Now more than ever, it's an exciting time to be a plutocrat. The stock market has largely recovered, tax rates on hedge funds remain low for the nonce, and, thanks to the efforts of talented tuners everywhere, it's become a relatively simple matter to infuse a C6 street car with a truly unwell amount of horsepower.
Shall we build your new Z06 Carbon with 1,000 horsepower, sir, or would a figure of 1,500 be better suited to a man of your stature? Assuming your pockets are deep enough, the choice is yours to make.
As for the rest of us, the more pertinent question centers around whether it's still possible to noticeably improve the performance and exhaust tone of a late-model Vette without spending a cubic crapload of money. This month, we'll endeavor to find out by installing a couple of basic, affordable bolt-on parts on an '05 C6.
Bearing in mind the old saw about an engine being nothing more than an air pump, we selected as our first upgrade a cold-air induction system from Airaid. Part number 250-218 ($245.95) comes with a large, open-element filter; a low-restriction intake tube/air bridge; and all the hardware required for installation on an '05-'07 LS2 Corvette. (Z06 and LS3 systems are also available.) We specified a traditional oiled filter element for our Vette, but Airaid's SynthaMax oil-free filter is also available with the kit.
To back up our freshly decongested LS2, we chose a rear-section exhaust system from Stainless Works (PN C6CBSQUAD, $1,050). The kit comes with a pair of polished, 2.5-inch "S-Turbo" mufflers; matching over-axle pipes; a full complement of hardware; and a quartet of serious-looking double-wall tips. Although SW offers a full line of long-tube headers and complete, converter-back exhausts, we decided to limit the scope of this project to a simple axle-back replacement to keep costs down and minimize installation headaches. We also thought it would be interesting to find out just how restrictive the factory C6 (non-NPP) mufflers alone really are.
The work took place at Source Interlink's East Coast HQ in Tampa, a locale that afforded us the opportunity to dyno-test the car beforehand, as well as immediately after each phase of the installation. Follow along now as we cover the highlights of the job.