Friday, March 11, 2022

The 2001 Corvette Z06: The First Modern Day Z06

 

2002 Corvette Z06

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know about the extremely potent 2023 Corvette Z06 that is on its way to the market sometime in late 2022. If you want to read about that, just look up any automotive website on the web and you can find out everything you know or you can go to this ride-along video/article with top engineers on the project, written by me for Muscle Cars & Trucks (C8 Corvette Z06 Engineers Share Untold Details On New Supercar: Video.


1963 Corvette Z06

1963 Corvette Z06

Since we all should know everything about the new Corvette Z06, I decided that we should take a look back at the birth of the first modern Corvette Z06. But first, let's take a short look at the birth of the very first Z06. 

The first Z06 became available in 1963 and there were only 199 produced and sold. These Corvette Z06's sole purpose was to be sold for road course racing. They came with a 327 cu.in. (5.4-liter) engine, four-speed transmission, a beefed-up suspension, a massive brake system upgrade that included dual master cylinders, and an optional 36.5 US gal (138 l; 30 imp gal) tank.

The thing about these C2 Corvette Z06s was you didn't just go to the dealership and buy one, you had to know someone who knew what boxes to check in the order form if you wanted one of these race-ready (RPO Z06) Corvettes, and just like the 2001 Corvette Z06, you didn't get many luxuries with the car, it was truly for going fast. 


2001 Corvette Z06


2021 Corvette Z06

This Corvette was built to surprise and dominate the market. The Z06 was designed for the track and pushed the boundaries of what was really possible from a production car that could drive to the track, make better times than its competition, and drive back home with the air conditioning kicking and the radio blasting. 

Basic Spec:

  • 5.7-liter LS6 V8
  • 6-speed manual
  • 385 horsepower and 385 lb-ft of torque
  • New FE4 Suspension (four-wheel independent suspension)
  • Bose speaker system
  • Leather bucket seats
  • 17" front and 18” rear rims wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 SC tires
  • Hardtop only
  • Brake coolers
  • Curb weight: 3,118 lbs.

  • Gas Mileage: 17 city / 26 highway

Z06 Engine Corvette

Engine And Transmission

The LS6 is essentially a more powerful version of Corvette's LS1 V8. The LS6 engine upgrades start with a redesigned intake manifold with better flowing internal passageways. Reengineered cylinder heads create more flow through the intake and exhaust valves, and the combustion chambers were redesigned to reduce valve shrouding.

All these upgrades led to a higher compression ratio which then led to a redesigned thin-walled cast-iron exhaust manifold system to provide a smoother exit for the combustion escape.

Of course, all this extra flow wouldn’t be worth much without a redesigned camshaft. So a beefier cam was installed by Corvette engineers with more valve overlap and greater valve lift. Chrome-vanadium-steel valve springs and stronger pistons cast from a more durable alloy were implicated in the engine’s design for toughness. And finally, the LS6 was engineered with windows cast into the internal crankcase walls to help air retreat from the underside of the burning hot pistons.

This new engine setup gave the New Corvette Z06 385 horsepower at 6,000 RPMs and 385 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 RPMs, and a redline RPM of 6,500. In between all the power and the rear wheels was a beefed-up clutch (with lighter pedal effort), a larger-diameter driveshaft, and a revised six-speed manual transaxle. This new M12 gearbox was introduced with shooter 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gears to better utilize the new higher-revving LS6. All gears were 10-16 percent shorter except for the 4th gear which remained the same.

Corvette Suspension

2001 Corvette Z06 Suspension

More power always means more changes all around. To accommodate the power of the LS6, Corvette went with a new FE4 suspension that included revised shock calibrations, a stiffer rear transverse leaf spring setup, and stiffer anti-roll bars for the front and rear.

To add ground support, each corner of the Vette receives 1-inch wider tires, bringing them up to 9.5-inch wide in the front and 10.5-inch wide in the back. New custom light-weight 10-spoke wheels were wrapped in Goodyear F1 Eagle tires: 265/40ZR-17s in the front and 295/35ZR-18s rears. The F1 Eagle SC tires were designed with more flexible sidewalls achieved by doing away with the famous run-flat tire design. This permitted a half-degree more negative camber to keep the tread flatter during hard cornering for track use.

