Subscribe to the Free

LPE Trio - Weapons Of Mass Propulsion

We take a closer look at a trio of LPE's road-going corvette cruise missiles.

Christopher R. Phillip Jan 5, 2012
View Full Gallery

For more than 25 years, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering (LPE) has transformed factory- stock Corvettes into scary-fast supercars capable of pushing performance to the next level and beyond. It all began in 1987, when professional drag racer John Lingenfelter--winner of 13 NHRA national-event titles and an experienced high-performance engine builder--began selling engine packages for the C4 Corvette.

The factory stockers were doling out a meager 240 hp at the time--a far cry from the marque's horsepower heydays of '65-'71--but Lingenfelter upped the L98's ante to 380 horses, thanks to a suite of modifications that included massaged cylinder heads; a custom-spec camshaft; high-performance valvesprings, titanium retainers, and valve locks; and an intake manifold with high-flow runners, a ported-and-polished throttle body, and more. As if 140 hp more than stock wasn't enough to make every Corvette owner's right foot jitter with joy, Lingenfelter also offered an L98-based 383 stroker, which raised total output up to 400 hp.

Word spread quickly within the Corvette hobby that Lingenfelter built serious power, and other Corvette tuners saw he was building a serious reputation, too. In 1988, Reeves Callaway contracted him to design and assemble a twin-turbo, 355ci, 880hp aftermarket SBC for the Callaway Sledgehammer Corvette, which Lingenfelter then piloted to a record-breaking pass of 254.76 mph on the 7.5-mile oval at the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty, Ohio.

With the introduction of the ZR-1 in 1990, Lingenfelter found a new Corvette engine to improve upon. The factory's 350ci LT5 was already rated at an impressive 375 hp (later 405 hp), but in his hands, this high-tech powerplant grew in output--and sometimes in displacement as well. Engine packages for the DOHC mill started at 455 hp and later climbed to 465 hp and 475 hp. Soon thereafter, Lingenfelter developed even-higher-output packages, in 368ci/530hp, 385ci/565hp, and 415ci/610hp configurations.

Also that year, Lingenfelter released the JL-1 Box intake manifold (later renamed the SuperRam) for the L98 Tuned Port Injection (TPI) engine. The intake was designed to raise the peak power and rpm range of the long-runner TPI engine without causing any significant loss in low-end torque.

Through the mid-'90s, Lingenfelter stayed busy converting C4 Corvettes into machines that shortened the distance between time and space. Though the most popular of his packages were L98 and LT5 engine conversions, he also assembled and installed 540ci big-blocks into C4s.

In 1996, Car & Driver asked Lingenfelter to build an all-aluminum, 427ci, SB2-equipped '95 Corvette to commemorate the magazine's 40th anniversary. It was the fastest U.S. street-legal car C&D had tested to date, clocking in at 212 mph.

Shortly after the introduction of the C5 Corvette later that year, Lingenfelter purchased a Sebring Silver Metallic '97 coupe and used it to prototype 372ci/450hp and 383ci/475hp LS1 stroker packages, which he then brought to market before anyone else in the industry. Motor Trend tested one such vehicle, proclaiming it to be a "190-mph Super Vette."

In 1998, he added twin turbos to the aforementioned coupe--boosting its output to 500 hp--applied graphics to its exterior, and showcased the strip-scorcher at that year's Los Angeles Auto Show and the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas. The next year, he began offering 500hp and 650hp twin-turbo C5 packages to the public.

In March 2000, Lingenfelter made his first mark in the new millennium with a '99 twin-turbo Corvette rated at 650 hp. It was tested by Motor Trend and set the magazine's record for "Fastest Tuner Corvette" at an amazing 226 mph.

Within a year, he had expanded his twin-turbo packages to include a 427ci/725hp setup, based on the Corvette Racing C5-R block. Along with it, customers could choose a menacing-looking C5 wide-body kit that kept their cars planted to the ground at high speeds. A total of six cars were built with the wide-body kit, including two convertibles.

In June 2002, Motor Trend tested Lingenfelter's twin-turbo, 427/900hp '00 Corvette, setting the record for the quickest-accelerating tuner Corvette to date. Pitted against a U.S. Navy F/A-18, the Vette ran 9.24 seconds at 150.27 mph in the quarter-mile and posted a 0-60 time of 1.97 seconds.

Lingenfelter died on Christmas Day 2005, from injuries sustained in a drag-racing accident, but his company lives on through the talented men and women who make up Lingenfelter Performance Engineering. "Through their dedication, the Lingenfelter legend lives, and is reflected in our vehicles with refined power, speed, and control," company CEO Ken Lingenfelter (a distant cousin of John Lingenfelter) says.

Despite its visionary's passing, LPE continued to define the cutting edge of Corvette high-performance. Its '05 coupe was the testbed for an LS2-based 403ci/525hp stroker, which debuted in Car and Driver's April '05 issue. LPE followed that success with a 427/725hp twin-turbo C6, a Commemorative Edition Series (CES) body kit, and then a limited run of 25 John Lingenfelter Commemorative Edition Corvettes, all of which featured twin-turbo 427 engines, body kits, and upgraded brakes, wheels, and tires.

In May 2007, LPE unveiled a twin-turbo '06 Z06 that was purpose-built for the standing-mile. The car reached an astonishing 226 mph on a runway in Oscoda, Michigan. Two-and-a-half years later, the company modified a ZR1 Corvette and made it the first of the breed to break into the 9s in the quarter-mile--9.813 at 145.74 mph, to be exact.

