Corvette Forum Exclusive: 11 Things You Didn’t Know about Jimmie Johnson’s SEMA Corvette

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When it comes to classics, nothing posted on Corvette Forum over the past few months has garnered as much attention as Jimmie Johnson’s SEMA Corvette (first covered in an earlier article here). So to get more insight on the car, we reached out to Dr. Jamie Meyer, Performance Marketing Manager with Chevrolet, who asked the build team to share eleven of the most important things people should know about the NASCAR champion’s popular show car.

Even better, the Chevy performance team shared some accompanying photos that provide a play-by-play visual look at the build-out.


Jimmie Johnson’s SEMA Corvette beginning its journey toward becoming a customization marvel.

1. Jimmie Johnson’s Corvette SEMA  car  started out as a running, driving “82,000 mile” 1971 Corvette that was sourced locally in Detroit and built by the Chevrolet Performance build team specifically for the 2014 SEMA Show.


2. Subtle, but impressive, the custom side grilles on the Stingray were constructed as a nod to both the classic and modern Stingray designs. Each grille is made from aluminum and finished by hand specifically for Jimmie Johnson’s SEMA car.


3. The center hood louvers were also made from aluminum to mimic the C7 Stingray design. Each piece was first machined from aluminum, and then fit, welded, polished and painted by hand before being affixed to the hood.


4. The center console, one of many unique interior designs, is built from several different materials, including an aluminum base, carbon-fiber overlays, a Corvette LT1 460-horsepower information badge, and a six-speed shifter pattern.


5. This Corvette was originally powered by a carbureted 350-cubic-inch, 270-horsepower Turbo-Fire engine, which was replaced with an all-new Chevrolet Performance 376-cubic-inch Gen V LTI crate engine producing 460 horsepower (P/N 19328728).


6. The Chevrolet Performance LT1 features an 11.5:1 compression ratio, continuously variable valve timing, direct injection, a 4.065-inch bore, 3.622-inch stroke, a forged steel crank, and a unique block casting, cylinder head design, oiling system, and more.


7. Both the production car and the modified SEMA car featured manual transmissions, but the late-model LT1 engine was backed by a six-speed manual transmission in favor of the factory four-speed. A Chevrolet Performance LS/LT Bellhousing (P/N 19329620) and Dual-Disc Clutch (P/N 19329635) made the installation a breeze.


8. Custom engine mounts built from aluminum allowed the new LT1 to bolt up to the C3 Corvette frame. A combination clamshell/aluminum plate design allowed the Performance builders to center the engine and position it correctly in the C3 engine bay.


9. Wiring a vintage project with modern engine management is often a complicated task. Luckily Chevrolet Performance offers a complete LT1 Engine Controller package, which includes the ECU, wiring, pedal assembly and accessories needed to wire up and run the LT1 mill (P/N 19303137).


10. One of the greatest advances in the LT1 architecture is the direct injection system, which relies on a mechanical fuel pump (driven by the camshaft) to inject high-pressure fuel directly into the combustion chambers. To feed this mechanical pump, a unique electrical fuel system is necessary; one that can be pulse-width modulated by the ECU and monitored for precise pressure under varying loads.


11. Last, but not least, the custom 18-inch wheels hide a set of massive Grand Sport Corvette brakes front and rear for more precise handling and exceptional stopping power.


Jimmie Johnson’s SEMA Corvette is one of those customs that makes your heart palpitate.

Gush about Jimmie Johnson’s SEMA Corvette on the forum. >>

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