One of the Runt’s endearing qualities is that its hood is uninterrupted. Flat, as in sleeper flat. The reason for this is the low-profile LS7 tucked between its new framerails. Well-known GM collaborator (read Skunkworks) is Thomson Automotive in Wixom, Michigan, so they got the nod for a hopped-up rendition of the Corvette’s finest. They strengthened the bottom end considerably with forged parts—custom Diamond pistons and Oliver connecting rods on the original forged arm. They CNC-milled the cylinder heads, including combustion chambers, and with the fitted Diamond slugs, bumped the compression ratio to 11.75:1. Specs for the custom-ground COMP hydraulic roller remain proprietary. Thomson remedied the dry-sump oil pan quandary with the addition of a conventional Moroso unit. Pump gas is drawn from an RPM-fabricated and very inventive aluminum tank and moved by a VaporWorx fuel system. Exhaust is extracted via Sanderson headers massaged by RPM. The trash exits through Flowmaster 50-series cans into a 3-inch system that has been treated with Prism high-temperature coating. To escape the hot, stagnant underhood fog, RPM built a gnarly and true cold-air intake system by adapting Spectre Performance tubing and joints. Sweating the combination in a race environment is the job of a custom PRC aluminum radiator core and thermostatic fans. Sterab fluid coolers are ancillary to the differential, power steering, and transmission in conjunction with Weldon heavy-oil electric pumps for unmatched circulation. The accessory drive is Vintage Air Front Runner with power steering pump and A/C compressor. These items plus the air intake tube and the rocker covers were coated by C4Labs. All hardware was furnished by ARP and Devil Accessories. Specific output is 650 hp. Torque jumps a McLeod twin-disc road racing clutch assembly hugging a lightened aluminum flywheel. It passes the grunt to Bowler/Tremec T56 Magnum six-speed fitted with a 2.66:1 low gear.
Wheels & Brakes
The II is a relative bantam compared to a Camaro so there are savings to be had in unsprung weight. Instead of something unnecessarily larger, the brakes are six-piston Wilwood on 13-inch rotors and 12-inch rotors with four-piston calipers. Billet Specialties Throttle wheels are 18x9 and 18x12 with a custom finish by RPM/C4 Labs. Rollers are 255/35 and 335/30 BFGoodrich g-Force KDWs.
Though RPM now has a killer full perimeter frame for X-bodies, it wasn’t available for Gerry Kerna’s build. In its stead, RPM had The Roadster Shop in Mundelein, Illinois, construct a fully boxed perimeter frame from 10-gauge steel. Then, Jeff Lutz at Lutz Race Cars in Evans City, Pennsylvania, fabricated a chrome-moly ’cage for the obvious safety and structural rigidity concerns. For the front suspension, RPM modified a Heidts Pro-G assembly fitted with 2-inch drop spindles, a power steering rack, tubular control arms, and a transmission crossmember and added RideTech single-adjustable coilovers. The Currie 9-Plus housing is fitted with a nodular iron carrier, 31-spline axles, and a 3.70:1 gearset. It’s located by a parallel four-link setup and a Panhard rod. Wheel movement is governed by more RideTech shocks. Speedway Engineering Nextel Cup–style sway bars control what little body movement there is.