To prove the Corvette was built for business, engineers found places around the car where they could shave pounds off the curb weight. Helping save weight was the deletion of the run-flat tire design, mufflers were made from Titanium, and the windshield and rear glass were all lightened to help bring the Corvette’s curb weight down to 3,118 pounds, that's 38 pounds lighter than its original form. A lot of weight was saved in the Titanium mufflers alone, but the weight of the new suspension offset the weight-saving by a lot.  

2001 Cobra R

Step Aside Cobra R

The Cobra R was making some big waves at the track. Performance numbers were pretty impressive, and the Corvette Z06 was Chevrolet's answer to those performance numbers.

The Cobra R and the Z06 were pretty close in performance numbers at the time (numbers for Z06 below). The Cobra R turned numbers out of its 5.4-liter that looked a little like this: 385 horsepower and 385 lb.-ft. of torque (the same as the Z06), 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds, a quarter-mile time of 13.2 (Ford tested) and 12.9 (Motor Trend tested) with a top speed of 170-mph, and stops from 60-0 in 127-feet.

Although the numbers were somewhat close, the Corvette beat out the Cobra R in other places. The Cobra R lacked air conditioning, an audio system, rear seats, sound dampening, and cruise control. The Corvette also lacked a back seat, but that's because it was never meant to have one, it wasn't a compromise. Also, because of the limited number of Cobra Rs that were built, the sticker price showed $55,5ish, but you couldn't buy one for under $75,000. The Corvette Z06 stuck pretty close to its price tag of just under $50,000 without a lot of limited edition inflation.

2001 Corvette Z06

Let's Go Over Some 2001 Corvette Z06 Numbers 

The 2001 Corvette Z06's proof of superiority is in the numbers. A 0-60-mph time is recorded at 4.3 seconds, and a 70-mph to 0 stop takes only 152-feet. In a quarter-mile sprint, the Corvette can cover it in 12.7 seconds at 113-mph. Hitting a 150-mph will only take you 28 seconds total, while a top speed of 170-mph is easily manageable. Although the top speed does suffer a little bit as the C5 Vettes will hit 175-mph, but that's because of the Z06 closer transmission clutch gear ratios. 

Hitting corners is another place where the Corvette Z06 shows no mercy to its competitors. Pulling .98 Gs in and out of corners is just what this sports car does, and that actually beats out all other sports cars out of there including the Viper GTS and the Ferrari 360 Modena, which are above the Corvette Z06s price bracket by a lot. 


Racing Z06 Corvette

Z06 Performance Built

Making sure everything was performance built was what this Corvette was all about, even both the dual mesh grilles in the front and the rear brake coolers in front of the rear wheel wells are completely functional. 

The 2001 Corvette Z06 is just like the new Z06s, although classified as a sports car, they perform like a supercar compared to their competition.


Sunday, December 26, 2021

'57 Chevy: One Of The Most Influential And Iconic Cars Of All Time!

 

'57 Chevy Bel Air

How Did The 1957 Chevy Come About?

It starts with Chevy's need for change. For the first time since 1918, Chevrolet was willing to offer a V8 in its 1955 Chevy sedan, and with that V8, Chevy thought it would be a good time to get rid of the shoe-box look that they were recently using and try something different. 

Chevrolet Chief Designer, Ed Cole, wanted to get rid of the shoe-box look by 1956 and have a whole new look for 1957. Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned and the new look never launched forcing Cole and the design team to make do with the shoe-box style for one more year, but there were going to be big changes.

To help differentiate the '57 from '55 and '56 Chevy, Cole brought in Harley J. Earl, a famous automotive designer. Earl had already had huge styling successes under his belt that not only worked out for General Motors, but also influenced the automotive world as a whole. 



The changes Earl was making to the '57 Chevy would be widely ridiculed by Earl's co-workers, automotive experts, and anyone and everyone who just couldn't see his vision the way he did. 

