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2005 Chevrolet Corvette - The 1100 Building

When Your Corvette Tops 1,000 HP, There's Only One Place To Be

Christopher R. Phillip Apr 26, 2007
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"What's that big building over there?"
"The 1100 building."
"Who gets to live there?"
"The fastest Corvettes on Earth."

In the 1100 building, the landlord has one rule: Your Corvette must have 1,100 hp. Is your Vette stout enough to land a spot in this ultraexclusive edifice? Let's see.

Modern Day Muscle Cars (MDMC) currently shares the top story in the 1100 building with our feature car's current owner, Mike Craig. They made it there with a comprehensively made-over '05 C6 Corvette called the Z1100. If you recall your Chevy history, the similar-sounding Z-11 designation referred to a big-block-powered '63 Impala designed to beat all comers at the dragstrip. The Corvette Z1100 tuner car was built with the same purpose: to rule the quarter-mile, 1011/42 seconds at a time.

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VETTE spoke with MDMC consultant Sean McKesson, to learn all about the package. First off, you should know the Z1100 gear costs as much as a new Z06 itself. That's a whopping $75,000 on top of the price of the base C6. Or, if you prefer, for a price of $156,000, MDMC will work with a partner Chevrolet dealership to provide a new 1,100hp Z1100 in your choice of factory colors.

Our feature car-the very first Vette to wear the Z1100 badge-was designed to wow performance-industry reps at the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show. Considering the car's 1,100hp output, you might think MDMC would want to keep its build secrets exactly that-secret. But we're VETTE magazine, after all, and MDMC reps were more than willing to give us the exclusive inside scoop on the car's internals.

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MDMC started this particular Z1100 build with a 6.0L LS2 aluminum block. (Since this car's creation, the company has modified the package to feature a 427ci engine based on a C5-R racing block.) Common, you say? Read on. The company adds dry sleeves to the stock cylinder case, maintaining the factory bore and stroke measurements to produce 364 ci. The rotating assembly is the best money can buy. A Lunati forged crankshaft is stuffed into the GM block, then outfitted with JE forged pistons sporting ceramic-coated tops and Teflon-coated skirts. The slugs are attached to forged Lunati Pro Rods via full-floating wrist pins. Remember, the assembly must be able to withstand 1,100 hp for its quarter-mile passes, and it's designed to do just that.

Next, MDMC bolts on a set of CNC-ported 205cc AFR cylinder heads outfitted with Ferrea stainless valves, Comp heavy-duty springs and retainers, stock GM rocker arms, ARP studs, and Cometic one-piece gaskets. Sean tells VETTE that the AFR heads are perfect for the job. "They're the best in the business, and-even better-they don't come off when we add 15 pounds of boost and fly [through] the quarter-mile at 150 mph." The cam is a custom MDMC blower grind featuring 237-/242-degree duration, 598-/605-inch lift, and a 114-degree lobe-separation angle.

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It takes a radical amount of airflow to achieve 1,100 hp, so you might be surprised to learn that the Z1100 retains its stock LS2 intake and a polished version of the factory throttle body. Sean says he's achieved phenomenal results with these items, making a move to aftermarket upgrades unnecessary. As for fuel, Motron 65-lb/hr injectors work with twin Bosch 420 in-tank pumps to maintain a steady flow of 93-octane pump gas.

"A boost-and-pump setup would give out at 800 hp; the twin Bosch setup handles up to 1,400 hp," Sean says. The system is customized further with an MDMC return-style fuel system, custom lines, and a tank conversion-the better to prevent fuel starvation at the Z1100's stratospheric output levels. Engine management is handled by a stock ECM tuned for maximum performance by MDMC at Dyno Lab of Marietta, Georgia.

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The stock LS2 compression ratio of 10.5:1 is lowered to 8.5:1 to accommodate a ProCharger blower system. This system features custom polished-aluminum tubing, a Mondo race blow-off valve, and an oversize 9-inch filter. A maximum boost level of 15 psi is made possible by an MDMC-designed intercooler featuring three welded-together cores. The stock pulley system is replaced with an eight-rib conversion and an ATI harmonic damper, keeping the engine safe at rpm levels way past the tuned rev limit of 6,800 rpm.

