“This car is something that we feel comfortable driving across the country, running flat out on a track, and driving home in. Wow, talk about living the life! The car has been running for a little over a year now and as we tune and test it, it is only getting faster [Kyle drives at the events]. In the beginning stages of the build we had discussed the fact that ‘wouldn’t it be cool if we could make it as race car as possible, but still be able to drive it to the events?’ As of now, it has been driven to everything we have competed in [Street Machine class at the Goodguys Del Mar in 2011, Second Place at the NMCA West Coast Shootout autocross, Second Place in the speed-stop event at Run to the Coast among them].”
Verdict? So far, all the bad ideas have worked beyond well—and there’s still no bubbled paint on the fenders.
Engine & Drivetrain
Adhering to the game plan, the hot cam LS3 crate was not modified. It emits 480 hp at 5,750 rpm and 475 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. The key to the power boost (430 hp and 425 lb-ft stock) is the camshaft swap, 0.525-inch lift on both valves and 219/228 degrees duration at 0.050. There’s less lift on the intake side than the standard LS3 camshaft but more duration, allowing the valves to stay open longer. As a result, the peak power comes on earlier and the torque curve remains flat higher in the rpm band, producing a great running engine and a faultless, fluid driver to be sure. Since using tubular headers was impossible, to simplify the conversion and the entire exhaust system in general (remember that it all fits inside the front fenderwell), James Arredondo had little choice but to put it in place with the original cast-iron exhaust manifolds and MagnaFlow stainless mufflers.
Paint and bodyman Dave Wheeler, out of Atascadero, California, massaged the inner fenders and fabbed the Outlaw 10.5-style exhaust outlets. Since the radiator in Bad Idea is Be Cool for the ’62 Corvette and without the usual filler opening, he also fabricated the fill tank and situated it high on the firewall. Top that. The engine controller (PN 19201327) is in league with 2008, the fly-by-wire pedal and throttle body. The drivetrain for the Bad Idea ’box begins with a Z06 clutch assembly that transfers torque to the Tremec T56 (equipped with an easy cruisin’ 0.50:1 top gear). The prop shaft is a wrapped carbon-fiber unit produced by Precision Shaft Technologies that spins into a Newman-built Dana 44 (independent rear suspension system) differential housing and cover for a ’85-96 Corvette. PST also built the carbon-fiber halfshafts. Even with a 4.10:1 axle ratio, the Bad Idea can still blow down the road with a 2-something-to-1 Bonneville gear. An Eaton Truetrac differential provides unexcelled bite.