1999 Callaway C12 Corvette Coupe - Never Enough

Dropping A Lingenfelter 427 Into A Callaway C12 Means Bad News

Kevin Shaw Sep 27, 2007 0 Comment(s)
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Reeves was adamant about retaining his C12's road-friendly manners, and sought to improve upon it. The widened C12's wheelbase offered near-perfect sport handling, chassis composure, and absent body roll. Near magnetic grip is achieved via massive 295/30R-19 Pirelli P Zero Rossos developed specifically for the C12. Giant cooled Alcon brakes slow the rotors down with a visible orange halo glowing under hard braking circumstances. The Callaway was designed to excel in every road course application, and excel it does with legend-worthy gusto.

Satisfied with the reconfigured LS1 powerplant now producing 440 horses at 6,300 rpm, Joe took possession of the Callaway C12 shortly thereafter. The engine was treated with enmity under the CNC's porting tools-the cylinder heads were gorged open for greater flow. The factory block was fit with a new camshaft, and the factory computers were wiped clean and reprogrammed with new fuel curves and timing maps. Under the personal direction of Reeves, each C12 powerplant was to not only perform but also meet reliability, durability, and emissions standards established by himself and the 50-state smog laws. The factory manual six-speed was amazingly up to the task of handling the boost in power, but not before being outfitted with a lighter flywheel and a more durable single-disc clutch and pressure plate.

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Engine ::: Not everything is what it seems. Though it says "Callaway" on the valve cover shields, the current engine was built by the craftsmen at 21st Century Muscle Cars in Dallas, Texas. An authorized LPE dealer, the 21st Century-built 427 has the potential to erupt at well over the advertised 550 hp. Using all Lingenfelter parts and equipment, its durability and performance is just as if the C12 was sent personally to the Decatur, Indiana, facility itself.

Joe enjoyed his one-of-one Callaway for several years before selling it to J.C. Cherry a few years ago. Knowing that the new 505-horse Z06 was fast approaching, J.C. refused to have his near $200,000 Callaway beaten by anything available on the showroom floor. So he first turned to Callaway for a 427ci plant, but was met with a backlog of waiting patrons who were in line before him. Unwilling to sit on his hands for that long, he took his C12's destiny into his own hands.

Eventually J.C. decided to deliver the C12 to 21st Century Muscle Cars in Dallas, Texas. An authorized dealer of the Decatur, Indiana, legend Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, 21st Century began to piece together one of the single most impressive powerplants imaginable. The original 5.7-liter engine was pulled, cleaned, bagged, and set aside in J.C.'s garage, while a Darton 7-liter block was parked on the porting bench. The block was gutted to an impressive 4.1250-inch bore and filled with Manley 6.125-inch rods, JE pistons with only .005-inch worth of clearance, a Callies 4-inch stroke crank, and a GM Performance-ground roller camshaft. LS1 aluminum heads were port-matched, opened, flow benched, refitted with new, larger valves, hardened seats, retainers, and prepped to yield well over the near 600 hp that the engine has been blueprinted to produce. Loosely labeled as a "street" build by the Lingenfelter crew, 21st Century pieced together a 427 worthy of the famous cubic-inch label.

Editor Alan Colvin was present when Jerry Heasley shot JC's C12 and was able to climb behind the wheel for a quick spin, of which he could only describe as "stupid fast." And we think that's just fine.

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