2005 Chevy Corvette - The Dark Knight

Transforming a debonair C6 convertible into a bulging, blacked-out street superhero

Steve Temple Jan 1, 2013 0 Comment(s)

The name is actually a bit of a misnomer, as Mileham's brother handles the off-road projects, while Dustin does the street and strip cars. These include a large number of Corvettes, with custom tuning ranging from simple PCM reprogramming to aspirate the thin air of the high Sierras, to popular performance bolt-ons, to all-out,1,000-plus-hp race-car setups.

Since Mileham pilots his wide-body C6 around town, he eschewed competition-grade extremes in favor of street-friendly power enhancers. These include Dynatech long-tube headers feeding a '12 ZR1 dual-mode exhaust system. When the throttle is stomped past the 25 percent position and 3,500 rpm (which happens with some frequency, we assume), this setup diverts exhaust flow through an un-baffled path inside the mufflers. Mileham claims that the complete setup is typically worth around 40 extra hp.

Add to that a pair of Patriot CNC Stage 3 heads and a Trick Flow Stage 4 camshaft, and you get another 60 to 80 hp, for a total increase from a stock 330 to a positively superheroic 430 rear-wheel hp. Not content to leave well enough alone (do we sense a theme here?), Mileham got juiced with a 150-horse nitrous system from Nitrous Express. Allowing for a slight parasitic loss in the drivetrain, he's seen 570 rwhp on the dyno.

To properly harness the fatter powerband, he threw in a billet Yank 3,500-rpm-stall torque converter. And for hunkering down on mountain switchbacks, he included an Eibach lowering kit and sway bars (32mm front, 29mm rear), along with stiffer Z06 leaf springs. But he still had one more area that required more attention.

"Being in a convertible, the all-tan interior was an eyesore," he admits. "So I tore it out and upgraded most of it." He started by stripping down the OEM seats and installing the '12 Corvette padding and seat covers. Most of the interior was hydro-dipped in a carbon-fiber design by Hoggskinz in Reno. This procedure, called hydrographics, uses a hydrotransfer process by which the ink graphic is transferred into the paint to create a unique airbrushed appearance.

In addition, Mileham installed a custom-wrapped steering wheel and cockpit accents upholstered with high-quality black leather and tan stitching. He also removed the OEM tan carpet in favor of black, laying down sound deadener in the process.

Vemp 1301 11 2005 Chevy Corvette Ls2 5/12

The finished engine cranks out 430 hp at the rear wheels, without the nitrous. Note the carbon-pattern hydrographics on most underhood surfaces.

"From start to finish, I have about six months into the build, and I am very happy with the car now," he says. "I basically have a 600hp Grand Sport for half the price of a new one."

Problem is, now that he has the look of a Dark Knight, everybody bad-boy car guy in town now wants to take him on, sort of like when the Joker egged "the bat man" into a street fight. We don't have to tell you how that would end.


Street To Sand Off-Road and Performance




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