Going Wide

Also from Issue 83

  • 2014 Stingray Indy 500 Pace Car
  • 2014 Stingray development
  • Interview: John Fitzpatrick
  • Buyer’s Guide: $20K
  • 1978 Coupe
  • Profile: Dave Hill
  • 1985 Coupe
  • Tech: Electronic Aids
  • 1964 Restomod
  • Corvette Racing: Laguna Seca
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As a hardcore hot-rodder at heart, Balog couldn’t resist her husband’s prodding forever, and ultimately agreed to modify Jake—but only with components that could be readily replaced with the car’s original parts down the road. The coupe’s stock front fenders and rear quarter panels were carefully removed, wrapped to protect their original factory paint and put into secure storage. The crew at Xtreme Supercars painted new wide fenders and quarters to match the car’s original shade of black and bolted these on.

The company makes its own C6 bodywork. Xtreme Supercar engineer Don Claus designed them in two different widths, both of which go beyond factory wide-body proportions. The moderate version adds 3 inches on either side compared to a standard C6; the wilder version adds 6 inches per side, resulting in a Corvette that’s a a full foot wider than a base C6 coupe or convertible. By comparison, the factory Z06 or ZR1 wide-body cars are only 3 inches wider overall than stock.

Reluctant to modify Jake from the beginning, Balog chose to go with the more sedate body kit, but even this, in concert with Xtreme Supercar’s tall rear spoiler, racing-inspired rear diffuser and sleek side skirts, looks pretty radical. These aggressive appearance modifications necessitated a few additional changes. “Because the width of the fenders made the stock wheels look too small, we installed a set of wider ZR1-style wheels that we had powder-coated black,” Balog explains, adding that even then wheel spacers were needed to fill out the fenders. “Of course, the larger wheels made the brakes look small, so we replaced the OEM calipers with Z06 calipers that were powder-coated in yellow pearl. In place of the stock rotors we installed Centric drilled and slotted zinc-coated rotors, and instead of stock pads we went with Centric carbon/ceramic pads.”

As with the car’s factory body panels, all of the original wheels and brake parts were carefully packaged and put away for safe storage just in case Balog chooses to return the car to its stock configuration in the future.

Balog enjoys showing her car, especially since most people she crosses paths with are unfamiliar the GT1 Championship Edition Corvettes. She says it’s fun to see the looks of surprise when they’re told that Chevrolet did offer such a package. When they learn that the wide fenders, tall spoiler, rear diffuser and other exotic body parts were not part of the GT1 Championship Edition package, the response is always the same: Chevy should have included them.

And as you’d expect, Balog also gets a lot of pleasure from driving the car, but, interestingly, she almost always drives it pretty gently and to date has only racked up about 3,000 miles. This is partly because she wants to maintain its pristine condition, but it’s also a reflection of her driving style and philosophy. When she wants to go fast, she does go fast—as in really fast. And for that, she much prefers other, way more radical cars in her garage, including some highly modified late-model Corvettes and an extreme, track-ready first-generation Viper.

Now that Balog has gotten used to the body and brake alterations that she didn’t intend to do in the first place, she is planning to go further and modify the 436-horsepower LS3 engine and Z51 suspension. “Future plans for Jake include a supercharger and Pfadt sway bars and coil overs,” she says. Looks like she’s going to be putting more original Corvette parts in storage.