'57 Chevy Dramatic Transformation

'57 Chevrolet

Some of the changes were: A new dashboard, a reshaped windshield, sealed cowl, and 15-inch rims to replace the 16-inch rims. Also, Earl decided to relocate the air-ducts to the headlights, which gave the car the big distinctive chrome look in the front. Then he added the iconic quarter-panel fins to the rear to help make the Chevy six inches longer, ultimately giving the Chevy the lowered look that everyone recognizes today.

1957 Chevy Fuel Injection


Other intriguing things that were new with the '57 were a lighter front-end, a bigger engine bay, and new drivetrain options that included a fuel-injection system and a three-speed Hydra-Matic transmission. A dual exhaust was offered with all V8 options for a little more horsepower but more so for the cool sound that it would give the Chevy. 

In commercials, magazine ads, and on billboards, the Chevy motto was always the same: "Chevy Puts The Purr Back Into Performance."

1957 Chevy; New York Times



A 1957 Chevrolet Coupe And Convertible For Everyone

Different trim options helped make the car more affordable for the average family and classy enough for those who wanted the feel of something a little more luxurious.

Trim Models Were As Followed:

Base: 150 Series
'1957 Base 150 Series



Base: 210 Series
'57 Chevy Based 210 Series











Del Ray: 210 Series
'57 Chevy Del Ray 210 Series










Base: Bel Air
'57 Chevy Bel Air















Convertible: Bel Air
1957 Chevy Convertible Bel Air










Nomad: Bel Air (station wagon)
1957 Chevy Nomad Bel Air










El Morocco: custom hand-built to mimic a Cadillac
1957 El Morocco









Each version was available in a two-door or four-door body style. The base "150" series with an in-line six was not only priced very well for consumers on a budget but also did very well when it came to gas mileage compared to the V8s. 

As you went up in models, you went up in comfort and class and, of course, in price. The Bel Air and Bel Air convertible was the most popular and expensive models, and in today's market, it is the most wanted by all collectors and car enthusiast alike, even if you're not a Chevy fan, you've probably wished you had a '57 Chevy at one point or another.

Choose Your '57 Chevy Options

Each version had options that could be ordered up to make the car more comfortable and luxurious. Some of those options were air-conditioning, power brakes, power steering, a padded dashboard, power windows, and power seats. Color schemes and chrome trim options were another way to show your impeccable taste in automobile selection.    

Also, a signal-seeking radio with a power antenna could be purchased along with a separate speaker that could be placed in the back, and at that time, that's what automotive companies called surround sound. The "Automatic-Eye" was another new option. The Automatic-Eye was attached to your dashboard and could detect on-coming traffic and dim your headlights automatically - high-tech for 1957.


'57 Chevy Engine Bay


One of the things that played a part in making the '57 Chevy so desirable was the bigger engine bay it came with. This was important because it made room for the big-block engines that Chevy was making for racing at the time. As drag racing became more popular and going fast was the thing to do, having a '57 Chevy that could accommodate Chevy's big-block engines with virtually no fabrication required was a huge plus to the go-fast racing enthusiast.

Even without the big blocks, you could still make plenty of power by opting for what Chevy called the Power-Pack (283 cubic-inch engine with solid lifters, a 4 barrel carb, and dual exhaust), which would make 275 horsepower right off the showroom floor. 

Fuel-Injection '57 Chevy


Although the 283 cubic-inch motors would make 283-hp with fuel injection, that option was often overlooked by consumers at the time because very few people knew how to work on fuel injection setups. Even mechanics were having problems working on the new fuel-injection system. So, if you were buying the car to modify it and or race it, going with the carburated setup you already knew how to work on was a much smarter way to go.

The odd thing about these desirable collector cars is that in 1957, the sales of Ford's '57 Fairlane model ended up out-selling the Chevy. Maybe it was the 1957 Chevy's bold chrome front-end or the rear-fins that threw consumers off. Maybe it was the introduction of the fuel injection and the 3-speed Hydra-Matic transmission - both of which consumers were skeptical about. Whatever the case was, by the time the '80s rolled around, these were considered one of the most, if not the most, collectible cars around.

