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Corvette Lifestyles

LS7 Factory Tour

by Keith Cornett on October 20, 2005

Tony V. (aka Mr. Zippy on recently shared his thoughts with us after visiting GM’s Powertrain Performance Build Center in Wixon, Michigan. The center is where the Corvette Z06 LS7 V-8 engines are assembled. Tony was actually the first 2006 Z06 owner to visit the plant and during the tour he met the technician responsible for his engine assembly. One of the cool things we’ve learned about the LS7 is that one technician is responsible for the entire engine assembly. Following testing, a small plaque with the engine builder’s name is affixed to the LS7. According to Tony, you can find that plaque at the inboard side of the #8 cylinder head closest to the firewall. The plaque is under a hose that runs along side the head. Gently move the hose out of the way to view. A photo of Tony’s tag reads: Performance Build Center
Wixom, MI.
Assembled with Pride by
Dale Swenson During the build process, the technician has a number of sub assemblies ready to bolt on to the engine block. The heads already have valves, springs, etc. as received. The tech installs the head assembly to the block and a special computer controlled tool runs the bolts in and then torques each bolt. This is recorded on a file for quality control. The technician watches a display screen showing “green” when each bolt is correctly installed and torqued. Each engine is run on a test stand to check for leaks. After shipping from the PBC, each engine is “hot tested” at an outside facility to ensure the HP, Torque and again check for leaks. The assembly process has 10 stations. Each completed engine is subjected to a 20 minute loaded hot test. The block is deck plate bored & honed. Fully CNC ported cylinder heads, with titanium intake valves. These heads are a work of art! Here’s a quote from the PBC Site Manager: “We’re all very proud of the fact that the LS7 engine is the first engine in the history of the Performance Build Center. We understand how important the small block engine is to Corvette owners. We want Corvette owners to know we’re just getting started – we expect many more great things ahead.” On a related note, Motor Trend magazine editors Frank Markus and Todd Lassa visited the Performance Build Center and actually assembled an LS7 engine. Click here to view the video at Motor Trend.

Jeff Gordon’s Z06 TestDrive

by Keith Cornett on October 19, 2005

Get those TIVO’s and DVR’s ready. SPEED Channel will be putting four-time NASCAR Cup Champion Jeff Gordon behind the wheel of the new Corvette Z06 at Road Atlanta on Test Drive, SPEED Channel’s popular program featuring host Tommy Kendall. The show is set to air Saturday, October 22 at 6pm EST.

“I had never been to Road Atlanta and I got the opportunity to drive one of the best Corvettes they’ve ever brought out,” Gordon said on SPEED’s NASCAR This Morning. “The Z06 has a lot of power, handles fantastic and looks great. I had a blast.”

Footage was also shot at the famed Le Mans road course in France with Corvette factory driver Johnny O’Connell.

“This program brings together two great Chevrolet champions – Jeff Gordon and Corvette,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “There is no better example of the interaction between racing and production than the advanced technology that is shared by the championship-winning Corvette C6.R race car and the award-winning Corvette Z06, a 505-horsepower supercar that you can drive every day.”

Information about the Z06 TestDrive program can be found at SPEED Channel.


Corvette Racing Scores 1-2 Win

by Keith Cornett on October 16, 2005

The C6.R Corvettes roared through the final race of ALMS Racing Series at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and finished with a 1-2 victory to give Corvette Racing the GT1 Championship for the 2005 series. Drivers of the Number 4 Corvette Oliver Gavin and Oliver Beretta won the race for the win and GT1 Championship over teammates Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Conell driving the Number 3 Corvette. The 2005 ALMS season saw the Corvette Racing team sweeping the GT1 manufacturers championship, the drivers championship, the team championship and the pit crew championship, as well as victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Petit Le Mans. “It was one of the best races of the season, seeing five GT1 cars all on the same lap and battling it out through the Corkscrew,” said Gavin, who ran the fastest lap of the race en route to his 15th ALMS victory. “The Corvette C6.R has come out of the blocks flying, and today it was untouchable. I’ve been working for this for the last three years, and finally won the drivers championship. I’m very pleased.” Corvette Racing’s next event is the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in Sebring, Fla., on March 18, 2006.

