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Still Rolling: Wrenching on and falling in love with Alex, a 1981 Chevrolet Corvette

This C3 lives in South Texas where it is a daily driver for a young Corvette enthusiast.

Photo by Jesus Garcia

You've heard of Mustang Sally, but what about C3 Alex? It may not be a Stingray but this yellow 1981 Chevrolet Corvette C3 has six figures worth of sentimental value that's been collecting interest for over 20 years.

Twenty-two-year old Evelyn Cortez has had Alex as her only means of transportation since she was a senior year in high school. Even though she has only been behind Alex's wheel for four years, the C3 has been a part of Cortez's life since birth.

You could say that she grew into this Corvette.

1981 Chevrolet Corvette Must of the Corvette is original.Photo by Jesus Garcia

During Cortez's childhood, she watched the Corvette evolve from a salvaged titled basket case to a T-topless, tire smoking, DIY hotrod.

Little is known as to how the 1980's treated this particular 'Vette. Cortez's father, a long-haul truck driver, found the car collecting dust in the corner of a freight warehouse somewhere in Kansas in the early 1990s. The car was in really bad shape with no interior, body damage, and a complication with its paperwork.

While it's true story has been lost to history, it is likely that this C3 was stolen early in its life. After being written off by the insurance company, the car was probably found and given a salvage title – a common practice for dealing with these sorts of occurances.

Despite its complicated history and condition, the car struck a chord with Cortez's father and decided to buy the press-molded fiberglass heap and take it home.

1981 Chevrolet Corvette Cortez is hoping to change out the interior from red to black.Photo by Jesus Garcia

The Corvette took a backseat to family life when Evelyn was born in 1997, but it was never forgotten. As Cortez grew up the Corvette became a vehicle for the young Texas and her father to bond over as they worked on it during moments of opportunity.

When Cortez turned 15, the keys to the Corvette were her birthday present. The car was now hers and motivation to get it road worthy was higher than ever before.

At age 18, Cortez became the Vette-girl at school as she drove the newly road legal C3 to school during her senior year. She named the the car Alex.

Under Alex's hood is the car's original 5.7 liter 350 small block V8 with some DIY modifications to keep it on the road while staying within budget.

1981 Chevrolet Corvette The Corvette has the car's original 5.7-liter engine under its hood.Photo by Jesus Garcia

The seats are correct for the year but not the original ones.

The C3 has survived with all its original dashboard gauges and the radio still works. The only thing that doesn't work, and is very high on the must-fix list, is the air conditioning unit. Daily driving a vintage Corvette with T-tops sounds romantic up until South Texas heat comes along and makes your head feel like an egg sunny side up on a flattop grill.

1981 Chevrolet Corvette All of the car's dashboard gauges and systems are original.Photo by Jesus Garcia

Evelyn adores her Corvette for many reasons that go beyond the horizon of the obvious. The car is a family member, an older sibling, a photo album of memories, and her ambassador to the automotive hobby.

To say that Cortez loves her Corvette is an underestimate as her Instagram account (@alex_vette.c3) is dedicated to her beloved C3.

1981 Chevrolet Corvette You can follow Alex's life on Instagram at @Alex_Vette.c3.Photo by Jesus Garcia

Cortez plans to restore and paint Alex in the future, changing the body to a royal blue. This blue will be matched with a black interior. If she is able to have her way, Alex will also add a third pedal to the firewall and convert the automatic to a 5-speed manual.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

A sufficient amount of torque can help get your trusty steed off the line with ease.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

For many, a pickup truck is as much a daily drivable vehicle as it is a tool for getting the job done. How much horsepower and torque a powertrain puts out is a big part of that. Most want enough to get the job done while keeping an eye toward fuel economy.

What's the difference between horsepower and torque? In simple terms, torque is the pull of the powertrain that gets you off the line from a full stop. Horsepower is what gets you going the speed you want and keeps you there.

Diesel engines tend to have more torque than gasoline-powered engines but have less horsepower. There's no perfect torque to horsepower ratio. It's all about which combination works best for you.

The engines on this list have the highest amount of torque and are available in 2021 model year pickup trucks in the U.S. To see the most powerful pickup trucks ranked by horsepower click here. See the 2020 horsepower champs by clicking here and the 2020 torque winners by clicking here.

No. 5 - 2021 Ford F-150: PowerBoost hybrid powertrain

2021 Ford F-150 PowerBoost Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

570 pound-feet of torque

Not surprisingly, Ford's new hybrid F-150 powertrain (a 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine paired with a 35-kilowatt electric motor) delivers more torque than almost any other light-duty truck. It's rated at 570 pound-feet, which matches up well with the engine's 430 horsepower to provide up to 12,400 pounds of towing capacity in certain configurations.

No. 4 - 2021 Ram 1500 TRX: Supercharged 6.2-liter V8

2021 Ram 1500 TRX Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

650 pound-feet of torque

The Ram 1500 TRX isn't just the fastest and most powerful light-duty truck on the market, it's also got the most torque. Rated at 650 pound-feet of torque, the supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8 also produces a staggering 702 horsepower. That's good enough for a 0-60 mph time of just 4.5 seconds and an 8,100-pound towing capacity.

