When it comes to the mechanical attributes of Bryan and Shani Morris' '02 blown Corvette convertible, the details are irrefutable: a stock-block LS1, plus Lingenfelter heads and a Magnuson supercharger equals 670 hp and 625 lb-ft. No question about it.
There also is no questioning the all-business stance of the blue Vette, with its wide tires out back, chromed rollbar hoops, and bulging hood.
No, our only nit to pick-and it's a general comment, not specifically targeted at the Morrises' Vette-is the "Tiger Shark" bodywork, which includes the front and rear fascias. Versions of these attractive body kits are popular aftermarket add-ons for C5 owners, and we cannot deny their visual appeal. Here's the thing, though: These Tiger Shark kits are not based on the appearance of the '01 Corvette Tiger Shark concept vehicle-they're based on the '02 Corvette White Shark show car.
The '01 Tiger Shark concept had a wide, single-port grille punctuated with toothy vertical elements, while the '02 White Shark had the three-port front fascia and lower spoiler seen on the Morrises' Vette and other aftermarket Tiger Shark kits. The same goes for the styling of the rear fascia. Of course, "Tiger Shark" sounds much cooler than "White Shark," so it's no wonder the aftermarket picked up on the name with, well, more teeth.
Why are we getting wound up in a seemingly insignificant detail? Because Corvette history is steeped in details, incorrect information often gets remembered as the gospel truth. So, to sum up: Tiger Shark body kits are patterned after the White Shark concept car. Enough said.
Nevertheless, the Morrises' Vette remains faithful to the Tiger Shark concept in its pressure-fed combustion chambers. The '01 concept vehicle had a supercharger-albeit hidden under a carbon-fiber cover-and so does this fast street car. The polished Magnuson compressor (an Eaton unit) blows about 8 pounds of boost into the stock-displacement LS1. The engine retains its factory 9.5:1 pistons, which squeeze air and fuel against the carefully carved-out chambers of Lingenfelter Stage 2 cylinder heads.
The Lingenfelter heads feature large, 2.055-inch intake valves and 1.57-inch exhaust valves, along with complete CNC machining of the ports and bowls. The heads are matched with a new, Comp Cams-supplied camshaft that provides .564/.569 lift specs and a blower-friendly 114-degree lobe-separation angle.
The engine inhales through a Hurricane airbox and stock throttle body. It exhales through Kooks 1.75-inch headers. And just for good measure, there's a 50-shot TNT nitrous system. Engine assembly and tuning chores were handled by 21st Century Muscle Cars, of Carrollton, Texas (www.21stcenturymusclecars.com).
Actually, "21 CMC" performed just about every task concerning the Corvette's transformation from sedate boulevard cruiser to dragstrip crusher. That includes not only the engine work, but also installing 3.73 gears and hanging HAL drag shocks at all corners. The rest of the suspension and drivetrain are stock. Transmission help was requested from Rodney's Transmissions, which beefed up the 4L60-E automatic and slipped in a Yank 3,400-stall converter.
Stuart's Paint and Body was responsible for painting the Tecstar-supplied Tiger Shark body kit in the Corvette's Electron Blue body color. The exterior enhancements also include Europe-spec taillights and Z06 rear-fender scoops. When the top is down, the chrome rollbar hoops provide added visual appeal. The hoops are just about the only interior upgrades, save for a pair of A-pillar gauges.
With our photo shoot occurring at a dragstrip, the logical question is: What'll it do? The simple answer is a lot! More specifically, the car's best e.t. is a 10.54 at 131 mph on BFG Drag Radials (although the car wore a set of easy-smoking ET Streets during the photo shoot).
Best of all, this street-driven shark navigates the treacherous asphalt sea around Plano, Texas, while finding itself at the dragstrip once a month or so. It does so without the aid of a trailer, too. The unlucky sheetmetal in the staging lanes is this Vette's chum, and when the lights come down, it takes a big bite.