Forty years ago, when Jack Brunton joined the Army, he was already in love with Corvettes. Over the years, he's owned Mustangs, SS Chevelles, even an El Dorado convertible. Finally, he was able to buy his first Corvette, an '02 Magnetic Red II roadster with a Light Oak interior.
Now a retired Airborne Ranger, Colonel Brunton, who lives in Palm Harbor, Florida, joined the Bay Area Corvette Club and immediately caught, as he put it, "the car show bug." Col. Brunton likes his cars to be one of a kind, and he set about making the Vette truly singular in appearance. Giving the C5 a theme was easy. Combining the vibrant Magnetic Red II paint and his Army career, he named it "The Red Ranger."
Phase One of Operation Red Ranger was to add a set of HRE 547 chrome wheels with red, white, and blue center caps on the original Goodyear F1 tires. A set of Corsa Pace Car pipes with Gold Pro Tips and a stainless X crossover were also installed. Phase Two consisted of accenting the Corvette's exterior with gold trim on the side marker lamps, taillamp grilles, exhaust plate, license-plate holder, and gold Grand Sport chevron stripes on the left-front fender. Gold hood stripes and LS1 emblems on the rear and fenders give the Corvette a subtly distinctive appearance.
By this time, Col. Brunton was beginning to pick up some trophies, but he wasn't done. The fender-to-fender engine compartment redo was Phase Three. To match the Corsa's improved exhaust, a dual-flow air-intake system with a carbon-fiber high-flow power duct and a Granatelli Mass Air Flow sensor were installed for better breathing. Col. Brunton then began buffing up the underhood area with additional carbon-fiber trim pieces. Along with an engine cover, he added a fender-cover set, a master-cylinder cover, a radiator cover, a battery/fuse-box cover, a cowl-vent air filter, and PIAA windshield wipers. To add contrast, the coolant and washer tanks received Magnetic Red covers, and a gold cover kit added some sparkle. Gold trim is throughout the engine compartment-even the hood struts are gold plated. An underhood liner with a gold crossed-flags emblem rounds out the engine-compartment presentation.
Seeing the Corvette as a work in progress, Col. Brunton moved on to Phase Four of Operation Red Ranger. This was the most radical change of all, involving the installation of a Greenwood wing. "I have to admit that I was really concerned about having holes drilled into my car," he said. "Greenwood did a fabulous job of installing it and matching my paint."
Col. Brunton's strategic planning was starting to pay off by capturing some Best of Show trophies. He added more armament with the installation of LeMans-style non-pop-up headlamps from Breathless and a Z06 scoop-and-brake package.
Phase Five's mission was to extend the "one-of-a-kind" appearance to the interior. Col. Brunton commissioned Vette Essentials to stitch a custom interior in Oak with Mag Red trim with "Red Ranger" embroidered in the headrests. Auto XTC in Pinellas Park, Florida, installed the trick new threads and then added an R.P.O. dash, console trim kit, shift knob, and airbag letters-all in rich Burlwood. The floor wasn't forgotten; there's Lloyd-embroidered floor and trunk mats with gold crossed-flag emblems and gold sill plates.
Like anyone who builds a custom Corvette, Col. Brunton isn't done yet. He's considering a new hood and a front splitter. How does Mrs. Brunton feel about these expenditures for Operation Red Ranger? "Betty Ann has been really supportive," Col. Brunton said. "But then it might have something to do with the fact that whenever I embellish the car, I add something special to her jewelry collection!" Sounds good to us. Proof positive: Support your troops. They will support you.