The Point of No Return

Once you decide to design your own system, a twin-turbo conversion stops being an exercise in check-signing and starts to become intellectual.

January 1, 2008

Also from Issue 38

  • 1968 Sunray DX L88 racer
  • Market Report: C2
  • 1954 market analysis
  • History: Shinoda’s Monza show cars
  • Comparison Test: C4 ZR-1 vs. C6 Z06
  • 1996 Grand Sport coupe
  • History: Disc brakes
  • Racing: Pratt & Miller factory tour
  • How-To: Muncie gearbox rebuild, Part I
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Most Corvette owners experience multiple examples of the brand before taking on an engine-apart, mega-horsepower custom project. Not so for Ridgewood, New Jerseyite Jay Schron. Schron’s Electron Blue C5 is not only his fist Corvette, it’s also the first car he’s built that makes 800+ horsepower at the drive wheels.

Not surprisingly, while this is his first foray into Corvettes, it’s hardly his first enthusiast-car or tuning experience. “I’ve been a motorhead since I was 13,” Jay relates. “I had a ’68 Hemi Roadrunner back in high school, followed by a ’69 DZ302 Z28 Camaro and a ’67 GTO Tri-Power….”

Like many car nuts, Jay edged away from the scene after starting a family. His own daughter, as it turned out, got him back in de­cades later. Shortly after receiving her license, Jay’s 17-year-old daughter smashed up her late-model Celica. “To her credit, at the time we didn’t know she suffered from astigmatism; we just affectionately called her ‘Captain Crash Jr.’” Sure enough, once Schron the Younger got glasses she stopped running into things, but not before Jay had reclaimed her Toyota and started to study its engine. Soon he was actively hotrodding it, and his new hobby evolved into a partnership with a local import-tuning shop. Jay contributed business acumen to the facility by day; at night, his tuning pals pushed the Celica’s horsepower ever higher. Soon the car was a highly boosted turbocharged rocket and the shop was on track to sell hundreds of aftermarket forced-induction con­versions per year.

Schron was now deep in the import-tuner scene, but he still felt the need for more power. Naturally, he gravitated toward Corvettes. “I was turning 50, the Corvette was celebrating its 50th anniversary, and the price was around $50K.” Everything seemed in alignment, so he purchased a brand-new Z06. Six months later, he was ready to give it more power.

“We were a jobber for Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, so I called up Ed Potter at LPE. I bought one of their modified Magna Chargers, some B&B long-tube headers, and sent them the PCM to be re-flashed with LS1 Edit software.” Schron also installed adjus­table front and rear antiroll bars and new poly­urethane bushings.

Six months later, the speed jones returned: While effective, the single-Magna Charger setup was no longer proving enough.

Next, Schron turned to Chris Cor­riel and Doug Ring at East Coast Supercharging, of Cream Ridge NJ. Chris still re­members their first discussion: “He came to us with a Maggy on his Corvette and we started talking cams and pulleys.” Nobody appeared to be making an undersized pulley for these units at the time, so East Coast machined the existing pulley to reduce its diameter, thus increasing blo­wer speed and boost. An upgraded cam was installed as well, along with new PCM programming. The mods gave Schron six psi of boost, raising the modified car to above 500 rear-wheel horses.

“I drove it for a couple of months like that and said, ‘Nah, this still isn’t it for me.’” Given that sentiment, about all that was left was the higher potential top end promised by turbocharging. Schron decided to toss out the blower completely and start over.

From his time in the import scene Jay al­ready knew LPE and other big names offered complete twin-turbo packages for LS1s and LS6s. He wanted to avoid shipping his car to a third-party tuner, however, preferring to re­main fully involved in the design and conversion himself. His search for capable suppliers ended at Turbo Technologies Inc. in Tacoma WA. After some in-depth discussions, a TTI Stage X kit with bespoke long-branch cast-iron manifolds and dual TTI compressors was on its way to East Coast Su­percharging.

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