Night Riders

Dazed from a ragged week at SEMA, even Jim's Corvette was off its rocker during the Fall Festival Cruise (Part 1)

Andy Bolig - November 05, 2011 10:36 AM


It was only about two blocks away from the Alamo when we started hearing the tick, tick, tick.


We found ourselves under the valvecover of Jim’s 555


And here is what we found


Since it was a Friday night, we stopped by the San Antonio Raceway to see if maybe one of the racers there might have a rocker arm that Jim could purchase. A search of the pit area turned up nothing except Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles and Blue Ovals. Jim got on the phone to his wife back at his home five hours away and VERY nicely, asked if she could meet us half way with a couple of new rockers.


Loading a classic Corvette onto a trailer in a busy, shopping mall parking lot tends to draw a little attention. After Jim and I convinced Mark, the shopping center’s security guard, that everything was legit, he was very helpful.


Jim’s wife, Karen, drove several hours, after driving most of the day already, to meet us at 2am, midway between San Antonio and their house. She’s a trooper and I’m sure this year’s anniversary will be EXTRA special for her.

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We headed north and Jim’s wife was headed toward us, aptly prepared for the late-night drive, “With the dog and a .45.”

Coming off of an exciting week of SEMA, Jim and I were looking forward to some R&R in the form of a road trip in his 860hp ’67 Corvette convertible. The weather was great and we were ready to hit the road.

Jim dropped the Corvette off at a friend’s house near San Antonio TX and immediately following SEMA, Jim and I flew in to San Antonio to grab the Corvette and go on our next adventure. Little did we know the adventure that awaited.

We unloaded the ‘Vette off of the trailer at around 3pm and around 3:45, the engine began to run with a slight, repetitive tap, tap, tap. We weaved our way through downtown San Antonio, thumped our way past the famous Alamo and before we could gain much speed on the highway leading out from town, our worst fears were realized- the tapping quit. Our knowledge of all things automotive have cemented the understanding that mechanical things that exhibit such a new and significant “tap” typically don’t fix themselves. Something was getting worse-and fast!

We weaved our way through traffic with the car exhibiting a more significant miss until finally, it was simply part of the firing order. We pulled into a parking lot and upon pulling a valve cover, we found that the number three intake rocker had split into two pieces and the pushrod went submersive into the engine valley area.

It’s good to have friends and Jim was able to pull in another favor from his friend Willie and we hitched a ride back to Jim’s truck and trailer. We loaded the car onto Jim's trailer. We were able to move the car from the parking lot, but getting it running again was becoming more difficult.

We called around the area, hoping that one of the speed shops in San Antonio might have a rocker arm that we could simply swap for the faulty one that we now had. Several calls left us no closer to fixing our problem so Jim, knowing that he HAS a set of replacement rockers in his shop, about five hours from where we were, made a quick call to his wife and now we had a scheduled meeting with her in the half-way point, somewhere around Temple, Tx. It was already 9:30 at night and our scheduled midnight rocker rendezvous would not help either of us catch up on the missed sleep that we so needed from our stay in Vegas. It would have to wait if we were to have the car ready for tomorrow’s festivities. We headed north with the car in tow, and Jim’s wife was headed toward us, aptly prepared for the late-night drive, “With the dog and a .45.”