No. 3 (tie) - 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD: 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V8

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

910 pound-feet of torque

General Motors' trucks have attracted attention in recent years for their innovative trailering and tailgate technologies, but both Chevrolet and GMC Heavy Duty trucks are offered with a truly attention-grabbing powertrain. The 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V8 produces a massive 910 pound-feet of torque, which is in addition to a respectable 445-horsepower output. That gives the trucks a maximum conventional-trailer towing capacity of over 14,000 pounds in some configurations.

No. 3 (tie) - 2021 GMC Sierra 2500 HD: 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V8

2021 GMC Sierra 2500 HD\u200b Photo courtesy of GMC

910 pound-feet of torque

Under the hood of the GMC Sierra 2500 HD is a 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V8 that produces 910 pound-feet of torque and 445-horsepower, just like the Silverado 2500 above. The truck has a maximum conventional-trailer towing capacity of over 14,000 pounds in some configurations.

No. 2 - 2021 Ram 3500HD: 6.7-liter Cummins diesel V8

2021 Ram 3500HD

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

1,000 pound-feet of torque

Here, we enter the realm of outlandish torque numbers. The 2021 Ram Heavy Duty lineup is available with a 6.7-liter C
Cummins diesel V8 that produces 1,000 pound-feet of torque. It's offered in a "normal" output version that makes 850 pound-feet, but the four-digit torque number available in the high-output version is truly headline worthy. Ram says that the 3500 can pull up to 35,100 pounds with this engine on board.

No. 1 - 2021 Ford F-Series Super Duty: 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8

2021 Ford F-Series Super Duty

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

1,050 pound-feet of torque

Ford's 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8 is the top of the torque hill for 2021. It makes 1,050 pound-feet of the stuff, which is in addition to a solid 475 horsepower. The F-450 truck equipped with the engine can tow up to 37,000 pounds, which is both insane and far above the weight limits for a standard Class A driver's license.

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The Ford F-Series Super Duty is a potent pickup.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

For many, a pickup truck is as much a daily drivable vehicle as it is a tool for getting the job done. How much horsepower and torque a powertrain puts out is a big part of that. Most want enough to get the job done while keeping an eye toward fuel economy.

What's the difference between horsepower and torque? In simple terms, torque is the pull of the powertrain that gets you off the line from a full stop. Horsepower is what gets you going the speed you want and keeps you there.

Diesel engines tend to have more torque than gasoline-powered engines but have less horsepower. There's no perfect torque to horsepower ratio. It's all about which combination works best for you.

The engines on this list have the highest amount of horsepower and are available in 2021 model year pickup trucks in the U.S. See the 2020 horsepower champs by clicking here and the 2020 torque winners by clicking here.

No. 5 (tie) - 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500: 6.2-liter V8

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Seven different engines are available in the 2021 Silverado 1500 range, any of which provides strong payload and towing capabilities. The range-topping gas engine is the real showstopper, however, as the 6.2-liter V8 makes 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers are good enough to help the truck deliver a 13,300-pound towing capacity and a 2,060-pound payload rating.

No. 5 (tie) - 2021 GMC Sierra 1500: 6.2-liter V8

2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Carbon Pro

Photo courtesy of GMC

Like its Chevy brother, the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 has an available 6.2-liter V8 that achieves 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. It has a 2,000-pound payload rating and a 11,800-pound trailering capacity.

No. 4 - 2021 Ford F-150: PowerBoost hybrid powertrain

2021 Ford F-150 PowerBoost Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

430 horsepower

Ford's brand-new hybrid F-150 hits the market in 2021 and will bring some legitimate power numbers to back up its high-tech fuel system. The PowerBoost hybrid powertrain uses a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 with electric motors to produce a strong 430 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque.

No. 3 (tie) - 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD: 6.6-liter Duramax diesel

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

445 horsepower

Diesel engines are usually best known for their torque delivery, but Chevrolet is offering a 6.6-liter Duramax diesel in the 2021Silverado 2500 HD that defies the tradition. It makes 445 horsepower and a whopping 910 pound-feet of torque, which allows the Chevy truck to tow up to 18,500 in certain configurations.

No. 3 (tie) - 2021 GMC Sierra 2500 HD: 6.6-liter Duramax diesel

2021 GMC Sierra 2500 HD\u200b

Photo courtesy of GMC

445 horsepower

The engine in the GMC Sierra 2500 HD is the same as in the Silverado 2500 HD. It produces the same 445 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque from the 6.6-liter Duramax diesel that's paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. It can tow up to 18,150 pounds.

No. 2 - 2021 Ford F-Series Super Duty: 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8

2021 Ford F-Series Super Duty

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

475 horsepower

The 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8 that powers the top-of-the-line trucks in Ford's F-Series Super Duty lineup produces 475 horsepower, but that's not even the most special thing about it. The Blue Oval has built a diesel engine to dominate the towing and payload wars, and as a result it produces 475 horsepower and 1,050 pound-feet of torque.

No. 1 - 2021 Ram 1500 TRX: 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V8

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

702 horsepower

There's no competition here. The Ram 1500 TRX is far and away the most powerful truck on the market today – or any other day, for that matter. The 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V8 that powers the 2021 TRX produces 702 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, and makes the Ram the most powerful and fastest mass-produced truck in the world. All of that power helps the truck deliver an 8,100-pound towing capacity and a zero to 60 mph time of just 4.5 seconds.

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