Look closely at the photo of the Z1100 with its hatch open. No, those aren't kegs of beer. To push things even further into the realm of insanity, MDMC installed twin 15-pound nitrous bottles held in place with custom CNC brackets. With 1,150 psi throttle pressure, an onboard bottle warmer, and a driver-controlled full-throttle switch, this Z1100 dynos a mind-boggling 1,130 hp at the flywheel (981 at the rear wheels) on 93-octane gas. A shot of juice is used in Third and Fourth gears, and only on the track.

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Recognizing the limitations of the stock rearend, MDMC installed a cryo-treated 3.42 gearset with heavy-duty clutches and hardened 4340 300M steel output shafts. The rear suspension is upgraded with QA1 shocks, while stock C6 shocks ride the front. MDMC preserved the stock front shocks for the excellent weight transfer they produce. The factory T56 six-speed transmission is toughened slightly with carbon blocker rings. "The transmission performs perfectly," according to Sean, and there has never been a need for a rebuild.

This particular Z1100 runs HRE 541R wheels measuring 19x8.5 inches in front and 20x12 inches out back. They're wrapped in road-hugging Michelin Pilots, sized 275/30-19 and 335/30-20, respectively. Throw in a pair of Z06 rear-fender flares, and the look is menacing enough to induce tachycardia in Viper drivers at 50 paces.

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There is no noise ordinance in our 1100 building, and that's great for the tenants. Think 1,100 watts in your Corvette sounds loud? Try 1,100 hp. MDMC tells us the Z1100 "sounds like a jet coming at you. . . and a full-blown race car going past you." It features Kooks 1 7/8-inch long-tube headers (stainless with ceramic coating, natch) welded to a 3-inch stainless centersection with an X-shape crossover. Positioned back from the midpipes are custom 3-inch Borla "Stinger"-style mufflers, also in stainless steel.

MDMC has built four Z1100s so far, representing half a million dollars' worth of Corvettes. We asked Sean if any world-famous celebrities have bought one. "Not yet," he says. Considering the C6's stupendous performance potential, that may be a good thing.

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Thankfully, car owner Mike Craig has a healthy respect for the Z1100's otherworldly capabilities. "I don't get scared [much]," he tells us. "I was a state trooper. The Z1100 C6 Corvette has a top estimated speed of 220 mph, but when I got it up to 180 mph in a controlled condition, it scared me. It was the fastest three-quarters of a mile of my life." At the track, the car has gone as fast as 10.38 at 145 mph on radials. With Hoosier RI street slicks in place, the numbers tumble to a scarcely believable 9.67 at 150. "It's almost too much power," Mike says.

Incredibly, the Z1100 is also street legal. "It meets all DOT requirements for being on a public highway," Mike says. "The best thing about it is its daily driveability. I enjoy it about 50 miles a week." Was the $150,000-vehicle worth it? "The saying 'you get what you pay for' applies. It's definitely worth it."

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Having beaten Suzuki GSX1300 superbikes, Dodge Vipers, and Ferraris, don't be surprised if Mike takes on a jet airliner in a half-mile race sometime in the future. For earthbound competitors, Mike tells us he'd like a shot at a particular twin-turbo Ford GT owned by Heffner's Performance of Sarasota, Florida. "We've never tested a street car that accelerated to 150 mph quicker than this twin-turbo GT," said Car and Driver in a road test of the blown Ford. "I'd like to see the Z1100 go heads-up against the GT from a 60-mph roll to 150 mph, and see if they feel the same way," Mike says. "I'm confident that there's nothing out there that can match [this] Corvette, other than another Z1100 from MDMC."

The Z1100 is Mike's sixth Vette, and his second one from MDMC-his last car was a 650hp C5. Horsepower is now in Mike Craig's psyche. He lives for it. He dreams about it. "Now that I've gotten into tuning, I would never own another stock Corvette. It's the difference between night and day."

Think you deserve a spot in the 1100 building? Send us the details of your 1,100-plus hp Corvette, and maybe you'll see it featured in the pages of VETTE magazine. Residents of lower floors are also encouraged to apply.



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