’66 Corvette – 840 Horsepower

It never ceases to amaze me what dedicated Corvette fans (a redundant phrase) can do with their Vettes. The Idaho Statesman reports that

Larry Robb of Boise has been working on his black '66 Corvette for 20 years, and he still thinks it can go faster. The 840-horsepower, big block engine speeds from 0 to 60 mph in 1.96 seconds and is considered one of the state's quickest street legal machines on the quarter-mile track. Robb will have his Corvette at the 34th annual Boise Roadster Show today through Sunday.

Golf and skiing? Definitely obsessions. His beloved 1966 shiny black street-legal Corvette with a 480-cubic-inch engine that can go more than 190 mph? A hobby. "I can do it my way," Robb said of the car he has owned and rebuilt for 20 years. "It's relaxing." Robb will display his pride and joy at the 34th Annual Boise Roadster Show this weekend at Expo Idaho (Western Idaho Fairgrounds). It is among 250 pristine roadsters, hot rods, drag racers, rebuilds and customs entered from around the country. Special show vehicles include: * "Tribute to Elvis," a 1959 lavender Cadillac sporting a $1 million renovation. * "Dream Big," an 11-foot-high motorcycle that earned a Guinness World Record title as World's Tallest Rideable Motorcycle. * Bluesmobile, a 1974 Dodge Monaco from the 1980 "Blues Brothers" movie. * "Chromezilla," with everything except body paint and interior chromed, including frame, engine and wheels. Robb entered his 1966 Corvette in the show two years ago, but has changed it significantly under the hood and frame since then. "It's set up a lot different," said Robb, owner of the Red Apple Marketplace, a grocery store in Ontario, Ore. "The only thing that's the same is the body." He and local experts, including Blackstone Race Cars, Roger Allen and Valley Crankshaft, have devoted more than 400 hours to preparing the car for the show and eventually achieving a new personal best for Robb. This year, he hopes to drive the car down the quarter-mile drag strip at Firebird Raceway in less than 9 seconds. He also may take it to Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats and push the 840-horsepower Chevy engine up to 200 mph. This is Robb's eighth Corvette since he and his friends began tinkering with cars as teenagers. He traded up until the hunt ended in 1986 at age 36. "I bought and sold them until I had enough money to buy the one I wanted," he said. "This was the one." He still has the car's original engine, but has a bigger one in it now. Other modifications have made it lighter, safer and faster for racing. Though it is "noisy, fast and obnoxious," it is legal out on the streets, he said. In fact, it was his driving-around work car for many years. "I believe in having a car you can drive," said Robb, who in 1990 founded Valley Corvettes, a local car club that has raised $450,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. As much as the car, Robb is fascinated with the legendary designers and racers who have made the Corvette an iconic American automobile. Human minds and hands, driven by genius and ingenuity, have kept the line alive since 1953. He hopes spectators at the Roadster show will enjoy seeing how his efforts over two decades have made his Corvette what it is today. "I want them to think it's cool and appreciate all the work that has gone into it," he said. "You have to have a passion for something. That's mine."

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