Looking Back at Sema 2016 Corvettes: the Major Players, Custom Builders, and Battle of the Builders Competition
In Vette Vues’ series Looking Back at Corvettes at SEMA, we’ll take a comprehensive overview of SEMA 2016 Corvettes. We’ll focus on the major players and custom Corvette builders as well as the ‘Battle of the Builders’ competition.
This is a reprint from the original article and photos by Wayne Ellwood that appeared in Vette Vues Magazine.
Looking Back to Sema 2016 Corvettes:
- GM DISPLAY
- LINGENFELTER (MAIN) DISPLAY
- NOWICKI / PURIFOY C7 CONCEPT Z
- 1963 Black Corvette by Bobby Alloway, Blount (Louisville, TN).
- 2015 C7 Widebody by Ivan Tampi
- MEGUIAR’S POLISHES
- GRIFFIN RADIATOR
- MOBIL-1 PERFORMANCE CONCEPT
- Classic Coachworks
- R1 Concepts / KARBONWERKS C7
- EDELBROCK PERFORMANCE
- TOYO TIRES
- TREADWEAR TIRES
- EX-UP CANOPIES – 1961 CORVETTE
- RPM ROLLBARS
- TS DESIGNS-FORGIATO WHEELS
- QUICK JACK
- INNOVATIVE CONVERSIONS
- MGB CALIPER COVERS-VETTESTHETICS
- Here is our series on Corvette Body Kits:
Being the 50th anniversary of SEMA, the organizers created several events to celebrate their long and successful history. Of course, many industry partners jumped in to show their visible support. In this case, Chevy presented some special versions of its Camaro, celebrating 50 years. That left the Corvette to play second fiddle, but the turn-out was still impressive. Specifically, the “Battle of the Builders” drew a large number of specialty builders and tuners eager to show their stuff with a custom Corvette. There was a multitude of suppliers who were also eager to present their wares, using Corvettes in their displays. And finally, several smaller builders had their cars on show as stand-alone representations of their work.
With GM celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Camaro, GM looked back to last year’s reveal of the T1 track car and the related T1 performance parts. The Grand Sport was somewhat new, as was a display of a re-imagined Chaparral, although this one was originally revealed a few years ago.
LINGENFELTER (MAIN) DISPLAY
Ken Lingenfelter had a solid presence at SEMA. At his home base, he featured three Corvettes and products. Several more cars were co-located in various satellite locations on Lingenfelter partner booths.
The first car is the Lingenfelter-Superformance C3 Grand Sport replica. The power train is a Lingenfelter LS3 with 11.5:1 compression, ported LS3 cylinder heads, roller camshaft, valve train components, and a wet sump, as most vintage race groups for this era require.
The 2014 C7 Corvette features the Lingenfelter engine package using the Edelbrock TV82300 e-Force supercharger. Output is listed at 624 HP and 600 lb-ft of torque, and the engine benefits from American Racing headers and a Corsa cat-back exhaust. The car also has a Lingenfelter trim package, Forgeline wheels, Continental tires, and an ACS composite extractor in the carbon fiber hood.
The 2016 Lingenfelter supercharged Z06 convertible is a recent addition to the line-up. It is yet another step up in terms of performance and comfort. This car generates 800 HP and 800 lb-ft of torque. The 8-speed paddle-shifted automatic transmission carries this prodigious power rating quite nicely. The performance aspects are enhanced with the Z07 track package and a transparent rear air dam with an adjustable wickerbill. Finally, stopping power is by Big Brembo brakes with custom Lingenfelter graphics. This car is designed as a Signature Edition and is listed as serial # 001. The car is part of a charity fund-raising project and will be given away with proceeds going to the New Beginnings Children’s Homes, which provides long-term residential care to foster children who have seen some of life’s difficult issues.
Ken housed his C5 Z06 Optima Street Challenge car at the OPTIMA BATTERY booth, with the whole Optima Battery Ultimate Streetcar Challenge covered elsewhere in this article.
NOWICKI / PURIFOY C7 CONCEPT Z
Nowicki Autosport launched its Concept Z last year. This year the car is updated, and Jeff calls it his all-new ConceptZ, which includes a range of styling and aerodynamic aids for 2015+ Corvette Z06 models. These components are showcased on a black “Michelin-themed” 2016 Z06. The car is a nod to the more than 25-year relationship Nowicki Autosport founder Jeff Nowicki has shared with this tire company. The unique features of the Michelin-inspired graphics include a “ghosted” image of Bibendum, the company’s famous mascot, in the hood graphic. Also, the graphics include elements linking Nowicki Autosport to its primary partners, such as Purifoy Chevrolet, Brembo, BASF, and Mobil 1.
