I drove a C6 automatic at Corvettes at Carlisle, and on extreme top-end (140 mph plus) the car pulls much like a big-block, which was especially stimulating. The Mallett Corvette was producing almost 100 hp more, but the changes made to up the power level were almost unnoticeable until I floored it. Chuck uses various exhaust-system manufacturers for the systems he offers on Corvettes, and none have eliminated the resonance problem inherent with the LS1/LS6 engine family. While they all sound good at full throttle, none of them work well at all speeds, and Chuck continues to look for a solution.
The second half of the trip consisted of driving on the interstate. Traffic was lighter than normal at midmorning and I did some high-speed driving (at 100 mph plus), with Chuck watching out for the potentially unfriendly Cleveland Police Department. Chuck is either psychic or has eagle-eye vision when it comes to spotting police. Either way, you're pretty safe with him.
I let loose on the interstate, and the Corvette responded pronto. It has an unlimited top-end and keeps pulling much farther than most people feel comfortable with. Chuck has had it up to 196 mph with this configuration and, with additional Mallett upgrades, it could easily top 210 mph or so in street trim. On the top end, it handles great with no noticeable lifting. The powerband is wide and pulls hard in all gears. As I cruised through traffic at over 100 mph, the car was solid and changed lanes effortlessly, which it could do all day long and probably coast-to-coast if need be. At over 100 mph, I jokingly asked Chuck if we really needed Sixth gear, and we had a good laugh.
I exited the interstate and leaned on the brakes pretty hard; there was no fade or pull from high speed. Chuck usually upgrades the brakes, and this car's brakes are manufactured by Red Devil. More expensive packages are available, but these brakes worked well.
Back in bumper-to-bumper traffic, the Corvette morphed back into a daily driver for the next couple of miles to the shop. I asked Chuck if he knew where I could do a holeshot to see how quick and hard it hooked up in a drag-racing situation. While the location must remain a secret, we headed that way. Chuck mentioned he hadn't driven the car nearly enough. When I asked why, he replied, "I'm constantly driving my Caddy everywhere. I've had this Corvette for eight weeks and have driven it, what, 190 miles? After this weekend, I'll probably put the Caddy up to start making all the intercooler stuff for it and start driving this car." Wow-rough life, Chuck.
During the drive back to the shop, I asked Chuck what he thought of the C6's fit and finish. He said he liked the final result and thought it was an improvement over the C5. "I still own several C5s and, right out of the box, the early C6 is really nice." We also discussed specifics about available Corvette clutch options. In its converted cars, Mallett uses the same clutch currently in the Z06. I like its smooth feel, especially given the extra horsepower the car produces.
We arrived at the holeshot location and I stopped in the street. Chuck said a 1,700-rpm launch would be ideal, so that's what I did. He said to be careful as trucks occasionally pull into the street, and it sounded like he was speaking from experience. When I brought up the rpm, the car was ready and so was I, so I dumped the clutch and away we went. The rear tires hazed a little, then hooked up big-time. I power-shifted into Second, laying about 5 feet of rubber; the car tracked straight and true as we continued to accelerate. I hit Third and it continued to pull hard but still straight. We hit about 100 mph before I had to stand hard on the brakes to make a curve ahead. I turned the corner, drove awhile longer, and pulled up to the shop. The first Corvette Fever Dream Drive was over. Man-what a way to start a series.