WDID – Dam my Corvette

My 1971 Corvette will see some fairly hot weather. We intend to drive it down to Napa, CA next summer. Napa itself is fairly temperate, but to get there from Seattle one must venture through such places as Redding and Corning, where it’s not unusual to see temperatures north of 100° F. These are cities that Satan remarks “Wow, it’s really hot here. It’s a dry heat, but still…” This is why I endeavor to maximize the cooling efficiency of the Corvette.

C3 Corvettes (1968-1982) are cooled from underneath. They have a small chin spoiler that directs air, which would otherwise go below the car, up and into the radiator. I’m no engineer, but it stands to reckon that if the shallow spoiler works ok to divert air through the radiator, a bigger, deeper air dam will increase the air flowing through the radiator and probably turn it into an ice maker.

General Motors must have agreed with my line of thinking because in 1979, they introduced a deeper front air dam on their new Corvettes. Paragon Corvette Reproductions (a vendor of Corvette parts, not an infertility clinic) supplies this chin spoiler for $65.00 plus tax and shipping. Mounting was completed by drilling holes in the existing soft plastic air dam, then bolts (hex fasteners because they look cool), washers and nuts to attach it. I had to cut notches in the top of the air dam to clearance the chrome bumpers, because the 1979 didn’t have chrome bumpers.

I really won’t know whether this modification makes any difference. I didn’t get a chance to drive the car this past summer in the oppressive heat it will see on the way to Napa and the cooling system didn’t struggle with the moderate Puget Sound area temperatures. The only potential problem I see with this modification is that ground clearance will be reduced. I will need to be more careful with speed bumps and driveways, but that is a small price to pay for a cooling system capable of making ice.

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