Canadian Racing History: 1964 Corvette Fuel Injected Engine

This 1964 Corvette 327ci V8 engine is part of one of the great “David Vs Goliath” stories that we hear occasionally from the world of motor-sport. The engine itself never saw racing duty, but the story is a good one. I have to thank Barn Finder David L for referring the engine to us because it is a beauty. It is located in Sitka, Alaska, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding on the engine is currently sitting at $5,000.

Starting with the nuts and bolts of this beast, what you get is a rebuilt 1964 Corvette fuel-injected engine, but this has now been equipped with a 2818 Holley carburetor. the large valve FI heads, solid lifters, new pistons, and bearings. This was not an engine that was designed for street work. This is an engine for the track, and it produces a healthy 365hp. As a bonus, since the engine was built, it has clocked up 0 hours, so it’s still new. The new owner will also have the choice of taking the engine as is, or there is the option to include the original alternator and running stand as part of the deal. That makes it a pretty decent proposition as a “big boy’s toy.”

The racing connection, and the David & Goliath story, both come courtesy of a gentleman by the name of Laurie Craig. Mr. Craig, an ex-pat New Zealander, was something of a racing legend in his adopted Canada during the 1960s. His exploits aboard his “Little Red Corvette,” a red 1964 Corvette Coupe made him a sporting identity in Canada. He purchased the car new, and it lived a life of competition in his hands. This all culminated with an amazing day at Westwood Motorsport Park in 1966 when Mr. Craig managed to beat a field that was littered with GT40s, McLarens, Coopers, Brabhams, and Porsches to win the Player’s Pacific race on a rain-soaked track. In so doing, he became the first Canadian driver to achieve the feat in an unmodified, street-legal car. On that day, no lesser person than Stirling Moss donned his race suit and took to the track for a few laps in the Corvette. This engine was actually the spare for that car. The YouTube video at the bottom of this article was filmed on that famous day.

This engine is part of a legendary story in Canada and would be a great buy for a true enthusiast. As an aside to this whole story, Laurie Craig parted with the Little Red Corvette in 1967, and for many years he wondered where it eventually went. Well, it passed through the hands of at least a dozen different owners, but it was purchased by its current owner in 2012. After several years of detective work, the car’s identity was confirmed, and it has now been beautifully restored. As a fitting end to this story, in 2017 Laurie Craig was reunited with his beloved Corvette and was able to turn a few laps at a historic race meeting. That seems only to be a fitting way to end.

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Comments

  1. JohnD

    So this whole story about a fuelie engine that isn’t a fuelie engine anymore, that was numbers matching for something once but isn’t anymore, that was maybe going to be used in a semi-notable corvette racer but wasn’t . . . does that story add anything at all to the value of a useful replacement engine?

    32
    • CapNemo CapNemo

      Right on. To me, it just seems like a nice engine. Best wishes to the buyer!

      6
    • DavidL

      “Never saw racing duty”(?) All of that and what?
      I’m underwhelmed.

      5
    • moosie moosie Member

      NO, because basically a 365 is a fuelie with a carburetor. Taking a fuel injection unit off and replacing it with a carb was pretty common back then, not too many mechanics were skilled at getting a fuelie to run right and just swapped out the injection. I had a phys. ed/ driver training/foot ball coach-teacher in high school who had a ’62 Corvette with the fuel injection emblems but it was swapped out for a carb. He said his Chevy dealer (where he bought it new ) did the conversion cause their mechanics couldn’t get it to run right, he was happy with the swap and said that to him it ran just as strong.

      1
      • PatrickM

        Did they ever hear of “factory trained technicians?”

      • McEntyre Auto

        If someone is restoring a Chevy may want it 283 solid cam. Double hump heads and a steel crankshaft. Was used in57 Chevy to 67 Betts or even would make a good engine for any hotrod.
        You might build one but the parts are hard to find in good shape to use and the cost to do the work is alot.
        But price is too high.the history of who had it don’t matter to anybody.

