1999 Chevrolet Corvette C5 - The Whole Truth

In A World Of Overblown Power Claims, Vincent Moore's 1,000-Horse FRC Is A No-Bull Proposition

Eric Orban Nov 1, 2007 0 Comment(s)
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The saying goes that as long as there have been cars, there have been people trying to make them faster. And as long as enhanced performance has been the auto enthusiast's most earnest ambition, there have been a deceitful few members of this sub-culture with a predilection for exaggerating their vehicles' abilities.

Vincent Moore, of Tampa, Florida, stands in direct contrast to these performance prevaricators. His '99 Corvette fixed-roof coupe is an exemplar of honest, tire-shredding power. This candor is even expressed on his license plate, which reads "Da Truth."

As with many great things in life, the '99 FRC came into Moore's life seemingly by providence. When a friend purchased the car at an auction in 2004, it showed only 54,000 miles on the odometer and was untouched, aside from having been lowered. The new owner kept the car for a year before deciding to upgrade to a Z06. Being a good buddy, Moore offered to take the bone-stock, low-mileage C5 off his hands.

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In the years since he acquired it, Moore's Corvette has served as concrete proof of the theory of evolution. The transformation began with a naturally aspirated 408. Built by Futral Motorsports, this engine was good for 555 horsepower and 520 lb-ft torque. "I had the highest-dynoing hydraulic-cam LS car in the country for one-and-a-half years," Moore says. For many, this would be the end of the line, but for him, it was only an auspicious start.

The Darwinian process continued with the installation of a nitrous system from Tampa's Coastal Chassis Dyno. This juiced setup produced a titanic 840 hp and 950 lb-ft torque-deeply impressive numbers by just about anyone's standards. But as any performance enthusiast can tell you, once you start modifying, your car is never finished.

To satiate his lust for power and surpass his nitrous-injected thrills, Moore ultimately turned to forced induction. He commissioned Phil Hoefler at Skunk-Werkz to install a Turbo Technology Stage X twin-turbo kit on the Vette's 408-cube stroker.

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The 408ci LQ4-based engine is enhanced with the addition of twin T3/T4 turbos and methanol injection. This setup makes 1,000 hp and 1,000 lb-ft torque.

The engine's foundation is an LQ4 block built by Best Machine Racing Engines, in Warren, Michigan. Abandoning the aluminum LS1 block for a bulky cast-iron piece might seem counter-intuitive in a svelte sports car like the C5; however, the strength of this stout unit more than makes up for putting on a few pounds under the hood. The rotating assembly comprises a forged crankshaft, pistons from Callies, and Compstar rods.

The heads are AFR Mongoose 225s with 72cc combustion chambers. The 408 has also benefited from the addition of Comp Cams 921 valvesprings, chrome-moly 7.35 pushrods, and a custom-ground camshaft from Cam Motion. Crowning the motor is an LS2 intake manifold.

The stars of the show are a pair of custom T3/T4 ball-bearing turbochargers. The turbos mount neatly below the cast exhaust manifolds included in the kit, instead of in front of the motor. After leaving the snails, the hot intake charge passes through a 3-core, front-mount intercooler. An ECS methanol-injection system also aids in keeping things cool. The crescendo of each upshift is celebrated with the release of two upgraded blow-off valves.

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Because the turbo kit vastly increased the engine's fueling needs, an LS2 return-style fuel setup was added. The oiling system was alsofortified with a ported Melling oil pump.

After being put to work in the turbines, exhaust gases are routed through the factory plumbing and finally evacuated through a Borla after-cat exhaust system. The end result is a claimed 1,000 hp and 1,000 lb-ft torque at the flywheel-numbers that will make just about any exotic-car owner blanch.

It is a testament to the might of the T56 transmission that Moore has left his factory-issue six-speed unchanged. Even at these power levels, the only drivetrain upgrades include a heavy-duty clutch from Textralia and hardened output shafts for the car's 3.42 rearend.

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