Today, LPE still offers many of the C4 through C6 packages that have been its driving force for the past quarter century. "Lingenfelter's reliable, driveable, and powerful engine packages continue to be a popular choice for Corvette owners who want to raise the bar to the upper limits," LPE's Jeff Myers says.

To celebrate Lingenfelter's prominent role in late-model Corvette performance, we gathered three of the company's quickest Vettes from the last quarter century. Let's take a closer look at these notable performers and see what makes them so special. vette

'93 ZR-1

This is the first ZR1 body-kit car that John Lingenfelter built. It features a custom hood, front fascia, side skirts, and rear fascia with the LPE logo.

Spec Sheet
'93 ZR-1
Owner Ken Lingenfelter
Block Stock LT5 aluminum with custom sleeves
Displacement 415 ci
Compression Ratio 11.0:1
Heads LPE-ported LT5 aluminum
Valves Stock
Camshafts Lingenfelter custom
Pistons JE forged aluminum
Crankshaft Moldex forged steel
Rods Oliver billet steel, 5.850-in
Intake Manifold Ported LT5 aluminum
Throttle Body LPE 63mm
Fuel Injectors Stock
Fuel Pump Stock
Ignition Stock
Engine Management GM with LPE programming
Power Adder None
Exhaust System Watson headers with LPE custom exhaust cutouts
Transmission ZF six-speed manual
Torque Converter/Clutch Stock
Driveshaft Stock
Shock controller Custom drag-race E-PROM
Front Suspension Stock
Rear Suspension Stock
RearEnd Stock Dana 44
Front Brakes Baer Alcon 14-in with four-piston calipers
Rear Brakes Baer Alcon 14-in with four-piston calipers
Wheels Fikse three-piece; 17-in front, 18-in rear
Tires Michelin Pilot; 285/35ZR18 (front), 335/30ZR18 (rear)
Fuel Octane 93
Weight Unknown
Best E.T./MPH 11.59/128
Current Mileage 13,614
Miles Driven Weekly Approximately 50

'00 Twin-Turbo FRC

This John Lingenfelter--built Corvette--the exact car that Motor Trend raced against a U.S. Navy F/A-18 in 2002--was the first C5 in the 8s, with a quarter-mile e.t. of 8.95 seconds at 153.6 mph.

Spec Sheet
'00 FRC
Owner Ken Lingenfelter
Block Aluminum C5-R
Displacement 427 ci
Compression Ratio 8.5:1
Heads LPE-ported C5-R aluminum
Valves Stainless (intake)/Inconel (exhaust)
Camshaft LPE GT7
Rocker Arms Stock 1.7 ratio
Pistons JE forged aluminum
Crankshaft Lunati 4340 forged steel
Rods Oliver billet steel, 6.125-in
Intake Manifold LPE custom-fabricated sheetmetal
Throttle Body 75mm
Fuel Injectors Bosch Motorsports 90-lb/hr
Fuel Pump LPE in-tank
Ignition Stock coil-on-plug
Engine Management GM with LPE calibration
Power Adders Two Garrett GT35R ball-bearing turbochargers
Maximum Boost 25 psi
Intercooler LPE custom center-mount
Exhaust System LPE turbo manifolds, Borla titanium Cat-Back
Transmission GM 4L65E automatic
Torque Converter 3,600-rpm stall
Driveshaft Stock
Front Suspension Penske remote-reservoir adjustable coilovers
Rear Suspension Penske remote-reservoir adjustable coilovers
RearEnd Stock with 3.42 gears
Front Brakes Stock
Rear Brakes Stock
Wheels HRE LPE Series forged three-piece
Tires Michelin Pilot; 265/35/ZR18 (front), 345/30/ZR19 (rear)
Fuel Octane 93 or C16, depending on boost level
Weight 3,300 lbs
Best ET/MPH 8.95/153.60
Current Mileage 24,621
Miles Driven Weekly N/A

'10 ZR1

This privately owned, LPE-modified ZR1 showcases the company's continuing commitment to the Corvette, and Chevy's best-of-the-breed LS9 engine. "The ZR1 is the ultimate Corvette, and LPE enhances it with even more power," LPE's Sheets says. "A 700-plus-horsepower car for the street exceeds everyone's expectations."

Spec Sheet
'10 ZR1
Owner Bob Hatfield
Block Stock LS9 aluminum
Displacement 376 ci
Compression Ratio 9.2:1
Heads Stock LS9 aluminum
Valves Stock 2.160 titanium/1.590 sodium-filled
Camshaft Stock hydraulic roller
Rocker Arms Stock 1.7 ratio
Pistons Stock forged aluminum
Crankshaft Stock forged steel
Rods Stock forged titanium
Intake Manifold Stock
Throttle Body Stock
Fuel Injectors Stock
Fuel Pump Stock
Ignition Stock coil-on-plug
Engine Management GM with LPE calibration
Power Adder Factory TVS 2300 Eaton supercharger
Maximum Boost 12 psi
Intercooler Stock
Exhaust System Stock
Transmission TR6060 six-speed manual
Clutch Stock twin-disc
Driveshaft Stock
Front Suspension Stock
Rear Suspension Stock
RearEnd Stock with 3.42 gears
Front Brakes Stock with carbon rotors and six-piston calipers
Rear Brakes Stock with carbon rotors and four-piston calipers
Wheels Stock
Tires Michelin Pilot Sport 2; 285/30ZR19 (front), 335/25ZR20 (rear)
Fuel Octane 93
Weight 3,324 lbs
Best ET/MPH 10.55/136.81 (est.)
Current Mileage 3,400
Miles Driven Weekly 20



Connect With Us

Get Latest News and Articles. Newsletter Sign Up

sponsored links

subscribe to the magazine

get digital get print