  2. glen

    You did some research, the eBay ad isn’t that in- depth, well done!

    8
  3. Ike Onick

    365HP? That’s it? And why would someone purchase this from Alaska?? Probably cost $1000 to ship to the Lower 48. “Bizarre Finds”

    7
    • Ike Onick

      As long as I’m complaining, the soundtrack completely ruins the video!!

      1
  4. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Yup, that pretty much sums it up. What they didn’t mention was that somewhere along the way it was within 10K miles of Don Garlit’s, Ronnie Sox and Konnie Kalitta. Who can afford to miss that connection?

    Might be a wonderful engine but the fluff is just that – fluff. Doesn’t even relate to the engine in question IMO.

    9
    • Ike Onick

      And they all used fossil fuels!!!!!! Incredible!/Incroyable!!

      3
  5. Bob S

    Maybe the story is worth 5 grand, and they are just throwing in the engine. It might be the spare in a racing story, but without the FI, it is just another possible Corvette engine, and it will take some detective work to determine for certain that it was.
    One of my buddies had the 1965 non FI, 365 engine, and it was a wicked engine and a lot less of a problem to keep in good working order.
    One of the things for which I will kick myself forever, is that I could have bought a complete FI system, including the manometer and other special tools, for $200 in 1968, and turned it down.
    Bob

    3
    • Al

      True, I recall in ’76, all day long in our auto-parts section of the Bargain News in CT, complete Rochester FI systems, including the air cleaner, were $400-$500, tops. I know, probably a lot for that period. You’d see 1 or 2 each week, different phone numbers. Yep, should have bought every one I saw for investment purposes. Just the original air cleaners today I seen at swap meets in fair cond. as high as a couple thousand or more alone. Everyone pulled them off as they ran poorly with humidity or rainy day driving so they popped the Holley 650 dbl pumpers on for reliability.

      1
  6. John B.

    Isn’t it amazing how many fuel injected engines there are that don’t have their fuel injection unit! Equally amazing is the number of Corvettes that we’re fuel injected but no longer have the fuel injected engine and how many Z28’s there are that don’t have their 302! Simply Amazing!!!

    3
    • JohnD

      True on all counts . . . plus, there are some new rules in the collector car world.

      All unknown small block chevy engines came from Corvettes,
      Anything old is “original,”
      All Ford 289s are K-Codes,
      All 67 Vettes are 435 hp cars,
      All 57-65 Vettes were fuelies,
      All 70 Chevelles are LS6s,
      All Chevelles are SSs,
      All Cutlasses are 442s,
      All Tempests are GTOs,
      All big block Mustangs are R-Codes.

      Did I miss any?

      11
      • Steve Johnson

        Can we add more Hemi cars with fake tags than built ?

        https://www.hemmings.com/blog/article/steal-of-a-lifetime/

        5
      • Martin

        Any car ever that was repowered by a smallblock has a corvette engine. Somewhere there is a graveyard full of wrecked Stingrays without an engine.

        3
      • don

        Whatever the mileage says on the odometer is the original mileage

        2
  7. Keith

    What are you talking a Boot ?

  8. Don

    Just another car with all of the valuable parts gone and nothing but a block that GM made God knows how many of, I might consider giving $500. for it if it runs.

  9. Buddy L.

    the camel hump heads came on anything from a 300 hp up through the 375 hp, on the outside they looked the same, it was the internals that separated the men from the boys. 300, 350, 365, and 375 hp with the 375 being injected

    1
  10. Buckaroo

    Yup, I’ve got one. Mine is in the lower 48 and the story that goes with it is the best you ever heard. Give me money and I’ll tell the story.

    3
    • Ike Onick

      Give us the story. We will decide what it’s worth. That’s how things work around here Pilgrim.

