some small electronics off, and am working on some obstinate bolts on the flywheel. And that’s where we pick up our story…

So anyone got a used T-56?


4 Responses to “The backstory of the engine”

  1. I’ll be reading. I love swaps… And this isn’t the usual “350 in an s10″… it’s an actual corvette motor.

  2. We’ll see how it goes. Don’t hold your breath; the rebuild is slated for the whole winter, and I haven’t even decided on the top end parts yet. But thanks for the support!

  3. Well-started! I’ll be reading, too.

  4. AA., thanks much. You’re two of two.

    Hehe. AA. Amusing. 🙂

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