Space is usually at a premium under the hoods of Corvettes. It’s not that there aren’t places where you could put things, but those areas are usually scattered about and not nearby where you would like them. Some generations are better or worse in this regard, but as Rob MacArthur Jr. has proven, when you’re good at fabricating, making use of that space is just a few welds away.
Case in point is his 1981 Corvette. Some of you will note the distinct front bumper and side gills, knowing that no ’81 Corvette wore such items. You’re right, but let us introduce you to Rob’s Corvette. It rolled off the line in ’81, which wasn’t exactly the pinnacle of performance year for any model car. From there, it roamed aimlessly around through various owners until it came to settle within Rob’s capable hands.
Rob bought the car 12 years ago when he was 16. It was his first car. From there, he began driving the car and making improvements to it, but it was always driven. At least, when the weather in New Brunswick, Canada would allow it. The elongated winters up there allow Rob to do some pretty big tasks without jeopardizing any road time. He even gave the car a complete rotisserie treatment in 2015.
His current project is shoehorning in a “mostly stock, Gen-V 6.o-liter from a 2010 Silverado.” These cars are great for LS swapping, but what sets Rob’s ride apart from the many that we’ve seen, is his ability to fit those twin 66mm Borg Warner turbos into the pockets of opportunity located under the hood. He also found enough usable room between the headlights to fit the intercooler.
Finding room for everything is only half the battle, then you need to run the necessary plumbing to make it all work. This is where Rob’s abilities really start to shine. All the tubing linking the turbos and the engine, including the headers, was crafted by Rob. Thankfully, he was kind enough to share some photos of his work on the C3 Corvette community Facebook page. Beyond the tubing, Rob’s engine will be powered by a Holley Dominator with a 7-inch dash.
While anyone would admit that this should keep Rob occupied until the white fluffy stuff subsides, he plans on enjoying the added power this summer. “The car is just a fun car for me,” he says. “I’ve done autocross and car shows and the occasional trip to the drag strip that will stay the same.” Beyond that, he’s already got a laundry list of other things to keep him occupied once the leaves begin to change again.
Being a self-described “tinkerer,” Rob admits that the car may never officially be finished, but along the way, he plans on installing a cage (he would love to build a full-tube chassis), install a T56 Magnum TREMEC transmission, upgrade to a C5 or C6 suspension, and he’s been toying with the idea of going all-wheel-drive under his Corvette!
Looking at the capabilities so far, we’d say that Rob is definitely able to make that happen. And with the elongated winters up north, he just may find the time to make it all a reality. We’d love to see the car when he does!