1999 Chevrolet Corvette - Juiced Coupe

Chris Weber's Nitrous-Injected '99 FRC Is A Low-Profile Giant-Killer

Eric Orban Sep 2, 2008 0 Comment(s)
Vemp_0809_06_z 1999_chevrolet_corvette Passenger_side_view 1/14

Matte-black C5 Z06 wheels and rear brake ducts add a hint of aggression to the car's otherwise unassuming appearance.

With the help of tuner Jeremy Formato, Weber set up the NX kit to run off of engine-coolant temperature (ECT) settings at wide-open throttle. The system's fogger nozzle is placed behind the MAF and doesn't use the sensor's readings to enrich the fuel mixture when the nitrous is engaged. The engine instead relies on programmed ECT values to add extra fuel and pull timing when necessary. Inside the cockpit, a potentiometer allows Weber to instantly adjust the ECT values to meet his needs. He can dial in overly rich settings with less timing for lower power or lean out the mix for maximum gains. While Weber has seen this approach discussed theoretically in Internet forums, he's fairly certain that he's the only person to have brought it to fruition.

Naturally aspirated, the Gen III mill puts out 440 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels, imbuing the Vette with a docile nature that provides for supreme driveability on the street. But with the flip of a switch, the car undergoes a marked personality transformation, pounding out 550 hp and 550 lb-ft torque on the bottle.

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This budget-built C5 is a giant-killer that routinely defeats cars making twice as much power.

Since the Fifth-generation Corvette's factory T56 six-speed could theoretically handle the power output of the German battleship Bismarck, only a Textralia clutch has been added to help deal with the heightened power loads. Weber also installed a Hurst shifter for crisper gear swaps.

Since this hardtop C5 is used as everyday transportation, Weber has kept suspension modifications to a minimum. The car was lowered on the stock bolts, and the OEM setup was upgraded with C6 Z06 shocks and C5 Z06 aluminum sway-bar endlinks. The objective was to ensure that the Vette handled well and provided adequate traction, while remaining comfortable enough to be used as a daily driver. According to Weber, this well-balanced setup can provide plenty of thrills without an overly harsh ride.

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Inside, a ball-knobbed Hurst shifter is the most obvious deviation from stock.

This stealthy shark prowls the Tampa Bay streets camouflaged in an unassuming Light Pewter Metallic hue. With the emphasis on maintaining a low profile, the exterior is devoid of ostentatious body modifications. The original rolling stock has been replaced with C5 Z06 wheels with a matte-black finish. These are wrapped in 265/40-17 Toyo Proxes T1-S tires in the front and 305/35-18 Nitto NT555R Extreme Drag radials in the rear. A pair of C5 Z06 rear brake ducts lend an aggressive finishing touch.

Weber credits his FRC's noteworthy performance to its well-balanced setup, saying, "It pretty much does everything well." The car isn't a straight-line monster, but rather a giant-killer with a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. With its ability to put its power to the ground, the Vette has bested opponents with twice its power output. Eschewing form in favor of function, Weber has achieved his aspiration of building a daily driven Corvette with exceptional performance.

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