On the list of competitors we expected a strong showing from, Danny Popp's name was right at the top. An ASE-certified Master Technician and a GM-certified Corvette Repair Specialist at McCluskey Chevrolet, with a side specialty in track prepping Corvettes, Popp is also known to show up at racetracks and decimate the competition, typically in a car that has much less invested than the big boys who he's lapping. An accomplished amateur racer on the autocross and road course, Popp already had a reputation brewing, but he really popped up on a lot of readers when he walked away from the pack at the 2011 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI) in his not-all-that-modified 2006 Z06.
As cool as that Corvette is, it's his 1972 plastic fantastic that really caught our attention on the autocross at last year's Columbus Goodguys. C3s already have the most curvaceous shape of any generation of Vette, but Popp's has the added width of perfectly executed L88 fender flares that make us wish they'd been standard equipment. Seriously, we haven't been able look at another C3 without thinking it would look better with them.
Aggressive style is great, but Popp had a more practical reason for the flares: more tire! This 1972 has actually been in Popp's family for the past 40 years, bought by Popp's pop when he was only 3 years old, so he's literally known it his whole gearhead life. At 16, Popp started attending autocross events with his dad and was tossed the keys to the family Vette to learn how to wheel it through the cones. He obviously had a good time, because since that day Popp has been addicted to high-performance driving. To date, Popp and the C3 have claimed seven national autocross championships. Though it did spend most of the last 10 years in storage, Popp has brought the family Vette back out to remind everyone how potent a well dialed-in C3 can be. Despite its simplicity compared to some of the competition, Popp nearly walked away with the MCOTY title this year.
BY THE NUMBERS
Type: 388ci Lingenfelter-built LS
Rotating assembly: Lunati stroker crank with Oliver rods and 11.8:1 Wiseco pistons
Cylinder heads: ported LS7
Camshaft: custom Lingenfelter grind
Valvetrain: Ferrera valves, Lingenfelter rockers, COMP Cams pushrods
Induction: LS7 intake with Holley HP EFI, Holley air cleaner
Exhaust: Hooker LS swap headers, Corvette side pipes
Ignition: Holley HP EFI
Transmission: 1972 Muncie four-speed with Quarter Master dual-disc clutch
Rearend: 1970 Corvette with 3.70 gears
Front suspension: Van Steel upper and lower control arms with JRi coilovers and Hyperco springs, Rancho sway bar
Rear suspension: Corvette IRS with JRi coilovers and Hyperco springs
Steering: Borgeson power box
Brakes: Wilwood six-piston front, four-piston rear
Chassis: custom harness bar
Wheels & tires: 18x11 and 18x12 Forgeline with 315/30 and 335/30 Michelin PS2
|¼-mile Drag (best):
||12.349 at 115.19 mph
|⅛-mile Speed-Stop (avg.):