I always missed the sound of the '67--that lopey, uneven idle, and the whole front of the car shaking --Ken Woodcock
For many Corvette lovers, the sixth generation of America's Only True Sports Car is the best of both worlds--performance and style. But for some, when they get their first C6, there's something missing.
In the case of Ken Woodcock and the loaded '05 coupe he bought in 2009, that "something" had to do with the exhaust note. "When I brought it home, I told my wife--again--that I wasn't going to do anything to it, and she turned to me and said, 'You've got to do something with that sound--it just doesn't sound like a Corvette!'"
While this first-year C6 was loaded with every option except the RPO Z51 Performance Package, it lacked the sonic bravado of Woodcock's previous 427-powered '67 Sting Ray coupe. "I always missed that lopey, uneven idle, and the whole front of the car shaking," he recalls. "It was like nothing else."
Accordingly, the first thing Woodcock did to his '05 was an exhaust-system upgrade. "That's what a lot of people do--change the exhaust, so it sounds a little throatier, and has more rumble and a deeper tone to it," he says.
Then, when New Jersey Vette tuner East Coast Supercharging brought one of its cars to a Keystone State Corvette Club show (Woodcock is the club's president), the sound it made was music to his ears. "I said, 'That's the sound I want, right there!'" He contacted the guys at ECS, who had Comp Cams grind them a custom hydraulic roller camshaft, which they installed in Woodcock's LS2.
"It's a radical cam, but it's not to the point where it makes the car undriveable," he says. "[Driving it] is a little more work than a blower car, to be honest." He adds that with it, the LS2--which now puts out an estimated 511 horsepower at the crankshaft--likes to rev higher than before. "Sixth gear is all but useless. It doesn't like to live under 2,000 rpm."
Once the LS2 and its exhaust system delivered the sound that reminded Woodcock of his old big-block midyear, it was time to turn his attention to the chassis. "It came with everything that you could check off from the factory, including the (RPO F55) Magnetic Selective Ride Control," he notes. "You couldn't get that along with the Z51 Performance Package. So what I did was change the brakes, and the front and rear sway bars, to Z51 items.
"In essence, what I have is the best of both worlds," Woodcock adds. "I have the adjustable suspension, and I also have the Z51 sway bars and brakes, and it works out perfect."
When Woodcock had the '05 lowered, and added a set of Z06 wheels (blacked out with red pinstriping), he found that he'd revived the memory of his previous C2 in another way. As he recalls, "It wasn't until I got done with the project that my body guy, Larry Holcomb of Holcomb's in West Grove, Pennsylvania, said, 'You know what? I worked on your '67 before. Stand back and look at this car--you've done the same cues that were on your '67.' I stepped back and said, 'You're right!'"
Between the engine and chassis upgrades, the C5 is a blast to drive, according to Woodcock. "When you pull up to a red light, people look at you with this expression of 'Why is this even on the road?'" he says with a huge laugh. "You can see their jaws dropping and their eyes opening. I'm not talking kids--these are everyday, middle-aged older people who are shaking their heads because the car is sitting there, and the front end is shaking. It's just fun to drive."
If you're thinking of modifying or adding modern-tech upgrades to a Vette for show purposes, Woodcock recommends first deciding what class you want to show it in. "Once you start modifying a car, if you do too much to it, you'll be in a class where the competition is tough. If you're not willing to jump in with both feet, keep it stock and make the car as clean as you can. You'll have as much fun with that as the guys with the customs do."
Or as much fun as a long-time Vette owner whose C6 combines the best of all worlds--all in a 21st Century version of his C2.
|Owner||Ken Woodcock; West Grove, Pennsylvania|
|Block||Stock LS2 aluminum|
|Heads||Stock LS2 aluminum|
|Valves||Stock 2.00/1.55 with Comp Cams heavy-duty springs and titanium retainers|
|Camshaft||Custom Comp Cams hydraulic roller with East Coast Supercharging (ECS) specs|
|Rocker Arms||Stock 1.7 ratio|
|Pistons||Stock hypereutectic aluminum|
|Crankshaft||Stock nodular iron|
|Rods||Stock powdered metal|
|Oil Pan||Stock with Melling high-volume pump|
|Intake Manifold||Stock LS2 composite, ported and polished throttle body|
|Fuel Pump||Stock electric|
|Ignition||Stock coil-on-plug with MSD wires and NGK spark plugs|
|Exhaust System||American Racing Headers long-tube headers, high-flow cats, Borla "Stinger" mufflers|
|Transaxle||Stock Tremec T56 six-speed manual with MGW short-throw shifter|
|Clutch||Z06 clutch/pressure plate|
|Suspension||Stock with RPO F55 Magnetic Selective Ride Control, Hardbar lowering bolts, and Z51 front/rear antisway bars|
|Brakes||Z51 rotors and powdercoated calipers|
|Wheels||Black Z06-style "Spyder" with red pinstriping|
|Tires||Goodyear Eagle F1; 245/40R18 (front), 285/35R18 (rear)|
|Current Mileage||Approximately 9,000|