1963 Black Corvette by Bobby Alloway, Blount (Louisville, TN).
This car is Bobby Alloway’s personal car. It looks like a project completed for a customer about 5-6 years ago. This time, Bobby built a car for himself and introduced some new ideas. The color scheme changed from black with a red stinger to black with a blue stinger. In researching the colors, Bobby also found that this combination also drew the highest auction bid for a Corvette. Interestingly, the blue interior and stinger are color correct for a 1967 Corvette, when four were built in this combination.
The basics include a combination of an Art Morrison and stock chassis. This allows the seriously low ride with a fairly significant rake. Billet Specialty wheels were designed by Bobby for the earlier car and were used again for this car. The engine is a GM-created 502 cu in engine with a specially fabricated one-off Borla induction system and electronic fuel injection managed by a FAST computer system. The 5-speed transmission is by American Powertrain, and Diamond Back created the blue line tires. PPG black paint was used along with the original GM blue paint and a basically stock interior in the same original color.
2015 C7 Widebody by Ivan Tampi
This is one of those cars that catch you by surprise. Ivan Tampi is a designer who has worked in the design field on the west coast for many years. As we speak, he is developing several new projects for various manufacturers and private clients.
The car presented at SEMA was called the XIK Widebody….because, when pronounced correctly, it comes out as “sick.” Some of his changes to the basic Corvette are sick; others are subtle and take a while to hit you.
The XIK Widebody comprises 15 pieces of carbon fiber. Optional are another five pieces which include the trunk halo and roof. Moving from front to rear, the front bumper is the most obvious major redesign feature. The front and rear fenders are flared 4 inches on each side. This has implications for the wheels and tires, of course. At the rear, the bumper is also re-styled to match the fender contour. The forged alloy wheels are by Kompression. The “R” series tires by Tri-Ace are specifically sized to fit the new wheel offset and size. Tires are not ZR-rated, but Tri-Ace is working on this aspect. Sizes are 285-25- 20 front and 325-30-21 rear tire.
At the rear, there is a large wicker bill. The rear valance appears visually stock but does have additional “aero” strakes. At the front, there is a custom splitter. The air intake area is much larger than the stock, and the form flows more. The engine was not visible during the show.
Meguiar’s Polishes incorporated a bright red 1971 C3 custom in its display. This car was built by Heartland Customs of Purcell (OK). The paint is one of its many notable features. It’s a metallic PPG Deltron base/clear Candy Red with matte finish Steel Cities gray stripes. The engine is a GM LS3 427 small block with a polished Magnussen supercharger. The powertrain includes a T56 Magnum six-speed transmission and a short throw shifter. All this riding on a SpecVette chassis by the Roadster Shop narrowed suspension and electronic ride control. Brakes are electronically assisted with rotors from a C6 Z06 and 6-piston calipers. Wheels are milled aluminum in the style of the original Rallye wheels from that era. The tires are Michelin Pilot Super Sport. Compton’s Custom Interiors of Fort Worth (TX) completely designed and implemented the interior. On the interior, the driver is kept comfortable with Vintage Air climate control. A touch-screen panel controls all electric and electronic systems, including the HID, LED lighting, and Pioneer stereo. The seats are all covered in European-grade leather with custom-colored perf leather. Custom-built gauge pod and halo lighting are also incorporated. The grille revised grilles which serve to relocate the LED headlights and parking lights, and the fender grilles are all CNC machined.
GRIFFIN RADIATOR featured a custom 1958 Corvette also constructed by Heartland Customs from Purcell (OK). The folks at Heartland turn out many cars for customers, and, like this one, they consistently draw good crowds. This 1958 was built on a SPECVETTE chassis with fully independent and narrowed suspension, rack and pinion steering, and electronic ride control. The engine is a GEN III small block with a retro engine package. A TREMEC TKO-600 five-speed and a Hurst short throw shifter complement this. The car is painted in PPG Deltron base/clear Silver-Blue with Inca Silver coves, and the Modern HVAC function uses the original gauges.
MOBIL-1 PERFORMANCE CONCEPT
The MOBIL-1 display included a red-hot performance-oriented C7. Retro Designs built this one: Speed and Custom. The wheels were “Fifteen52” by Apex RSR, and the tires were Michelin Super Sport tires in 295/30ZR/19 and 345/30ZR/19. Power upgrades included a custom-fabricated airbox and an East Coast Supercharging turbocharger. With this little bit of technology, the LT1 engine is stated to produce 700 HP and 650 lb-ft. The aero bodywork was made by Stance Craft, and the rear diffuser was made by APR Performance and had a cage installed inside a mostly stock interior.
