Overheard In The OC - Idle Chatter

Jay Heath Apr 4, 2014 0 Comment(s)
2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Front View 1/2

Say, "Ah": ProCharger's new C7 supercharger system offers a choice of vertical or (shown) horizontal intercooler configurations to chill the compressed intake charge.

I've just returned from Santa Ana, California, a site that has nothing to do with Mexican military history but everything to do with the annual Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council confab. Unlike other big industry shows such as SEMA and PRI, MPMC, as it's commonly known, comprises a series of intensive, 30-minute meetings between representatives of the performance aftermarket and the writer types who cover it. Think of it as the gearhead equivalent of speed dating—minus, presumably, the potential for postprandial romantic interludes.

As you might imagine, this year's event was abuzz with details on new C7 products, many of which are scheduled to hit the market around the time you read this. I'll be using this month's column to preview some of them, and to divulge a few other interesting Corvette tidbits as well.

Air Superiority

If you follow our website or Facebook page, you already know that our friends from Lenexa, Kansas, have been hard at work on an intercooled blower setup for the '14 Stingray. Their efforts recently paid off in the form of a P-1SC–based system said to safely swell the car's output by at least 40 percent at the rear wheels. Even better, you won't have to remove the steering rack, pin the crank, or relocate the ABS module to complete the five-hour installation. I'll be visiting ProCharger HQ in the near future to drive a few of the company's C7 development cars; look for a full write-up in an upcoming issue.

Engines of Commerce

If keeping track of LS-parts compatibility makes your temples throb, AFR has a line of cylinder heads just for you. Described as "LS3/LS7 hybrids," the new heads will be available in three different port sizes to fit all LS1, LS6, LS3, and LS7 engines.

Edelbrock's fresh-from-the-foundry LS3 head, meanwhile, will be offered in small- and large-port versions when it goes on sale in April. Look for an all-new LS composite intake manifold to join it later in the year.

In Gen V news, Chevrolet Performance Parts is putting the finishing touches on the LT1 crate engine it first showed at SEMA last fall. I'm told the high-tech motor's cylinder-deactivation feature will carry over to the à la carte version, making this the first CPP offering to incorporate the fuel-saving technology. (Possible downside: the sound of four-cylinder mode piped through a set of long-tube headers.)

Speaking of Exhaust…

Considering that free-flowing exhaust systems are among the aftermarket's top-selling performance parts, it's a little surprising that more C7 kits haven't already hit the shelves. According to Corsa rep we spoke with, the delay has to do with the complexity of the factory setup, which employs a pair (or, in the case of the NPP system, a quartet) of vacuum-actuated valves to manage both the characteristics and the overall level of the exhaust sound. Fortunately there should be plenty of free horsepower available from a performance-oriented system, as the stocker is loaded with bends and necks down to around 2.25 inches inside the mufflers. Note that Corsa is expending no small effort to ensure that its system sounds sufficiently sporty in both four- and eight-cylinder configurations.

More Fuel, Please

Though it didn't have to do with aftermarket parts specifically, one of the session's more eye-opening revelations came during a conversation with Lingenfelter Performance Engineering VP of Operations Mike Copeland. According to Copeland, LPE has determined that the LT1's direct-injection fuel system is only good to around 600 pound-feet of torque at certain throttle inputs (though not, surprisingly, at WOT). With several tuners already meeting or exceeding that output level in forced-induction C7s, the road to Stingray performance supremacy could prove to be paved with melted pistons.

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