'57 Chevy Custom


Worth Every Penny

Nowadays, a meticulously restored '57 Chevy Bel-Air can go for around $100,000.00 or more, and a seller could catch even more for a convertible in the same condition. But if you are thinking about buying one, you will want to be careful and maybe even seek some professional help before doing so. There are a lot of replicas out there, and it can be very easy to be fooled.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

1997 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary SLP Edition (LT4)

 

1997 Camaro SS SLP


1997 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary  SLP Edition

Anniversary Editions are always fun. Special stripes, badges, and performance upgrades find their way onto a limited number of stock versions of a vehicle to celebrate the special year. 

Although anniversary additions usually see minor changes, that wasn't the case when it came to the 1997 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary SLP Edition. All of the 30th Anniversary Camaros (RS, Z-28, and SS) seen an eye-popping color scheme and 30th Anniversary badges placed throughout the interior, but a few SS Camaros (US 100 – Canada 6 – Prototype 2) got much more than just a few minor upgrades and a cool looking color scheme. Those few special Camaro SS received a stout LT4 5.7-liter engine installed by SLP.



1969 Indianapolis 500 Pace Card


Where Did The Color Scheme for the Anniversary Edition Camaro Come From?

The color scheme is a throwback to the 1969 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car Camaro. Just like in '69, the '97 30th Anniversary Camaro was painted Arctic White accompanied by a set of Hugger Orange racing stripes that graced the hood, deck-lid, and roof of all of the 1997 Anniversary Editions (unless it was a convertible). 

The All-Important 330 HP Badge

They all may have looked the same and had the same embroider badges on the seats and the floor mats, but only a select few got to wear the all-important 330-hp badge indicating an LT4 under the hood.

Almost all of the Anniversary Editions came with stock engines that matched their trim package except for those few lucky SS Camaros that got to take the trip to SLP Engineering after they rolled off the assembly line.

SLP Engineering was able to get their hands on extra leftover LT4 motors that were used in the 1996 Corvette Grand Sport a year earlier. Before SLP bolted these LT4 motors into the Camaros, they broke each of the engines down and had them balanced and blue-printed. 

LT4 Camaro SS engine



On paper, the LT4 was documented to get 330-hp at 5,800 RPM and reached its max torque at 4,500 RPM. But many car enthusiasts and automotive professionals believe this motor that had 10.8:1 compression was definitely underrated.



SLP SS Camaro


More SLP Camaro Upgrades

The 1997 Camaro SS with the SLP LT4 upgrade also received a Borg-Warner T56 six-speed manual transmission, a performance exhaust, a lightweight driveshaft, Bilstein sport suspension (optional level III Bilstein suspension package), and a Torsen limited-slip differential. All those extras were good to get you from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds and down the quarter-mile in 13.3 seconds. 

With the explosion of technology in the auto industry, that may not seem so amazing in this generation, but back in 1997, that was the fastest production American sports car on the market. There were no American sports cars at that time that could be bought from a dealer that went that fast.

330 HP Badge SS Camaro



Identifying a 1997 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary LT-4 SLP Edition

So how do you tell if what you're looking at or what you own is one of these rare 30th Anniversary SLP LT4 SS Camaros? Regular SS 30th Anniversary Camoros are commonly mistaken for these very rare SLP Editions, and that's because they're easy to pass off as one. 

All of the SLP LT4 Editions rolled off the line and out of the factory as an LT1 before being shipped off for the special treatment. That means even SLP LT4 SS Camaros will still indicate that it is an LT1 Camaro SS in the Vin#. 

First, to either begin or end the discussion of is it a true SS or not, look at the trim options. If it's anything other than a white SS hardtop with Huggar Orange stripes, your SS is not an SS LT4 SLP Limited Edition.  

There are a few places on the Camaro that will definitely give you the information you want if it wasn't removed post-SLP Treatment. Right above the rear bumper on the opposite side of the SS emblem, a special edition 330-hp badge will let you know if it's an LT4 SLP, but these can be easily applied to regular SS Cmaros. 

To get to the bottom of your research, you want to look inside the driver's side door and or inside the glove box to find the RPO code. This should indicate if it has been in the hands of the SLP engineers. But if you're still not sure what you are looking at, you can always call SLP Engineering, they are sure to have records of what Camaros they got their hands on.