This C1-style conversion is owned by Doug Graf and was built for him by Classic Coachworks…formerly Classic Reflections…located in Lakeport, WA. The body is well known for its carbon fiber panels, and the whole thing is based on a C6 Corvette, painted to a racing-style livery chosen by the customer. The car features a full-tilt front end, power top, custom interior, custom Redwall Turbine wheels, stinger hood, and side pipes. The car was originally constructed using a C6 405HP 6.2 engine but has been rebuilt with a 2013 505 HP 7-liter LS7.
R1 Concepts / KARBONWERKS C7
ESCC Motorsports and Stage 7 built another radically modified C7 in the outdoor display. An owner’s name was not listed, but I presume it is a promotional car for ESCC Motorsports. The car has some very interesting Rotifom gold chrome 20″ wheels, with Toyo Proxes tires, sized 275-30ZR- 20 (front) and 345-25ZR-20 (rear). Based on the stance and the use of Liberty Walk flares, we can also assume the car uses an air-ride system. Regrettably, the paint was not exactly show quality. More race-style effects include a carbon fiber front splitter, a carbon fiber rear valance panel (with added strakes for air management), and a roll cage. Severe window tinting prohibited any significant observation of interior features.
Edelbrock borrowed Larry Fitzgerald’s red 1963 Corvette as their messenger. The car was built for Larry by Brown’s Classic Auto. It featured a modified interior suggestive of a race capability. Seats by CORVETTE AMERICA, modified door panels, upgraded console, and instrumentation were amongst the most visible mods. As for the exterior, the red paint was enhanced with decorative steel mesh where C2s normally displayed more traditional chrome pieces or where vents were just an indication. Wheels are by Billet Specialities, and brake rotors are cross drilled. But, with Edelbrock’s many years in performance engine products, our attention naturally went to the engine. In this case, it is a small block with Edelbrock’s E-Force supercharger. These kits come in various fitments, but all feature the Eaton TVS rotors.
Each year, TOYO Tires mounts an outdoor display using a broad range of customized cars which have chosen TOYO tires for their application. This year there was one Corvette in the mix. This car was wildly styled as a street racer by Jon Sibal Design. The car is a C6 ZR1 with a full Karbonwerks carbon fiber body and C7 headlights. It has a custom Alcantara interior with Recaro seats. Revised pulleys, intake, sport cats, air filter and VAREX exhaust, support the supercharged engine. The AIR-REX suspension has ACU-AIR management and VIAIR compressors. The wheels are forged DPRE CSR10.V2 versions with a step lip, and sizes are 20×11 and 20×13. The tires are the Toyo Proxes T1R…305/30ZR/20 (front) and 345/30SR/20 (rear).
The Treadwear tie dress-up system is a DIY sticker you apply to your tires, priced at $132, including shipping.
EX-UP CANOPIES – 1961 CORVETTE
Having absolutely no unique connection to the product, E-Z UP again displayed a very clean custom 1961 Corvette.
The world of wraps is going wild, and VETTE STHETICS wants you to realize your dream… at economical prices.
RPM ROLLBARS displayed a very nice four-point cage that is custom designed for the C7.
TS DESIGNS-FORGIATO WHEELS
This widebody variant for Forgiato Wheels has evolved from the minds of TS Designs; First introduced in 2013.
The Quick Jack system is taking the home workshop by storm, effective and reasonably priced.
Innovative Conversions has designed body panels to make your C6 look more like a C7.
MGB CALIPER COVERS-VETTESTHETICS
MGB caliper covers are a regular merchandiser to appear at SEMA. Each year they select a different display car; this year, it was a WWII-themed military-style wrap.
SEMA REVISITED SERIES:
- 2013: Corvettes at SEMA 2013 Overview and Photos
- 2014: Unveiling the Spectacular Corvettes: Sema 2014 Event Review with Stunning Photos
- 2015: Revisit The History Of Corvettes At SEMA 2015 In Las Vegas: 30+ Custom Vettes
- 2016: Sema 2016 Corvettes: Where Vettes are put to the Test by Builders and Big Names
Here are some other articles you might enjoy:
Corvette Custom and Restoration Shops Directory
Here is our series on Corvette Body Kits:
- C1 Body Kits
- C2 Body Kits
- C3 Body Kits
- C4 Body Kits
- C5 Corvette Body Kits
- C6 Corvette Body Kits
- C7 Corvette Body Kits
While you are here, check out our great selection of Corvette T-shirts, Corvette Hats / Caps for Sale, and assorted Corvette Totes, Coolers, and Bags for Sale, all offering Free United States Shipping.
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