By the time Wilbur came to RevXtreme with his Z06, Lewis had already modified several Zs with his dyno-proven horsepower packages. Before long, the two men began talking about real power-the kind that would put high-dollar supercars to shame-and Wilbur mentioned the goal he had set after that fateful face-off against the Ford GT. "He said, 'Let's see what we can do to make this much more than the average Z06,'" Lewis recalls. "We put together a proposal for him, and several days later, the project ensued."
First, RevXtreme unanchored the virgin heads from the 6,500-mile Vette and sent them to VMax. Since the intricate port work would take several weeks, RevXtreme had the time it needed to customize Wilbur's Corvette and differentiate it from its factory siblings.
"He wanted to give his Corvette a unique look, without it appearing too gaudy," Lewis says. "We chose a stealth look for the wheels and sent them to powdercoating expert Todd Greene of Fusion Powder Coating in Sarasota. He applied a gloss-black finish, and we painted the caps black with a silver center."
The Corvette's flame-themed exterior was next. "We looked for a paint scheme that would be noticeable, yet subtle, and ultimately decided on a lightly ghosted-flamed design that would make the car appear to be tearing through the sound barrier up in the clouds," Lewis says. "This was done by leaving the base Le Mans Blue Metallic intact, adding the flames in white, and gradually shading blues into it until the design was laid. Then, to tone it down, additional Le Mans Blue was misted over it all until the flames would be difficult to see from any distance-but the closer you come, the more it jumps out."
Meanwhile, VMax applied its magic to the LS7 heads. "We disassembled and cleaned the heads and valves, CNC-ported the exhaust ports, and hand-ported the intake," Incaudo says. "We also performed a valve job on the hard seats. The intake valve got a 37-degree back angle, and the exhaust valve got a 30-degree cut. To accomplish the 11.4:1 target compression ratio, we angle-milled the head surface, corrected the manifold surface on the heads, and spot faced the head-bolt holes. Finally, we reassembled the heads and valves with a RevXtreme-supplied Patriot dual-spring package."
The second helping of horsepower involved porting the LS7's factory intake manifold. A similar operation (albeit on an LS2 intake) was described in detail in our May '08, issue ("Manifold Destiny"), but we'll let Incaudo provide the following summary: "I start at the throttle-body inlet opening. Then I move to the intake runners, porting the walls and roof back 5 to 6 inches up the runner and blending back another 3 inches, for a total of 8 inches. The intake floor is cleaned and blended with the side walls, and then I polish the complete modification with 60-, 150-, and 240-grit polishing paper."
Incaudo's cam selection was based upon Wilbur's desire to give his Corvette as much power as it could handle without compromising its driveability. "I wanted my wife to be able to drive it comfortably," Wilbur says.
"I chose a custom grind with 232/238-degree duration, 0.608/0.585-inch lift with the factory 1.8-ratio rockers, and a 115-degree lobe-separation angle," Incaudo says. "Admittedly, it's a mild profile, but it allows Wilbur or his wife to drive their Vette cross country one week, then go on a date to the dragstrip the next."
A few additional mods were lavished on the car during reassembly. These included ceramic coating for the existing Kooks long-tube headers, a Corsa 3-inch exhaust system with Twin Series 4-inch tips, and two RevXtreme "signature" items: a 90mm throttle body (mated to a previously installed Callaway Honker cold-air intake) and an oil-separating crankcase-ventilation system.
The biggest mod, however, was yet to come.