C4/C5 Corvette Swap - Lust, Greed & Passion

On The Road With Two C5s, A C4, And Their Owners Who Swapped Corvettes And Told Their Tales

Jerry Pitt Feb 1, 2004 0 Comment(s)
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When a novelist writes a best seller, it's far from the standard fare of everyday life. The recipe for a modern-day novel: a fall for forbidden lust; a grand desire to have what isn't one's own; and a truckload of heated passion necessary to weave a sordid tale.

Sounds fun to us!

So when we embarked on Corvette Fever's challenge to find Corvette owners who would, dare we say it, swap their most cherished possession, it seemed like the perfect tale. The challenge, we all agreed, would be to find willing participants.

Fortunately for us, one of our first introductions at the '03 Corvettes at Carlisle was Bobby Tow and his '01 Millennium Yellow Z06. This patriotic road rocket had nearly everything we were looking for to launch our Corvette swap concept. Here was a highly modified, retina-searing beauty. Best of all, Bobby had friends in his North Georgia Lanier Corvettes Unlimited club who would gladly swap their Corvettes for a chance to sample his.

While we were far from an illicit setting, the concept was compelling nonetheless. Bobby introduced us to Jack Jett and his Stars & Stripes '00 Torch Red coupe. At the same time, we met Brit Dave Rasmussen and his Black '95 LT1 wearing the Union Jack on its flank quarters. We made our proposal: drive the other's Corvettes and tell us the sordid details. I closed by saying, "It's kinda like wife-swapping, only legal."

"We're in," the trio enthusiastically replied.

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It's all business with Bobby Tow's Millennium Yellow Z06. The patriotic theme is carried on the carbon-fiber hood.

'01 Millennium Yellow Z06Flowery Branch, Georgia

If you were to design the ultimate performance aftermarket Z06, you wouldn't have to look much further than Bobby Tow's. Bobby participates in NCCC autocross and open-track events at nearby Road Atlanta, which helps underscore the modifications the Corvette has undergone.

Under the hood, the LS6 is a tough package to improve, but Bobby has installed a 178-degree thermostat and the appropriate fan-control system, a Granatelli Motorsports mass airflow sensor, a Halltech forced-air induction system, and a Halltech ported throttle body. On the exhaust side, Breathless Performance Products headers feed Random Technology catalytic converters and a Corsa Competition Titanium 3-inch system with dual 4-inch tips.

Transferring the power to the six-speed is a lightweight aluminum flywheel and a Kevlar clutch-to-pressure plate, which is perfect for on-track demands.

This patriotic Z06 features the Stars & Stripes on the carbon-fiber hood, and a fixed headlamp system reminiscent of the C5-R was purchased from Breathless. To date, the Z06 has run a best quarter-mile of 12.38 seconds at 119 mph on street D.O.T. tires. A Baer EradiSpeed brake system hauls it down to a stop.

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Tastefully modified with a distinctive personal touch, Bobby's Z06 is trimmed out in Vette Essentials leather components. Bobby notes, "Ken King makes the best OEM leather products and matches the OE colors exactly!"

Jack Jett on Bobby Tow's Z06
"Bobby has changed about every bolt-on part other than the internals of the LS6 engine, so this car still has the wonderful reliability and fuel efficiency GM designed. Twenty years ago, an engine designer's fantasy would have been to create such a car that is capable of nearly 30 mpg!

"Once I got used to the Kevlar clutch and the immediate brakes, driving this Corvette was a triple 'E-ticket' ride. This car is the most fun I have ever had with my clothes on in 57 years. When you 'get on it,' it makes the most awesome sound I have ever heard.

"But, let's be honest, the true test of owning a car like Bobby's is the wife. My wife, Raye, rode back from Carlisle, 670 miles, with Bobby's wife, Connie. Upon their return I asked her how the trip was. She said, 'Fine, like riding back in our car. Why do you ask?'

"That's all I wanted to hear. As soon as the C6 Z06 is available, I plan to purchase one and drive it back from the museum delivery and straight into A.S.A.P. and say 'Set this car up exactly like Bobby's.' That's how much I love driving Bobby's Z06."

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The LS6 of the Z06 has many bolt-ons, but the reliability of the engine has not been compromised. Four hundred-plus horsepower and nearly 30 mpg, who wouldn't like that?

Dave Rasmussen on Bobby Tow's Z06
"As we say in England, 'Bloody 'ell!' Compared to my LT1 Corvette, there is a noticeable increase in torque and, when you couple that with the short gearshift on the six-speed, you get great shifts. That is, once you are comfortable with the Kevlar clutch. Man, it is quick! It is either in or out.

"In one section of road approximately three quarters of a mile in length, a series of esses proved the Z06's magnificent handling. Best of all, the brakes were a perfect match and definitely not stock.

"The aftermarket exhaust is a straight-through system and consequently very loud under full throttle, but not uncomfortably loud.

"Positives: Raw horsepower mixed with great handling and stopping power. Tuned to run on the track.

"Negatives: Harsh clutch requires increased revs in First to get off the line. This Corvette is definitely not driver-friendly in slow traffic. The loud exhaust is certainly not for everyone."




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