50th Anniversary Z06 C5 Corvette - Silver Streak

A 50th Anniversary Z06 With John Lingenfelter's Moniker All Over It

Kevin Shaw Dec 10, 2006 0 Comment(s)
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The Corvette didn't simply fall into being America's first supercar by mere accident. It took years of advancing technology, geometry, and race testing. Were it not for the driven members of the Chevrolet design, engineering, and production teams, the Corvette would have failed much in the same way several impersonators and imitators have over the last half-century. The Corvette is not just a car, but a record of all the people whose hands have touched the creation of such a signature piece of automotive history. From the very top of General Motors' brass down to the assembly line worker installing sun visors, the birth of each and every Corvette is a team effort. Producing the first Corvette in 1953 required a Herculean effort by all those involved. From the preproduction prototype on display at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel in January 1953 to the hand-built 300 units pieced together on the floor of the Flint, Michigan, factory, the introduction of the Corvette was an uphill climb. All those involved knew they were scratching the surface of something great in the American automotive industry, but had little clue to what would follow over the next 50 years. The Corvette's legacy and long history is what adds to its allure. If the car was introduced these days, it would still be an exciting thoroughbred performer, stomping down domestic competitors as well as European machines, but it truly wouldn't yield half the present following that it does today. It's a phenomenon, plain and simple.

When acclaimed NHRA driver, John Lingenfelter, chose to apply his engineering aptitude on the prodigious Corvette, the result was incredible. Even while his business, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering (LPE), was up and running, John continued on the pro racing circuit, claiming 13 career wins. During his time in the Competition Eliminator class, John was the first to break the six-second barrier. Towards the twilight of his life, John focused his speed skills on GM's Ecotec four-cylinder platform, clicking off a career best of a 7.08-second quarter-mile in a Chevrolet microbox. Meanwhile, LPE was fast on turning stock Corvettes into quarter-mile-eating, slalom-snapping, road-course-burning machines. Using every bit of available technology and engineering, Lingenfelter Corvettes have been synonymous with street-legal, race car performance, either with nitrous, superchargers, or single or twin turbos. Engines are pulled, computer-balanced, blueprinted, honed, and fitted with the lightest and strongest materials accessible. Lingenfelter Corvettes are either assembled according to the individual desires of each client or per pre-made performance packages including test times and/or dyno results. Owning a Lingenfelter Corvette is much like belonging to a club. The association attributed to Corvette ownership is exclusive as it is, but the distinction of your particular Corvette being a Lingenfelter car carries with it some weight. It says you love speed, you love to race, and you'll take on anyone who looks at you funny.

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Bill Bruner is one of those guys. Hailing from Owensboro, Kentucky, Bill was excited to wrap his hands around one of the rare 50th Anniversary Z06 Corvettes, purchasing it new from Tommy Tapp Motors in his hometown. In original factory Quicksilver, Bill knew he had something special on his hands. The Z06 rapidly became the performance car to have, and by 2006 had evolved into one of the most venerable performance vehicles General Motors has ever produced. With all the surmounting attention placed on the Z06 moniker, Bill felt it appropriate to wrest out a few more ponies from the Anniversary Edition. So he picked up the phone and got a hold of Jeff Meyers of LPE. Though John Lingenfelter had passed earlier, LPe was proudly carrying the torch of their founder. Bill presented Jeff with a projected idea of what he wanted his Quicksilver Corvette to look, perform, and handle like, and Jeff made it happen. Plans for the engine were drawn up, parts ordered, and Bill drove his Z06 to Lingenfelter's Decatur, Indiana, facility like a father sending his child to summer camp.

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