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RE: "cheap gas"

What engine? Although even the standard engine in 69 was designed to run on premium leaded fuel FAR different from anything available at the pump today. Your best bet is to find some racing gasoline. Its expensive, but you can cut it with good pump gas for street driving.

There are new cars with compression ratios approaching what the old muscle cars had that can run on pump gas, but these engines were designed for today's fuel, and cam grinding is so much more accurate today that it used to be that engineers can obtain high cylinder pressures without detonation. The new electronic ignitions and fuel injection systems help too.

Assuming you want to keep your Vette in stock configuration, and don't drive it all that much, I'd suggest the racing gas, and maybe an HEI distributor. Then experiment with carb tuning and ignition timing.

RE: "valves seem to clatter a little"

If it's the original engine, even with low miles, the valve springs are worn out by now.
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