The Roaring Revival: James Pulliam’s 1972 Corvette

You’re likely to hear James Pulliam’s 1972 Corvette before you see it. With its supercharged LS engine and straight-pipe exhaust, this black third-generation Corvette commands attention. Once in view, its build matches the thunderous sound it emits.

Inspiration and Acquisition
Pulliam’s inspiration struck years ago from a YouTube video featuring a German-built C3 Corvette. “It was a black ’69 with L88 flares, tearing up the racetrack,” he recalled during the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring event at Florida’s Sebring International Raceway. Since then, he dreamed of building a similar black, chrome-bumper Corvette with the flares.

In 2004, Pulliam found his dream project in a junkyard. Despite its rough condition, the frame was solid, but the paint was gone, and it had a basic 305 cu.-in. Small-Block engine with an automatic transmission.

The Rebuild Journey
The restoration took place in Pulliam’s father’s garage. “We tore it down completely, pulled the body off the frame, and put in an LS1 with a supercharger, backed it up with a T56,” Pulliam explained.

A police officer in Fort Pierce, Florida, and lifelong car enthusiast, Pulliam is a fan of the LS design. He also owns an LS-swapped Mazda Miata with 430 horsepower, which he plans to use for track days.

The Heart of the Beast
The LS1 engine in Pulliam’s Corvette came from a 1999 model, one of the earliest examples of this iconic engine platform. Known for their versatility and power, LS engines are a favorite among car enthusiasts. “I really like the LS platform,” Pulliam said. “It’s compact, makes a lot of horsepower, and there are so many aftermarket options.”

Performance and Power
Paired with a stock T56 six-speed manual transmission and a Magnuson supercharger, the Corvette makes an impressive 474 horsepower at the rear wheels. Remarkably, the engine has remained untouched since the car’s completion, despite being regularly driven hard.

Chassis and Suspension
The original chassis was reinforced following the Chevy Power Book guide, with seam-welding and added gussets for strength. The entire frame was sandblasted and coated with POR-15 to prevent rust. The suspension features QA1 coilovers in the front and monoleaf adjustable shocks in the rear, ensuring modern handling capabilities.

The Artistry of the Exterior
A family friend dedicated nearly a year to perfecting the car’s exterior. The body was repainted in a dazzling black, and the fender flares were modified for a tighter fit. Most of the badging was removed, maintaining only the front and rear Corvette flags.

Custom Exhaust and Wheels
The custom Hooker Headers side pipes and CCW Classic wheels add to the Corvette’s distinctive look. The wheels measure 18 x 12 in the rear and 18 x 10 in the front, fitted with Continental tires. Upgraded Wilwood brakes with larger rotors ensure the car can stop as well as it goes.

Interior Upgrades
Inside, the Corvette boasts new carpet, Corbeau A4 leather racing seats, custom AutoMeter gauges, and a specially built console panel with custom switches. The interior, originally brown, is now a sleek black.

From Track to Show
Pulliam first learned about the Corvette Corral at Sebring through online message boards and brought his car to the event in the late ’00s. After a long hiatus, he returned this year, joining other Corvette enthusiasts and showcasing his build.

While Pulliam originally intended to race his Corvette, it evolved into more of a show car. “It got too expensive and too nice,” he said. “It’s still fun out there but it’s not a purpose-built car.”

A Family Affair
The Corvette build was a bonding project for Pulliam and his father, who also owns LS-powered vehicles. “My dad’s kind of where I got started,” Pulliam shared. “We’re really into cars.”

James Pulliam’s 1972 Corvette stands as a testament to his passion, craftsmanship, and family tradition in automotive excellence.

Engine Specs and Performance

  • Engine: LS1 from 1999 Corvette
  • Supercharger: Magnuson, 7 pounds of boost
  • Transmission: Stock T56 six-speed manual
  • Horsepower: 474 HP at the rear wheels
  • Mileage on Engine: Approximately 16-17,000 miles

Source: Chevrolet/The-Block
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