Back in the May 2010 issue, I reached out to many of you through the Shop Talk column, asking for your thoughts on modifying our C5 Z06. I have to say the number of responses we received really caught me off guard. Over the years I've always known that we had many Corvette owners, however, most of you tend be a little more on the quiet side. I've said this before and I'll say it again; this is your magazine and if there's something you want to see, simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your requests and we'll do our best to get moving on it. Thanks to those of you who wrote in, and here are a few of the responses for everyone to read. Survey says-thumbs up to modifying, and we're already on it.
Let me tell you just one of my stories. The car in question was my '99 Corvette Coupe, equipped with the stock drivetrain (LS engine, four-speed auto, with 2.73:1 gears). Completely stock, I ran a 14.2 in the quarter-mile. Not one to be satisfied, I modified it with the following: dual-snorkel cold-air intake from West Coast Corvette, Bassani X-Pipe, Borla hi-flow mufflers, and a dyno tune performed by Tony's Corvette Shop in Gaithersburg, MD. On the next outing, the modifications resulted in a 13.0-second quarter-mile. That's 1.2 seconds quicker than stock!!!
The real surprise however was the added benefit of increased fuel economy. It was already a great highway cruiser before the mods, but after the mods, the car would consistently get 34 mpg on the highway, as long as you kept your foot out of it. Think about it, 34 mpg is Chevy Cobalt fuel economy.
I was so pleased and impressed with the mods on that car, I did the same to the vehicle that replaced it; my current ride is an '07 Corvette Z51 automatic coupe. I am completely convinced that adding quality parts and having a professional dyno tune is the way to go. It is very cost effective and the car can easily be brought back to stock specs. Keep up the great work, I love the magazine.
I'm a 60-year-old "gearhead" that is a tech by trade and a hot rodder by desire. My compassion for hi-performance vehicles is what has driven this old dog since being a puppy. Fast is good, while faster is better.
The Z06, while a fine piece of GM's greatness, still has room for tweaking here and there. I would say, YES, by all means modify the suspension to make the good, even better. I, myself, would be prone to not only make the underside work more efficiently, but to also feed the horses more oats. Compressed air comes to mind. A slight boost, with some remapping of the computer, could make this C5, great!
I'm not one to go absolutely nuts (although I have built some pretty wild machines in the past). But rather one to make several smaller modifications that can deliver greater performance while still maintaining dependability and a tremendous "grin-factor" when behind the wheel. I wouldn't do anything to the ride that couldn't be reversed, so to take the car back to OEM, at a later date. However, for today, I would let it ROCK-N-ROLL. Just be sure to have a cardboard box for the original parts that you take off. Then, remember where you store the box, just in case.
Make The General Proud
To modify is what makes us American, it's the core of our being. You reference The General and I think he would approve of autocross', a short shifter, added boost, exhaust, and intake system in your C5-oh yes, he would! The General and his buddy Uncle Sam love to see us make each and every car our own, by adding parts, taking away unsightly marker lights, chopping, cutting, and otherwise personalizing and improving on what they bring us. Think of it this way, all stock vehicles are a bare canvas, a challenge, as if The General is saying: "Here, take what I have started and improve it."