Ecklers Video Series

by Keith Cornett on September 26, 2005

Our friends at Ecklers Corvette Parts called us last week to tell us about the launch of their how-to video series. The videos are designed to help Corvette owners understand how easy it is to install, upgrade or repair parts on their own Corvettes. The first videos in the series will provide C6 Corvette owners with step-by-step procedures for installing three brand-name aftermarket exhaust systems: B&B, Borla and Corsa. The 10 minute videos culminate with hosts Mike Wilson and Randy Irwin starting the Corvettes and revving the engines so viewers can hear the sound of each upgraded exhaust system. We think this is a great idea and is part of the natural evolution of the Corvette parts retailers to allow potential buyers the opportunity to see and hear the finished system, as well as help novice backyard mechanics like myself the opportunity to observe the install to see if it is a true do-it-yourself job. Here are the first videos in the Ecklers series: B&B C6 Route 66 System
Borla Stinger II Sport S-Type
Corsa Sport Exhaust System We hope these videos prove to be a success and we would like to see more, not only for the new model vettes, but classics as well. Hey Mike, how about a video on restoring the foam and seat covers for my 66 convertible?

Corvette Barn Find

by Keith Cornett on September 25, 2005

It seems that everyone has heard the story of the old Corvette stored in a barn for years because the owner thought Vettes were a good investment. In fact, there was a county song a couple of years ago from David Ball called “Riding with Private Malone” that talks about the mother that lost her son in Vietnam and so she kept his 66 Vette in a barn. Corvette Fever keeps the barn car dream alive with an article documenting the find of 5 rare Corvettes that were stored for over 20 years. The Corvettes were in an old service station and barn in Brooks, California. All the cars were hauled up here from Southern California 20-plus years ago to be tucked away as investments by a fellow who’s now in his eighties. The Corvettes included a 56, two ’63 split-window coupes, and two ’67 coupes. The blue ’56 was a hot rod. The red ’63 was a numbers-matching 75K-mile car with a 250hp engine, Powerglide, power steering, power brakes, and windows. The green ’63 was a numbers-matching 300hp/327, with an add on fuel-injection unit. The silver ’67 was a 51K-mile, original-paint, numbers-matching, 327/300hp four-speed car. The yellow ’67 was a 327/300hp numbers-matching automatic with 48K miles, A/C, and power steering. When the family decided to sell them, Charlie Lillard was there within the hour. He was able to reach an agreement with the owners to buy them all, including the parts they had accumulated over the years. All the cars have now found new homes. Four of the five Corvettes ended up going to Musclecars Northwest in Renton, Washington. I have to say that the adventure of finally buying the Corvettes was well worth the effort.

Saving the Sting Ray

by Keith Cornett on September 16, 2005

We’re talking about the Original Sting Ray, Bill Mitchell’s personal car that he drove for years around the Detroit area. This original Sting Ray started out as racer and ended up as a GM concept car at the 1961 Chicago Auto Salon. Nearly every important engine – from the 283 to the 427 has powered her, but years of inactivity have taken a toll. Corvette Magazine goes inside the restoration of one of GM’s most important post-WWII designs and talks with the people who have returned the original Sting Ray to her former glory.

Awesome Street Sign

by Keith Cornett on September 12, 2005

Today I had to go visit a client over in Clearwater to pick up some graphic files for a website I’m working on. The client works out of a house on Corvette Drive! The street sign was so cool, I had to take a photo. I drove down the block looking at the house numbers but I was in the 700-900 blocks. When I got to the end, the street merged into another. How cool would it be to have a house at 427 Corvette Drive? Or take your pick: 283, 327, 350, 454 or 505? The client I visited has a ’63 split window coupe. When I asked him if he bought the house because of the street name, he just smiled…

Introducing the Mini-Vette

by Keith Cornett on September 1, 2005

With the cost of gas skyrocketing, will we see the auto manufacturers race to build smaller, more fuel efficient cars like they did in the mid-70′s? If so, let’s hope the Corvette is among those that are spared from the shrinking machine. Actually this Corvette was “shrunk” through the miracle of Photoshop as with several others cuties we found at AutoBlog.

Corvettes on TV

by Keith Cornett on August 30, 2005

I’ve got admit it… I’m hooked on all these car shows that have suddenly appeared on TV. Usually the mainstay of Sunday morning programming between episodes of BassMasters and American Bowhunter, classic car programming has branched out to all time periods and now thanks to my Tivo, I don’t miss any of them. If you get the Do It Yourself network, (DirecTV Channel 230) tune in to watch the outstanding car show called “Classic Car Restoration”. They have just started the restoration of a 1962 Convertible. The great thing about the program is if you don’t get the DIY channel, they have some selected videos and instructions for the different steps they are covering during the restoration on their website. The show starts out with a feature on Corvette History as well as the restoration overview. Other episodes feature Engine Prep and Restoration, Exterior Finishing and Carpet Installation. For times and the index of the program’s contents, check out the DIY website

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