One way to catch Yellow Fever is simple and straightforward: Insert a blower on top of a V-8, then tromp down hard on the accelerator pedal.
Bill Miller has had a passion for Corvettes since he acquired his '76, and that was followed by a '93, a '96, an '88 convertible, and this '01 convertible.
The C5 was the hottest ever for Bill. But like all of us, he wanted more heat. One day, he got a call from Tom Kress at Lingenfelter Performance. Would Mr. Miller be interested in bringing his '01 convertible into Lingenfelter's for the installation of the first intercooled Magnuson blower? Do squirrels gather nuts? Do fish swim? Do ducks fly south for the winter? "I said, 'You better believe it,' " Bill proclaims.
He was in a unique position. He'd been a sales manager at a GM dealership in Decatur, Indiana, for the previous 16 years. Corvette cognoscenti will catch on real quick. The town also played host to Lingenfelter Performance Engineering and the late master engine builder himself.
"John Lingenfelter? Oh, I knew him for years," Bill says.
Lingenfelter was a soft-spoken man. "I'll never forget one time he gave me a ride in a Camaro that had a police package," Bill continues. "My lands! I mean, I could not believe the way that guy could drive a car."
John passed away on Christmas day, 2003, a great loss to Corvette enthusiasts everywhere. However, his legacy continues at his shop in Decatur. Bill's Corvette is a part of that legacy.
His yellow C5 convertible got the LPE blower installation, which included B&B exhausts and an elevated ACI hood for clearance.
"They kept the car all winter," Bill says. "Of course, I didn't need it. I don't drive my Corvette in the winter. I got it back in March, finally, and the supercharger really makes a big difference."
Giving his '01 Lingenfelter big-time power did more than increase the driving pleasure for Bill. It's also been good for business. He says, "We'll have doctors, attorneys, whatever from all over the country call us and say, 'Hey, I'm interested in one of these Lingenfelter engines and they told me to get hold of you to buy a Corvette.' In fact, I sold a car to a guy from Holland. He came over for the Detroit Auto Show. He heard about Lingenfelters and drove from Detroit over here to Decatur.
"They asked me if he could drive it and I said, 'Oh absolutely.' The man loved the supercharger. He said, 'I like the way it whistles, but I think I'm going to go with the twin turbo to get high speed on the Autobahn.' I ended up selling him a new Corvette and he went over there [to Lingenfelter] and did a complete twin-turbo package."
Originally, Bill's stock 350 in his '01 with automatic transmission produced 350 hp. With the blower, the engine now makes 436 hp to the rear wheels. The engine dyno readout was 530 net horses.
There's just nothing quite like a supercharger to boost power, to increase the temperature of a Corvette. In this case, the diagnosis is Yellow Fever.