We were very excited to begin work on this project – a pristine 1997 LT1 with only 9,000 miles. This car had been sitting for a few years due to a bad fuel pump…but it was about to undergo a serious mod list to make up for lost time! The first order of business was to ditch the factory ignition, the famous optispark. We traded it out for an EFI Connection 24x system, which utilizes an LS1 style ECM ignition for much more consistent performance with a far longer life span. Not to mention, the LS1 ECM is light years ahead of the LT1’s computer, allowing for a much better tuning solution.
While the motor was down for the EFI swap, we also swapped the camshaft and the heads. The cam was spec’d by Alvin, and ended up as a 224/236 with a 113 LSA. This would give it great sound and performance, while retaining excellent street manners. We decided to also change out the stock heads for a set of 21 degree Trick Flow heads ported and polished by none other than Advanced Induction.
The intake manifold was also ported while the car was apart to help maximize performance gains. A Holley 58mm throttle body replaced the stock one, and a Moroso Cold Air intake replaced the stock air induction, whose sharp bends hinder performance.
With the intake side taken care of, the exhaust was next. The factory pieces were removed and a set of Kooks headers went back on. An electric cutout was also installed for extra sound, on demand!
A bunch of extra power wouldn’t help much if the suspension was not addressed – out came the factory springs and shocks, to be replaced with BMR springs and Bilstein HD shocks. The car was lowered enough to feel a difference but not enough to be a hassle on the street. To wake the car up even more, the factory 3.42 rear end gear was swapped out for a set of 4.10s.
To go along with the car’s super clean look, we spent a little more time tidying up the engine bay by relocating fuel lines and wiring. A few hours here and there went a long way for the final product. To give it some pop, we also had a few pieces powdercoated to give it a show car look.
The performance of the car from before to after was like night and day! While we did not have a baseline dyno due to the fuel pump, the final pull showed the car putting 420rwhp to the rear tires. It felt very quick and catty on the street.
Overall, we were very impressed with the results of the build as a whole – definitely one of our favorite projects! Knowing the customer loved it also made it even better.
“She is a whole different animal and I’m still getting use to the different sounds and driving variables. I do know that my next investment will be in some 305/45/18 Nitto 555R’s for the rear. I basically have no traction in 1st gear under throttle! 🙂 Thanks again for everything and thank you to the whole PCM group for making my dream come true!”