Ed McClain of Franklin, Tennessee, is no stranger to performance cars and has been a passionate Corvette enthusiast all of his life. Much of his childhood was spent building race cars with his dad, which not only instilled Ed with a healthy desire for ludicrous amounts of power, but gave him a good sense of how to create it as well.
In 1967, when Ed was barely 10 years old, he caught his first glimpse of a Corvette and was hooked instantly. He's since owned a '69 and an '82 Vette, and he currently owns three--a '64 convertible, an '88 35th Anniversary C4, and a completely over-the-top, no-punches-pulled, street-driven '00 coupe that would dwarf many race cars.
Ed and his wife Angela bought the Millennium Yellow '00 brand new in June 2000. They thoroughly enjoyed driving the C5, but Ed, in his infinite desire to design and build something completely different, began almost immediately to ponder how far he could push the car's already-high capabilities. The idea really was quite simple--Ed wanted ungodly quick acceleration, rail-like handling, and the ability to stop on a dime. Like we said, simple really.
By 2002, Ed had his game plan together and recruited his friends at Vette Speed in Nashville, Tennessee, to help. Together, Ed (designer), Steve White (fabricator), Kevin Fisher (assembler), Dan Mills (tech guru), and Jimmy Stover (Web master) set out to dismantle and almost entirely reconstruct the C5 into a veritable land missile.
With the body separated from the chassis, the crew systematically re-engineered or replaced nearly every component under the skin. Because of the extreme performance expectations Ed had, the aluminum LS1 motor was yanked in favor of starting with an '03 cast-iron 6.0-liter Chevy truck motor to build on. White's Racing in Kingsport, Tennessee, bored and machined the iron Gen-III V-8 out to 7.0 liters (yup, the magical "427ci" displacement), fortifying the engine with Manley rods, a COMP Cams camshaft, 1.75 COMP Cams roller rockers, and COMP Cams roller lifters. The stock 6.0-liter aluminum heads were ported, polished, and CC'd for maximum flow, being assembled with 208-intake and 198-exhaust valves, three COMP Cams springs per valve, COMP Cams retainers, and a head-stud kit.
The new motor is decked with CNC'd custom valve covers and a Weiand intake plenum, custom-crafted pulleys, and pulley brackets created by Vette Speed. But this didn't top the list of items installed on the redone powerplant. To help with the get up and go, a 450 shot from Nitrous Oxide Systems gives a "little punch," but not before the twin Garrett turbos kick in with 14 to as high as 30 psi of boost. But this isn't just another one of those twin-turbo or NOS vehicles. Nope, far from it. This C5 packs an extra modification that makes it super trick and unique. You see, Ed wanted maximum, unrestricted airflow for his turbos, and he designed it with his quest in mind. So, he figured the best way to do this was to cut intake tubes into the frame to get the desired effect when he expanded the front with a Tigershark bumper, Specter Werks headlights, and an ACI spoiler. Did it work? Well, the numbers speak for themselves. Backed with an extensively worked '03 4L60-E with full manual shift controls and a 3,400-rpm stall torque converter--all manufactured by Hye Performance--the '00 makes 784 ft-lb of torque at 6,000 rpm and approximately 1,100 horses at the same peak! We're quick to point out that this is without a shot of nitrous and only 20 pounds of boost from the twin hairdryers--and all while riding on a pair of 18x12 HREs wrapped in BFG drag radials out back and 18x10s up housed in similar BFG treads. This amounts to a top speed of 250 miles an hour, with an estimated curb weight of around 3,300 pounds.
Now that Ed got the handle on that raw, unabashed power he was looking for...what about that small matter of stopping on a dime? For this trifling matter, Wilwood was chosen as the way to slow things down when coming out of those bouts of break-neck speed. And when he's mashing that master cylinder through the pedal assembly--both by Wilwood--you can bet he's doing it in comfort and style. After all, who says your cabin has to be as bare as a NASCAR cup series racer even if you want to race like one. So for this, the interior received an upgrade as opposed to a gutting. For starters, the A/C was left intact--an important option for summer days--and the stereo was replaced with an Autobahn system that can still be heard over the Vette Speed custom-made exhaust. A five-point racing harness replaces the standard-issue three-point restraints, and a rollbar made from 2-inch tubes keeps the occupants out of harms way. This, along with billet aluminum A/C vents and a control panel and a rewrapped steering wheel, tops off the interior mods.
Well, that's two out of three. So, about that rail-like handling? Under the body you'll find Penske coilover shocks with GM Performance Parts front and rear stabilizer bars nearby. Vette Speed stepped in with a custom-made steering column. This combination does a good job of keeping the 3.90:1 rear in line and the Vette pulsing across the lanes with more power than anyone could ever need.
So, the next time you're in the Tennessee area and you see a flash of yellow and a feel a strong breeze, don't ask if it's a bird or a plane. Just know it's something a helluva lot better--Ed McClain's '00 C5.