1997 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary LT4 SLP Edition



If you do have a true LT4 SS 30th Anniversary Camaro in your sights, you're looking at a true collectible. These cars will eventually sell on the Barrett Jackson block like the COPO Camaros do right now. They're good-looking, powerful, rare, and fun to drive.

Happy Hunting!

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Chevy 454 SS Collector Truck From The Early '90s

1990 Chevy SS

With only 17,000 produced between 1990-93, these Chevy 454 SS are some of the more rare Chevrolet C1500 trucks of the 90s. In fact, purchasing one of these badasses was the only way you could get a 454 cu.-in. engine stock in a half-ton truck. 

There is nothing really too special about these trucks. Let's face it, in this day and age, a higher trim modeled crossover could take it off the line and beat down the quarter-mile. But it is outfitted for a 454, meaning a healthier one could be built and dropped in with no problem. 

Also, it's a truck, and you can always do some cool stuff to a truck with ease. A Cowl Induction hood, lowering springs, rims, etc. - all things that could be easily bolted back to stock with little effort if that's the way you wanted to sell it. 




Power and Specifications

  •  230 - 255 Horsepower
  • 385 - 405 lb.-ft. of Torque
  • 3-speed - 4-speed automatic transmission
  • 3:71.1 - 4:10 Rear-End Ratio 
  • 10 mpg city
  • 500 lbs. Max Payload
  • Dual Exhaust
  • Bilstein Shocks
  • 7.7 seconds 0-60 mph 
  • 15.9 seconds 87 mph - 1/4 mile
  • Black / Summit White / Victory

Chevrolet 454 SS



The Chevy 454 SS trucks had some serious competition in the early 90s - the GMC Cyclone, Typhoon, and the Ford Lighting. But for Chevy, this was their way of showing everyone that people still craved a big block even if it wasn't the fastest truck on the market. 

You might come across one of these sweet Chevys for sale with a good price tag on it. They are not very sought-after by vehicle collectors right now, so if you find one in good shape, it might not be that bad of an investment. They have the potential to be nice little street cruisers with a lot of old-school power. And for you old-school gear heads, that might be a class you'd fit right into. 




Monday, October 25, 2021

GMC Syclone and Typhoon: First Factory-Built All-Wheel-Drive Drag Racing Performance Success

 

GMC Syclone and Typhoon

GMC Syclone and Typhoon Era: The Dog Days of Sports Cars

Back in 1991, the dogs days of the sad, slow, so-called economy-efficient sports cars were starting to come to an end. The days of the poorly performing Tuned-Port Injection (TPI) setups that General Motors were using for their unimpressive performing sports cars were about to be replaced by a much more stout performing LT1 350-cu.-in. engine.

'91 GMC Syclone

But before the change, the GMC truck division of General Motors made an interesting move to get involved in some of the performance hype GM was encouraging at the time. GMC made a move and signed a contract with a company called Production Automotive Systems (PAS), which in turn started the creation of the fastest production trucks of its time: the '91 GMC Syclone pickup truck and '92-'93 GMC Typhoon SUV.

The Pass Company was no stranger to this type of work. Pontiac called upon them to help build the very famous
20th Anniversary 1989 Pontiac Trans AM

1989 Turbo Trans Am 20th Anniversary Edition. Oddly enough, they just went with a drive train that was already tormenting all of the sports cars on the streets, the V6 3.8-liter Buick turbo intercooler setup.  

Originally Buick's Idea

Originally, Buick came up with the idea for the turbocharged truck, but to not cause any conflict with the GMC truck production branch, they handed the idea over to them. GMC was hesitant to take on the project at first since they already had a similar black regular cab pick-up truck on the market with a 454 cu.-in. engine. 

But some forward-looking engineers and designers saw the potential in smaller engines. Assuming Buick could make it work in a G-Body grocery-getter car with much success, doing the same in a truck and an SUV should work just as well, and to nobody's surprise, it did.  

Different Eninge/Turbo Setup For The Syclone and Typhoon

The PAS company engineered a 4.3-liter Vortec engine equipped with a turbocharger and an intercooler to fit in both the Syclone and the Typhoon.

