'02 Corvette Takes Over as Daily Driver

     Two factors combined to motivate this purchase; the Camaro had become quite noisy and fuel-inefficient, and the opportunity to drive a fifth generation Corvette (C5 to aficionados) for four days (thanks, Alan!).  Alan's car was relatively quiet, handled far better than the Camaro ever did on twisty roads, and got amazingly good gas mileage to boot.  A third factor triggered the deal; zero percent interest car loans.  I used a national Corvette brokerage house to locate a car with the right options.  The $750 to ship it from Indiana to California was more than offset by higher prices at local dealers.


     Because I planned to participate in Thunderhill "track days", which means noncompetitive driving on a race track, I wanted to ensure optimum brake performance.   One of the scarier driving scenarios combines a sharp corner rushing at you with a brake pedal that is not doing anything useful.  I ordered a set of "track day" brake pads and the cooling ducts Chevy puts on the Z06 Corvette model.  I'm fairly certain my neighbor Marv thought I had taken leave of my senses when I watched me take Dremel tool to my brand new Corvette.  But it all turned out fine, and I never experienced brake fade at Thunderhill.  The lower left picture shows the rear duct, while the front duct with its flexible hose extension is shown in the lower right.



     While the new Corvette seemed boringly slow compared to the Camaro in terms of acceleration, I had no desire to create another Green Monster.  Eventually, however, the urges to spice up daily commuting, and to try new things, won out.  The new thing was a positive displacement, or "Roots-type", supercharger rather than the centrifugal supercharger I selected for the Camaro.  Both supercharger designs are belt-driven pumps that force air into the engine.  The salient difference for ths discussion is that the Roots design is biased towards power increases at lower engine speeds, whereas the centrifugal adds its power contribution at higher engine speeds.  I reasoned that the Roots design made more sense for a daily driver (sense being a relative concept).


     With the supercharger forcing extra air into the engine, I needed to select a low restriction exhaust system to maintain balance between the "goes-inta" and "goes-outa" subsystems.  I selected exhaust headers from LG Motorsports and a Stainless Works "cat-back" featuring 3" diameter tubes and mufflers.

     As with the Camaro, I did all the modifications in my garage, and did all my own engine tuning.



I drove the Corvette regularly for five years, including several track days at Thunderhill in north central California (click here for Thunderhill site).  But I'm a car guy!  It was time for a change.