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big block in a 1982



Hi all,

Locally, i have come across a rough condition 1982 Corvette. the guy is asking under 5K for the thing. I am giving serious consideration to buying this car and building a monster. I will definately be putting a crate engine in it and would really like to go with a 454 or some other variant of a big block. I'm sure someone here can tell me if this effort is worth pursuing. How much hassle is it, or is it even possible to shoehorn a big block into an '82.

If it is a large undertaking(suspension mods, etc) , i think i'll be going with a supercharged small block.

Cheers and thanks for any replies,

The 68-74 Vettes had the big block available. So it is basicly a bolt in operation. You will need stronger front springs for the weight (and may have to stiffen the rear to balance the front), big block radiator, big block shroud, all the brackets for the accessories, a low-rise intake to clear the hood, and big block exhaust manifolds or headers.

But....what are the emission standards where you live. The big block was never certified for the 82 Vette so in the eyes of the EPA it is illegal. If you are not subject to emission testing you may be able to get by for awhile.

I reply to the smog law question, you may want to check out the following:


I live in California where the smog laws are some of the toughest in the country. However, in regards to engine swaps, newer engines pollute less, therefore they are generally accepted for swaps. Just don't try to go with an older engine. As always, check your specific local laws for specifics.

In older C3's there were some differences in the Big Block cars under the hood. You need to take a close look at some big block cars, look at the radiator, power brake booser, etc. You may find some differences, depending upon year.
Welcome to CACC. Sounds like a fun project.

I have never done exactly what you are suggesting, but some things come to mind. The emissions for one, which has already been covered. Two, you really would have to take a comprehensive approach on this swap as the 82 was a computerized vehicle. To do this right you will have to surgically remove the cross fire harness, computer, etc, to keep the engine bay looking clean and fresh. The Stock trans won't be a wise decision behind that kind of power. You would really want to replace the hood to avoid getting stuck with a low rise intake, and some nice custom brackets to keep the power steering and a/c hooked up and working for you.

It would be much easier to put a Big Block into a 72 for all those little details metioned above, but otherwise I don't see why it would not work and be a blast to drive.
All excellent points.

I guess my biggest consideration was whether or not suspension mods would be required(they are of course giving the substantial extra weight of a big block) and the question of the transmission to go behind it. Given these points I am now thinking down the supercharged smallblock path, but I'm sure to waiver back and forth on this one :)

Emissions crossed my mind, but it never occured to me that the state cared what was under the hood so long as when they stick the wand in the tailpipe it measures within acceptable limits.

I live in the People Republik of Connecticut, so anything is possible. Clearly more research is needed on this point.

Thanks for the replies, keep them coming!



What is your experience level with Corvettes, or cars in general? Are these the kind of mods you will be doing yourself, or do you know of some great custom shops up your way?

There is a 80-81 Shark right around the corner from me. All the paint has faded off to the factory primer sealer. It was a two tone kind of silver with a darker color around the bottom. It has factory rims, and appears to be very stock. The thing either sits in the driveway or up at a local muffler shop once in a while. It kills me because it is screaming for help-at least some shinny paint.

My buddy is a big gear head and has been known like me to shoe horn V8s into S-10s, run NOS, and super chargers. Right now his automotive life is rather boring and that vette is driving him nuts too. Neither one of us have approached the owner, but he has been talking the same kind of stuff as you---Big Block, blower, etc.

My vette level is basically zero, but i'd rate my experience as a mechanic is high. I've been swinging wrenches basically since I was 10 years old(father was a mechanic, uncle is a heavy equipment mechanic, and another uncle is a body man).

I attended a four year trade high school and studied auto mechanics as my trade and worked six years in a new car dealership putting myself through college. I have worked on everything from gas powered remote controlled cars to D-8 Caterpillar bulldozers. I have a two car garage, a complete set of hand tools, welders, an air compressor, access to a machine shop and , and the desire to build a very fast vette :)

Hello Sean and welcome to the CACC. Thinking about the supercharged small block is a good idea. Have you thought about a partcular type or manufacturer? There's this guy with a Ford Falcon that runs a small block blower in the rails. It's a good looking set-up. I had a friend who let me drive his blown Chevelle. They're real fun to mess around with, but the investment is around $2,000. About the emissions though. Most states require you to run current or newer smog equipment, if they allow conversions at all. This means that stuff from the early '70s would not pass, but smog from the '90s will. Check your local laws to be sure. If you can't do the Rat, think about a bored out Mouse. --Bullitt
'82 body=regulatory hassles

We have had a couple threads lately about members having a tough time getting their bacilally original Corvette past the Conn. emissions Nazis. Your intended project has a lot of merit but I think you are asking for it by starting with a car that is subject to emissions standards. Why not look further and get a project that is pre-emissions? The $$$ you would spend to pass emissions could go into go fast parts.


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