To efficiently transfer engine
'91 GMC Typhoon
power, both models would receive the four-speed 700R4 automatic transmission, the same trans the Corvette and the Buick turbos were using at the time.

The First Factory-Built All-Wheel-Drive Technology Used For Drag Racing Performance

What made the Syclone and the Typhoon so unique from other trucks is that they used a very performance-efficient all-wheel-drive system. That technology helped these trucks that had an underrated, unofficial horsepower rating of 280 get down the quarter-mile with times that could stop the clocks somewhere in the high-to-mid 13-second range. 

Since the technology was so similar to the successful 3.8-liter turbos, aftermarket part dealers and car enthusiasts knew exactly what easy upgrades could be made to make these trucks amazingly performance efficient. I've personally seen Typhoons run in the high 10-second range and Syclones being lighter in weight, stop the clocks in the 9s. 





GMC Syclone and Typhoon: Unbeatable Deal

With great gas mileage, great performance, and the fact that they were limited production, the GMC Syclone and Typhoon were and are still collector items for all car enthusiasts alike. 

With production numbers of only 2,998 '91 Syclones, 2,500 in '92, and 2,200 '93 Typhoons built, the price tags on these rare trucks still stay up in the $15,000 to $25,000 range for the ones that are still in good condition.

Unfortunately, the PAS company based in Troy, Mi., that was responsible for the GMC Syclone and Typhoon's engineering and design would go out of business after GM decided not to go forward with any more specialized GMC vehicles at the time. 

The decision was mostly due to the progression of the Corvettes, Camaros, Trans Ams, and the need to focus on the new technology of eclectic vehicles. That may have sounded silly then, but now, all auto companies have moved into the electric vehicle direction, and GM predicts by 2035, the only vehicles they will be producing are going to be all-electric vehicles. 
             

Syclones and Typhoon GENERAL SPEC

4.3-liter turbocharged intercooled











Type:      V6
Disp.:      262 C.I. (4.3L)
Horsepower:   280 BHP @ 4400 (Syclone) 285 BHP @4400 (Typhoon)
Torque:     350 lb-ft @ 3600 (Syclone) 350 lb-ft @ 3600 (Typhoon)
RPO:       LB4
Bore:      4.00
Stroke:     3.48
Comp. Ratio:   8.35:1
Firing Order:  1-6-5-4-3-2
Oil Pres. (Min) 6 psi@ 1000 RPM, 18 psi@ 2000 RPM, 24 psi@ 4000 RPM

CYLINDER BORE:
Diameter:    3.9995-40025
Out of
Round:      .001 (production) .002 (service)
Taper:      .001


PISTONS:
Clearance: .0015-.0030
PISTON RING: Compression: Groove Clearance: .0012-.0032 Gap: .010-.020 (top) .010-.025 (2nd) Oil: GC: .002-.007 Gap: .015-.055 PISTON PIN: Diam: .9270-.9273 Piston Clearance: .0002-.0007 Rod Fit: .0008-.0016 Interference

CRANKSHAFT:
MAIN JOURNAL: Diam: #1 2.4484-2.4493
#2 #3 2.4481-2.4490
#4 2.4479-2.4488
Taper: .001 max
Out of Round: .001 max
MAIN BRG. CLEARANCE: #1 .0010-.0015 #2#3 .0010-.0025 #4 .0025-.0035
CRANK END PLAY: .002-.006
CRANKPIN: Diam: 2.2487-2.2497
Taper: .001 max
OOR: .001 max
ROD CLEARANCE: .0013-0030
SIDE CLEARANCE: .006-.014


CAMSHAFT:
LIFT +- .002 Intake .357 Exhaust .390 Journal Diam: 1.8682-1.8692 End Play .004 -.012

VALVE SYSTEM:
Lifter Hydraulic Rocker ratio 1.5:1
Lash Adj. One turn down from zero Face Angle 45 deg.
Seat Angle 46 deg.
Runout .002 max
Seat Width 1/16 to 1/32 Stem clearance .0010-.0028 Spring length 2.03 Valve Spring Pres. 76-84 lbs @ 1.70 in Closed 194-206 lbs @ 1.25 in
Open Installed height 1 23/32"
Valve Spring Damper: Free Length 1.86 # coils 4