If you’ve been to any of the major Corvette shows over the last several years you’ve probably seen the crew from CORSA swapping exhausts on Corvettes faster than a C6 ZR1 runs 0-100mph. Some of you may even have CORSA products on your ride already. Ever wonder where your products came from? Yeah, we did too. So last weekend during the Corvettes at CORSA show we took the opportunity tour CORSA’s headquarters in Berea, Ohio.
CORSA’s foray into the world of exhaust actually began on the water offering performance systems for boats. Their Corvette business began in 1998 with their C5 exhaust systems. Today they offer exhausts, intakes, and other bits for virtually every performance car and pick up on the road including Camaro, Challenger, Viper, and CTS among others. All products feature CORSA’s patented Reflective Sound Cancellation (RSC) technology which eliminates that pesky drone while still providing aggressive sound and increased performance and flow.
CORSA’s 58,000 square foot facility is located at the end of a quiet industrial court in Suburban Cleveland. Engineer Manager Dave Niksa walked us end to end through the facility explaining the ins and outs of low volume manufacturing and CORSA’s in-house processes.
CORSA performs virtually all work in house. Design begins with computer data either provided from the OEM’s or acquired through SEMA. If neither of those sources pans out CORSA can measure the factory systems themselves in order to create their own CAD data. Once a new design is created from that data it goes through a series of prototype builds and tests that even include acoustic evaluations. Once a final design is locked in it must be signed off by multiple teams within the company before going into full volume production.
Material flows in one end of the building and then out the other after it’s boxed and ready to go to a customer. Mufflers enter as flat stock and leave as finely crafted specimens destined for your car.
Exhaust pipes enter as straight tubes in varying diameters before getting bent into shape. A CNC band saw cuts tubes to length and eliminates the need for excess fixtures.
The facility can produce about 100 systems per day depending on what specific items are in the mix on a given day. They operate 1 shift with a “mini” second shift to keep things moving for the next day’s work. Currently they have about a 3 week lead time from when your order is placed to when your system is built. Production control takes place on a pair of dry erase boards in the center portion of the assembly floor. Status of each build is updated each time the system is moved from station to station.
Most MIG and TIG welds are applied by hand. Next time you see a CORSA system up close, check out just how good those beads are. Their welders are artists. Parts are inspected at the end the manufacturing process and any issues are addressed immediately. As you’d expect their quality is extremely high and they see very few parts needing repair or rework before leaving.
Adjacent to the manufacturing area is an install area where owners can have their new systems affixed to their rides while they wait. We were told that C6 installs can be done in as little as 15 minutes now. Seventh generation cars take much longer as they require that the entire rear fascia is removed before the old exhaust can come out.
Thanks to VP and GM Craig Kohrs for chatting with us and Engineering Manager Dave Niksa for the one on one tour during our visit. After checking out the photos in our gallery below, be sure to head over to CORSA’s website and order up some goodies to help your Corvette breathe and sound better.