Totaled C5 Corvette Transforms into Track Monster: What’s up in the Forums

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C5 Corvette

Repairing a tornado damaged C5 Corvette doesn’t take much cash when you’ve got a 3D printer and mad skills.

The road to any build is often filled with strife and frustration. But when you’re trying to rejuvenate a totaled C5 Corvette, it’s even rockier. And yet, that’s exactly the mission that Corvette Forum member Proletariat Designs set out on nearly one year ago. Why, you ask? Well, because like most wrecked cars, it was incredibly cheap. And he was determined to make this one a fun track toy, no matter what ingenious methods it took.

“I’m fairly new to the Corvette world. I currently have my best friend’s old ’97 coupe. It was hydro-locked and totaled by insurance. I bought it from him for what he paid the insurance company (dirt cheap). I settled on replacing the LS1 with an LS6 because it fit right in. Well, not really. I have rewired it to match up with the factory pigtails. For now, here is the aftermath of what a tornado warning and trying to pick up your kid does to a LS1. We have a 3D printer and are replacing parts that way as much as possible.” 

C5 Corvette

Right off the bat, quite a bit of work had already been done to this C5 Corvette. That includes a new clutch, slave cylinder, and replumbing the fuel lines. Then the windshield wipers stopped working, which turned out to just be an excess of trash in the drain nipples. And when a visor clip broke, the OP got to work printing a new one. Ah, technology.

Work on the ratty interior continued with a door panel replacement. But other niggling issues kept rearing their ugly head, of course. The original radiator soon cracked, so this looked like the perfect opportunity to upgrade to a two-core DeWitts unit with a built-in oil cooler.

C5 Corvette

Problems kept popping up, and the OP kept tackling them with vengeance. A soggy hatch, stuck steering column, you name it. And each job receives its own thorough documentation, which is great if you’re experiencing the same problems. But with all that boring stuff out of the way it was finally time to get this C5 Corvette out and have some fun. And what better place to do that than the OP’s very first autocross event?

“Zack and I co-drove at Columbus Air Force base in an autocross. Took 1st and 2nd in the novice class. Kept the car as close to last time he ran here. Trying to compare the old drivetrain to the new. Even replaced the tires with the same Treadwears. Nice, even, usable power. The DeWitts radiator and oil cooler did their job. No drop in oil pressure. And with us driving in the heat, the oil never topped 235 and the coolant stayed below 205.

Same old, same old. Lots of understeer, shocks need replaced, and my sway bars need to go on. Also am MN12 tranny would help a lot. I got several good videos using the track addict app. Can’t get racer render to overlay the data. Good starting point. Lots of good data and a feel for the strengths and weaknesses of the car.”

C5 Corvette

The wish for a new transmission came true when the OP’s girlfriend went out and bought him one. Which makes us wonder – does she have any single friends? The 3D printing magic then continues with a new set of LED switchbacks, followed by a fresh set of wheels that just needed some cleaning up. At this point, the car is looking pretty darn good.

C5 Corvette

But that doesn’t mean the OP is finished. In fact, work continues on his rejuvenated Corvette as we speak. So be sure and keep up with its adventures by heading over here!

Brett Foote is a longtime contributor to Corvette Forum, Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other auto sites.

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