Car Feature: Florida Orange C7

photos by: Kevin DiOssi

Is There Anything More Perfect for South Florida Than an Orange C7 Corvette Convertible?

If you were to spend any time in South Florida, you’d find yourself sticking out in the midst of Lamborghinis, Bentleys, Porches — you name it. That part of the state is filled with primo exotics, and to be caught in anything else would make you look like a mere mortal.

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However, there’s ways to not only make your homegrown sports car compete head-to-head with those mega-buck exotics, but to outgun them in every possible measure.  For the owner of this 2015 Stingray convertible, Richard Schmelkin, Lashway Motorsports in Pompano Beach, Florida was happy to answer the call.

Initially ordered to celebrate the kids finally growing up and leaving the nest, Richard fulfilled his promise to his wife that as soon as they were “finished” raising their family, that they would pick up a new Corvette. Some could argue that you’re never really finished raising your kids, but we understand the premise here.

At a glance, the Corvette appears to be a completely stock example; stock ride height, wheels, etc. If you were to see Richard on the highway behind the wheel, you would think he was just another middle-aged guy going through the proverbial “crisis.” Nothing could be further from the truth…

With a 460 hp LT1 under the hood, the starting point was a good one but Richard’s Vette would need something more substantial than traditional bolt-ons. Despite the factory-stock appearance, this Stingray is packing quite a punch.

Beginning with the bottom-end, the block was bored over and a stroker crank was installed — bumping up the displacement from 376 to a full 418 cubic-inches — with a completely forged bottom-end, of course. The mouth-watering hardware includes components from MAHLE, Callies and Texas Speed’s H-beam connecting rods.

 

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With a pair of high-flowing long-tube headers and exhaust, along with CNC-ported heads help expel the gases, and a Texas Speed boost-friendly camshaft sits squarely in the middle of the block. The boost-loving bumpstick is important, because not only is the stroker engine making great power on its own, but an A&A YSi centrifugal blower pushes quite a bit of boost into the MSD Atomic AirForce intake manifold.

Fifteen-pounds per square-inch, to be exact. That’s enough to produce near as makes no difference, over 900 hp to the rear tires and nearly as much torque. Of course you simply just can’t apply boost to an LT1, crank out 900 hp and have a nice life without any other supporting modifications.

The fuel system needed an upgrade, for starters, the crew at Lashway Motorsports installed a C7 Z06 lift pump, and proprietary Lashway fuel components. It’s more than enough to support over 900 horsepower, and from what we understand, it will support quite a bit more than that. It’s something we’ll dig deeper into a bit further, at a later time.

An HP Tuners software calibration was programmed into the stock ECU, with Lashway’s own Josh Isaacs at the keyboard, and sitting behind the stroked LT1, is the factory 8-speed automatic gearbox.

Underneath, the C7 still rocks the stock Z51 suspension, wheels, tires and brakes. The rear end is also stock, handling the massive amounts of power with ease, for now, but we have a feeling that more power in the future will ultimately lead to an upgrade.

The cockpit is also standard-issue C7; a black interior with a pair of camel tan seats in place. It’s a rare color combination, and according to the Chevrolet website, neither the interior color nor the exterior color of Daytona Sunrise Orange are still available for 2017 Corvettes — which is kind of a bummer!

The overall excrctuon of Richard’s C7 leaves us on the fence; we’re impressed with the power output of this car, and what can be achieved through the perfect selection of quality hardware, but it leaves us yearning for more. We think with a lowered stance, a killer set of Forgelines, a brake upgrade and one or two cosmetic tweaks like a Z06 spider and taillights, and it will look absolutely killer!

Time will only tell what Richard’s ultimate plans are for this orange beauty, but until then, we’ll have to wait an see!

TECH SHEET:

  • CAR: 2015 Corvette Stingray
  • OWNER: Richard Schmelkin
  • ENGINE BLOCK: GM, LT1
  • CRANKSHAFT: Callies; forged, 4-inch
  • PISTONS: MAHLE; forged, 4.07-inch
  • CONNECTING RODS: Texas Speed; 6.125 H-Beam
  • CAMSHAFT: Texas Speed; 228/232 duration, .600/.600 lift, 114 LSA
  • CYLINDER HEAD: Texas Speed; CNC-ported LT1
  • INDUCTION: MSD Atomic AirForce intake manifold
  • POWER ADDER: A&A YSi centrifugal blower
  • INTERCOOLER: custom, front-mount
  • BOOST: 15-psi.
  • FUEL DELIVERY: C7 Z06 pump, Lashway custom fuel system
  • IGNITION: Stock coil, distributor, MSD plug wires, NGK plugs
  • EXHAUST: long-tube headers, low-restriction exhaust
  • OILING: Stock
  • TUNING: HP Tuners; tuning by Josh Issacs
  • TRANSMISSION: 8L90E
  • CONVERTER: Stock
  • FLEXPLATE: TCI
  • DRIVESHAFT: Stock; aluminum
  • REAREND: GM: stock IRS
  • SUSPENSION:  Stock; Z51 sway bars
  • BRAKES: Stock
  • WHEELS: Stock
  • TIRES: Stock
  • HP/TQ.: 920/901
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Being infatuated with cars since he was a toddler, GM EFI Founder and Editor, Rick Seitz, has a true love and passion for late-model GM vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.

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