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Mike Hefner's ’99 Hardtop

When A Texan Buys A Corvette At Halloween, This Is The Result

Ronnie Hartman Aug 1, 2001

Step By Step

Mike Hefner lives in Texas. You know, where they do things BIG. He picked up this fully optioned black ’99 hardtop right before Halloween of 1998 and wasted no time getting into modifications. First, though, he had to hit the dyno. With fewer than 400 miles on the odometer, it produced 311 hp and 324 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels. Fully stock, the car ran a 13.1 at 108 mph.

Now to those mods. He added a shift light, Flowmaster mufflers with custom tips, ported the MAF, and installed a Donaldson intake system. He hit the track at Ennis Motorplex and ran a 12.92 at 110 mph with 2.13-second 60-foot times. Not good enough. He added an NOS dry system and drove down to Houston Raceway, where he ran a 12.1 at 117 mph (with 1.91 60-foot times). Since NOS doesn’t make a dry system for LS1 Corvettes, he made his own, copying the design of the LS1 F-body kit. With this setup, the car dynoed at 400 rear-wheel horsepower with 459 rear-wheel torque.

After driving it every day for a year, Mike needed to repair all the road damage he’d collected on the front bumper. That’s when the exterior came to more closely match what was lurking within. What you see here is the paint job he’s always envisioned for his Corvette. He didn’t want anything too bold or flashy, but something that “made you look twice,” as he puts it. DuSold Designs nailed it with subtle, purple ghost flames, which fade to black at a distance or under low light. Depending on lighting, the flames range from purple to blue to gray. Very cool. The coup de grace of this design is a hologram-type skull on the front license-plate area, and the skulls wearing gas masks painted on the black NOS bottles. The finishing touches include a shift knob with purple flames (that lights up at night) and a set of 2000-style chrome rims.

You’d think that would be enough, but not for this Texan. He went to Agostino Racing Engines for yet more power. He settled on their Stage II heads and cam package—2.08/1.6 valves, ported and polished heads, a Lunati custom-grind cam, 222/230 at .50 on a 114 lobe separation. After RoadTech did the installation, he climbed back on the dyno. The results? 374 rear-wheel horsepower with 369 rear-wheel torque, and 479/469 on juice!

He had the computer reprogrammed to take advantage of the new heads and cam, and increased the rev limiter to cooperate with the higher shift points. He added a ported throttle body and, as advised by the computer tuner, returned the stock MAF to duty. The dyno spit out 390 rear-wheel horsepower with 364 lb-ft of torque. With some more tuning, Mike’s aiming for 400 hp at the rear wheels without nitrous and much higher torque numbers. He’ll run 11s before he’s satisfied.

If you’d like to try this Texas-size stuff, you can contact Agostino Racing Engines in Pickering, Ontario, at (905) 420-9195, and DuSold Designs in Lewisville, Texas, at (972) 221-1455.

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