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Pittsburgh Penguins 1998 Corvette - Hat Trick

Jim Stafford's '98 Corvette Is An Iron City Ice Tribute

Cam Benty Jan 15, 2008
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Jim Stafford's rolling shrine to Pittsburgh Penguins top scorer Mario Lemieux is an amazing machine. Outside, the Corvette sports Z06 Motorsports wheels, Goodyear rubber, and a 3-inch straight-pipe exhaust with custom tips.

Car guys and sports are generally incompatible. Frankly, there seems to be separation that occurs in high school where the jocks do the sports thing and the car guys head for auto shop. Rarely do they cross; but if they choose the same girlfriend, problems can arise. Rent the movie Grease if you're confused.

But for Jim Stafford, his '98 Corvette is a rolling shrine to Pittsburgh Penguins team owner and on-ice superstar Mario Lemieux. For those car guys in the audience, Lemieux was truly an incredible player, scoring nearly 700 goals during his career. He set every Pittsburgh scoring record, helped the Penguins win back-to-back titles in 1991 and 1992, and overcame cancer to add a little personal color commentary to his file. While from 50 feet this Corvette's Mario murals are hard to detect, inside and under the hood there's no question of Jim's unheralded passion for the Penguins' greatest player.

While Jim has owned the stunning triple-black Corvette for a number of years, the murals were freshened up, as was the entire car, over the past two years. The black paint is accented with Pittsburgh Penguins yellow over the Caravaggio fiberglass panels and custom hood. Straight pipes with custom tips replace the factory pieces. Goodyear rubber is positioned at the four corners wrapped around Z06 Motorsports 18-inch wheels. Baer disc brakes make it stop faster than a broken Zamboni.

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The interior is a complete custom job with Lemieux accents throughout. Vette Essentials seats and steering wheel retain Pittsburgh Penguins coloration. Underhood, the LS1 engine was rebuilt by Jim and his father-in-law who improved the engine by the addition of a Lunati roller camshaft and high-performance cylinder heads. TPIS headers with 3-inch tubes help this high-speed machine skate to 12.82-second quarter-mile times at 118.6 mph.

If there were ever a Corvette hat trick (for the car guys, a hat trick would be three scores in one game by the same player), this would be one: Corvette, Jim Stafford, and Mario Lemieux, three champions in their own rink.



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