Knowing that the intended quarter-mile times the Corvair would run would require some interior enhancements, Mike had Waters fabricate a rollbar to keep the chassis tight and the NHRA tech officials happy. The rollbar was powdercoated the same orange as the stripes, and was followed up with the addition of a set of Pontiac Grand Am chairs up front. "I could probably have made the car a bit lighter, but I have three kids and I wanted seats to be available for them," Mike says.
Thus, the stock rear seat went back in, but not before it and the rest of the interior were recovered in a charcoal gray and orange schematic. A black carpet covers the custom-made floorboard by Waters, and Mike wraps his mitts around a Grant steering wheel. The car is put into and out of gear via a B&M shifter, and the Meyers crew enjoys the tunes being pumped out by the Sony Xplod head unit and 6-inch speakers
Said shifter actuates the forward and reverse gears in the 4L60E four-speed automatic overdrive transmission that Mike installed. The slushbox squashes a Precision 3,400-stall converter inside the bellhousing. The input shaft of the trans is spun thanks to the power provided by the stock '98-vintage LS1 5.7-liter Gen III small-block. The all-aluminum mill was fortified with a set of Keith Black slugs, as well as the addition of a Comp Cams hydraulic roller bumpstick. The 'shaft showcases specs of 0.610-inch lift and a 274 duration on the intake side, which coincides with 0.601-inch lift and a 276 duration on the exhaust.
The stock LS1 intake manifold was heaved in favor of an LS6 intake. The LS1 exhales through Street Performance 1 3/4-inch shorty headers that dump into a 2 1/2-inch exhaust system that is quieted down with Flowmaster mufflers. The powerplant is kept cool thanks to an '87 Camaro radiator, while modified Corvette engine covers enable Mike to keep the LS1's coil pack location. All told, the engine is good for 336 rear-wheel horsepower and 355 lb-ft of torque. The power is put to the ground thanks to a 12-bolt rear stuffed with 4.10 gears and a Posi differential. Linking the engine/trans combo to the third member is a custom-made driveshaft courtesy of Authorized Auto.
"I love the attention that the car gets," Mike says. "I am a pretty laid-back guy, but I love it when I take the car to a show and people come up, gather around, and pass comments. I enjoy driving it and racing it. After all, that's what it was built for."
And race it Mike does, as he has run a best of an 11.82 at 114.50 mph. "When I tell people what the car has run, they are like, 'Well, OK, a bit slow,' but the car will run high 11s and low 12s all day long and it's still very streetable. I had originally thought about putting in a 6.0-liter LS2, but I decided to stay with the LS1. I would love to get the car into the 11.50s, and I figure a set of heads and a swap over to full-length headers should do the trick. I think it would be cool to go 11.50s with a streetable car without a blower or nitrous."