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Wide Body C5 2002 Coupe - Well Done, Then Redone

A wide-body C5 born again in a striking new hue.

Scott Ross Dec 28, 2012
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There's an old expression: "If just enough is fine, even more is better." For many people, that not only covers Corvettes, but upgrades and modifications to them as well.

This wide-body-converted '02 Corvette convertible got plenty of upgrades from Caravaggio Corvettes, then returned to that Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada, shop for a total color change.

John Caravaggio says the C5 has had quite a history. "We built it for a customer in Pennsylvania, who ended up having to sell it," he says. "One of my local customers here, Claudio Celi, who has five [other examples] of my cars, decided to buy it."

Equipped with Caravaggio's Z06-style wide-body kit, a MagnaCharger supercharger, and plenty of other performance and styling upgrades, the silver-over-black C5 had almost everything Celi wanted.

"He wanted a red one, so we transformed it from silver to red," notes Caravaggio. "Then we did the Ferrari Tan interior, with the carpeting and the whole bit."

The color change took 12 weeks, on top of the time the car first spent in Caravaggio's shop getting the wide-body conversion and supercharger.

While the colors inside and out changed, the performance hardware stayed put. "We really didn't have to mess with it to make it better," Caravaggio says. "All the mechanical stuff that we did before stayed. It already had the best of the best." That meant that items such as the MagnaCharger, Kooks headers, and big Brembos were left in place.

Caravaggio says those Brembos feature technology straight from Formula 1 racing. "The brakes on the car are actually bigger than what they use on the ZR-1," he says. "They've got eight-piston calipers, which were used by Formula 1 teams until they got banned. That's why the Formula 1 constructors went to a six-piston caliper, like the ones that Ferrari, Corvette, and any of the German tuners use." Since this was the first car on which the Caravaggio crew installed these calipers, they had to develop their own master cylinder to deliver the requisite amount of fluid.

Of this C5's braking power, Caravaggio says, "It stops on a dime, and, as I always say, it gives you back 11 cents change." That's a must when you have more than 600 rear-wheel horsepower on tap from the Katech-modified, MagnaCharged LS1. The gearbox is a C5 Z06 unit with a B&M short-throw shifter.

As with the brakes and engine bay, there's very little stock C5 Corvette left on the outside--only the doors, headlight covers, and outside mirrors are OEM. Every other exterior panel was replaced during the wide-body conversion. The same holds true inside, where, aside from the dash, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything that hasn't been replaced or upgraded.

We mentioned earlier that this is one of six Caravaggio-modified Vettes in Claudio's collection. But that number will soon change. "I'm building two other cars for him right now," says Caravaggio of his shop's current projects.

Needless to say, this C5 is quite a driver--one that draws lots of attention, including some unwanted scrutiny on the road. "When you're driving one, the cameras that come out from people are incredible," Caravaggio says of the excitement his wide-body Vettes generate. "I have another local customer who has one, and he says there have been so many times when people almost ran into him while taking pictures of his car."

Does the thought of a modified C5 or C6 appeal to you? "You've got to decide what you want, and how you want to approach it," advises Caravaggio. "Make the decision once, and not twice, like what happened [with] this car."

Still, the two trips this car took to Caravaggio's Corvettes turned it into an eye- catching reminder that, sometimes, even more is better.

Spec Sheet

'02 Convertible
Owner Claudio Celi; Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada
Block Stock LS1 aluminum
Displacement 346 ci
Heads Katech-modified LS1 aluminum
Valves Stock 2.00/1.55
Compression Ratio 10.25:1
Camshaft Stock hydraulic roller
Rocker Arms Stock 1.7-ratio
Pistons Stock hypereutectic aluminum
Crankshaft Stock nodular iron
Rods Stock powdered-metal steel
Fuel injection Stock sequential electronic
Power adder Magnuson MagnaCharger supercharger with 8 psi boost
Fuel Pump Stock electric
Ignition Stock electronic coil-on-plug
Transaxle Stock six-speed manual with B&M short-throw shifter
Suspension Stock
Brakes 15-inch Brembo rotors and eight-piston calipers (front); 13.5-inch Brembo rotors and four-piston calipers (rear)
Wheels HRE aluminum; 19x10 (front), 20x13.5 (rear)
Tires Pirelli P Zero; 275/30ZR19 (front), 345/25ZR20 (rear)
Current Mileage Approximately 9,000



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