This particular C3 Corvette displays a true spirit of competition on so many levels. To begin, one look at the BFGoodrich-inspired livery will tell you that the stimulus for this particular car was one of John Greenwood’s famed Le Mans racers, from a time when the C3 Corvette competed with the world on the FIA circuit.
Today, this particular Stars and Bars Corvette crosses more state lines than International Date lines, but even if on a smaller scale, it is just as dominant. That is mainly due to being constructed by the capable crew at Detroit Speed Engineering, where the car owner, Kyle Tucker is President of the company. Before you mark this ride off simply as one of the perks of sitting in the big chair at one of the nation’s leading performance engineering firms, you need to take another look at why this car exists.
Kyle explains, “We purchased and built this car as a development vehicle for our new C2 and C3 suspension products. Every new product line we introduce is first put on one of our own cars.” Developing a suspension for these cars involves much more than measuring twice and cutting once. There is engineering, product fitting, testing, and repeating several times before each component works in concert with the original vehicle’s design and the rest of the engineered improvements. Keeping a car’s owner separated from their prized Corvette for the duration of this process is cruel and unusual punishment, therefore, owning the testbed helps keep the anxiety level low.
Kyle knew he wanted a C3 Corvette that could dominate the autocross and Pro Touring universe. Kyle’s company, focuses on bringing vintage musclecars into the 21st century – performance wise. That means they need to not only have ample horsepower, but also, handling improvements that only come with four decades of advancement.
Since GM quit building the C3 chassis more than 35 years ago, the guys at Detroit Speed decided to start from scratch. Kyle gave us some insight into the changes from the stock suspension, “Our new Corvette suspension uses CV joints instead of U-joints, and features a cast-aluminum, rear cradle and DSE’s own forged-aluminum rear uprights, effectively converting the rear suspension to a multilink system.” Try keeping a customer’s car on hold while you figure out how to make all that work together.
The car has enough power under the hood to push that suspension to its limits, thanks to a MAST Motorsports-built LS3 (416 cubic inches) mounted in front of a Hightower four-speed transmission via an American Powertrain bell and Centerforce clutch. Behind that is a Dynotech Engineering driveshaft delivering the power to that newly-engineered rear assembly.
The list of go-fast goodies continues, with items like four-corner coilovers, rack-and-pinion steering, Holley Dominator EFI, Classic Instruments gauges, Schroth harnesses, Brembo brakes, Forgeline wheels wrapped in BFG rubber, and a classic, flared-fender C3 body with the requisite L88 hood.
More than just a pretty face, this C3 has already begun to stack up a long list of victories at various Goodguys events and autocrosses. Initially, you could say that this Corvette was bought to be built, since then, it has proven that indeed, it was built to run!