While the paint prep was going on, Rauch found out that the new color he wanted to use was not available. So, he had Steckel's paint it in the Nassau Blue Metallic that was a Corvette color selection in 2000, in basecoat/clearcoat form. Inside, a set of Al Knoch leather seat covers went on a pair of '79 Corvette buckets, and a Flaming River tilt steering column also went in.

In all, it took two winters to transform Rauch's '76 from 20-footer to the beauty you see here.

But he wasn't quite done. "I just changed the rear gears from 3.07s to 3.73s," Rauch says. "That woke [the car] up, like adding a hundred horsepower to it!" Rauch says he's also considered adding one of FAST's "EZ FAST" fuel-injection systems in place of the carburetor and intake that are on now.

Thanks to the C4-suspension swap, Rauch says his '76 now corners like it's on rails. "As we say, 'We took the John Deere out of that C3!'" He adds that when he goes to car shows, guys following him tell him later, "You just don't know what your car looks like until you've followed it up the road. It doesn't lean-all it does is run down the road."

Compared to earlier-generation Corvettes, there's no shortage of project-ready late-C3 Vettes, as at least 40,000 Corvettes a year were built during the '76-'81 model years. If you've found a "20-footer" of that vintage that you'd like to upgrade to C4 chassis hardware, Rauch has this advice: "You don't have to buy a new frame if you don't need one. You can do the job with a little bit of knowledge, the way we did it."

Spec Sheet: '76 Coupe
Owner Allen Rauch; Allentown, PA
Block Cast-iron SBC, bored 0.030-in over
Displacement 383 ci
Compression Ratio 10.0:1
Heads Dart cast iron
Valves Manley stainless steel, 2.02/1.60
Camshaft Comp Cams hydraulic roller (0.560-in lift, 230-deg duration, 110-deg LSA)
Rocker Arms Comp Cams roller, 1.5:1 ratio
Pistons KB aluminum
Crankshaft Scat stroker, forged 4340 steel
Rods Eagle H-beam aluminum
Intake Manifold Edelbrock "Super Victor" cast aluminum
Carburetor Holley 750-cfm four-barrel
Fuel Pump GM mechanical
Ignition GM HEI with MSD 6AL box
Exhaust System Hedman Hedders, side-mounted pipes
Transmission GM 700R4 automatic, built by ATI, Baltimore, MD
Torque Converter ATI 10-in, 3,000-rpm stall
Driveshaft Stock
Front Suspension Production C4 Corvette with QA1 adjustable shocks
Rear Suspension Production C4 Corvette with QA1 adjustable shocks
Rearend Dana 36 with 3.73:1 Richmond gears
Front Brakes 10-in cross-drilled rotors and C4 calipers
Rear Brakes 10-in cross-drilled rotors and C4 calipers
Wheels 17x9.5 chrome C5-style (front/rear)
Front Tires Kumho Ecsta Supra, 275/40R17
Rear Tires Kumho Ecsta Supra, 275/40R17
Fuel Octane 93
Weight 3,000 lbs with driver