  11. Terry Bowman

    Buddy, I’m a Mopar guy, but you just taught me something. I thought the large humps and the small humps were the same heads, just a different year. Just looking at them, without CC them, they appear to be the same valve size, but I guess they must have a different porting. Mopar TA & AAR 340’s had the same heads as the stock “J” 340’s, but the factory angled the 2.02 intake valves for a better flow. Exhaust was the same 1.60. You could not tell the difference unless you took the valve covers off and noticed the angle intake rocker arms. This gave just a few more HP, but could of been increased with other aftermarket items. I know it takes more then a good head, but that is the first start.

    1
  12. Gaspumpchas

    Everything goes better with Good head. John D that’s the best stuff I have heard in a long time. Ask the next guy who says his is roller engine or a stroker what that really means. I have done this to a few guys and they did more spittin and sputtering than an old washing machine motor. Those in the know have the knowledge from the college of hard knocks, and I wouldn’t have it any other working. Getting to watch the best mechanics and body men is still the best education, if you can still get it. Sorry off topic.
    Cheers
    GPC

    2
  13. TimM

    I think I’d rather call summit or jegs and get a blueprint motor for a little more pushing more ponies too!!!

    1
  14. sluggo

    Any motor like that is just a core, I dont trust or believe anything on alleged motors unless you bought it direct from Smokey Yunick or Waddell Wilson and have the photos and witnesses to prove it. If its legit you are out gaskets and seals and a some hours..How old was the rebuild and how was it stored? Chances are its full of rust. Few know how to store a motor and pickle it. *Hint, all the valves adjustments showed be backed off and valves sealed closed. Bores, cams, lifters, valves and seats are all probably rusty. In my shop unless stored in the climate controlled shipping container certain times of the year any exposed cast iron or machined surfaces condense with water. (Humidity)

    The story about the racing is suspect as well. I recognized the track immediately and know several who raced at Westwood BC back in the early 1960s. Sir Eddy raced motorcycles there but they still hold reunions and met many at vintage meets in BC Canada. To keep paying customers coming in, they fixed the races to put on a show. Im happy to support that statement with personal accounts of the racers who were there.

    That motor as well, I have one. Small journal 327. Probably be a 2 bolt main and back in the day not the best materials. The camel hump heads came in many casting numbers and variations as well as valve sizes. (Mine are .190″ intakes) A chevy spotters guide will give the casting numbers and what means what.

    Camel humps by most accounts are only valuable for nostalgia or restos. Better heads are out there.

    The Holley is nothing to get excited about, everyone is right, its superior to the FI setup, but thats a side pivot vac secondaries holley and probably a 600 cfm universal. Now certain holleys are worth bank, and its all in the carb numbers stamped on the choke horn.

    The value to that engine is date codes. People pay big money to forge Barrett Jackson show cars for auction. They want the castings and date codes and it will surely be sporting a new VIN number when it crosses the auction block next year in whatever car its being bought for NOW with matching numbers. Casting codes are very hard to forge, VIN numbers are easy.

    If you want a decent engine for a project and date specific not important either A) go LSI, B) Find a 1970s or early 80s Chevy Pickup, look for the heavy heads (Note the bottom of the castings straight or cut out). Check the date codes. You can pick up a runner thats a well seasoned block, should have hi nickel block, the best crank and rods and 4 bolt mains. Blueprint and balance the bottom end, run modern Pistons and a melling hi volume pump and buy some ready to run cast or alloy aftermarket heads and a edelbrock intake. Many published builds on the internet with dyno proven results so pick one that suits your needs. (Low end and torque street car or high end RPM racer). Copy what they did. You can build a good solid motor with known components for very reasonable sums.

    2
    • Al

      Very well stated & valuable advice I am saving, thank you, in case that day ahead arises.

      1
  15. Terry Bowman

    When the Dodge Viper came out in 93′, Dodge selected a few technicians from major dealerships to be schooled on the viper. One from ours were sent. I recalled he had go back periodically for updates.

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