Dave called on Peter Cochetas at Dragon Race Engineering in Broomfield, Colorado. He added a ProCharger supercharger, while at the same time upgrading and tuning the LS1 for its power adder, which produced only 5 pounds of boost at first. "He always starts out the same way, with that and a mild tune," says Dave. "He said 'Get used to that first. If you want more, holler.'"
Other upgrades for the LS1 included a 95mm BBK throttle body, 38-lb/hr fuel injectors, and a Comp Cams camshaft. The heads were ported, polished, and flowed. Dave's particularly pleased with the camshaft. "I didn't want a really radical, 'whumpity-whump' camshaft, because it's an automatic," he says.
Speaking of which, the only parts of the automatic transaxle that are still anywhere close to stock are the outer case and the console-mounted shifter. "Peter said, 'With that automatic, the first time you hit that thing hard, you're just going to watch it melt onto the ground. It won't hold it, there's no way,'" Dave recalls. So the OE unit went to Art Carr Racing Transmissions, which sent back one that was, in Dave's words, "guaranteed bulletproof to 1,000 horsepower."
After the ProCharger went in, Peter let Dave know his new power adder could cause trouble in a hurry. "At that time I had BFG G-Force tires on it," Dave recalls. "He said, 'I want you to stomp the throttle from a dead stop.' I did, and I spun a 180 that completely engulfed the car in smoke. I needed my Depends!" After that, the BFGs in back were replaced by a pair of Nitto drag tires.
Two years later, Dave told Peter that he was ready for more power by turning up the boost from the ProCharger. Back to Peter's shop it went, this time for upgrades like dual fuel pumps and fuel lines, 52-lb/hr injectors, and a new supertune for the ECM. In turn, the ProCharger's output went up from 5 pounds of boost to 10, which Dave says is the limit that a production LS1 block can handle. "You can't do any more than 10 [pounds]," he says, "or you'll pick up pieces of it."
Despite all that he's had done with the powertrain, Dave doesn't take his C5 to the dragstrip. "If you run 12.99 seconds or faster, they kick you to the curb without a rollcage," he says. "I'm not going to make that car look like crap with a rollcage in it. So, they won't let me run it on the strip." Dave says that his Z06 convertible is more a street stormer than a track-day runner. He says that one of his buddies, a mechanic by trade, describes the car this way: "It idles at 650 rpm and runs at 190 degrees all day long. It never gets warm, and it purrs like a kitten. Then, when you put your foot in it, it turns from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde in the blink of an eye!"
Needless to say, this is a keeper. "I love this car," Dave says. How does it compare against the sixth-generation Vette? "I've driven the C6. It's is an excellent automobile, and I'm very impressed with it. But compared to the performance of my car, which isn't stock by any means, I'd rather have my C5." Through all the modifications, it only has 16,000 miles on it.
Dave's advice is simple. "If you're going to purchase a modified Corvette, make sure you know who modified it, and if they knew what they were doing!"