Most car enthusiasts know that it can be a risky business to buy a car from an auction; the problem only compounds when you buy it in an online auction site-unseen. You have no idea what you’re getting until you to pick the car up.
This is precisely what happened to Garrett Mitchell, aka Cleetus McFarland, owner of the now famous ‘Vette-Cart know as Leroy the Savage.
Cleetus and his trusty sidekick, Cooper, decided to buy what appeared to be a C6 LS2-powered Corvette. As the bid topped out at $10,000, Cleetus was the proud owner of the 2005 C6. While this seemed to be a good deal, the guys had no idea what they were in for.
When Cleetus and Cooper finally laid eyes on the ‘Vette, the front bumper was broken and dragging, the driver side window was covered with plastic, and the rear bumper was cracked. These all seem like small problems in comparison with the inexpensive purchase price, but as they say, you get what you pay for. The real drama started when they popped the hood and started looking over the newly-acquired project.
As it turned out, the C6 unfortunately no longer housed the advertised LS2. Instead, the factory mill had been replaced by the infamous 5.3-liter junkyard engine with over 200,000-miles on the clock. You can imagine how dishearting this would be after you spend hard-earned money only to find out your purchase is not what it was advertised to be. But this was not the only problem with the C6.
Cleetus made contact with one of the previous owners of the car and the stories commenced from there. It seems that the cursed Corvette had been struck by lightning which in return damaged the hood, front bumper, and fried the electrical system. The C6 also had many LS2’s built and suffered from several accounts of engine failure, from a dropped valve to a lean condition with nitrous use. As if that wasn’t enough the previous owner even put a carburetor on the engine in an attempt to be different.
Initially, Cleetus and crew decided to run a rear-mount turbo system on the ‘Vette and replace the legendary Flowmaster 40-series mufflers. However, that plan was quickly scrapped and another plan was devised. Utilizing leftover parts from the project Leroy the Savage, the guys decided to build the Auction Corvette as cheap as possible while still using good parts. They purchased a Precision Turbo, along with a hot and cold piping kit from Motion Raceworks. Cleetus also contacted the guys at Texas Speed & Performance for a cam for the junkyard 5.3 engine.
In true Cleetus McFarland fashion, the guys decided to mount the turbo on the passenger side of the vehicle while allowing it to protrude out of the hood by about a foot. After fabbing the turbo system while still using some factory exhaust manifolds, and topping the mill off with a Holley Hi-Ram, the ‘Vette was ready for the dyno. The C6 ended up putting down some impressive number, making 736 horsepower and a staggering 748 lb-ft of torque from the stock bottom end 5.3-liter engine.
The next time you decided to buy a car, if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Luckily Cleetus and his crew were capable of overcoming the odds and building another wicked Corvette. It helps to have the right guys, the right companies, and a bit of knowledge to pull this off is such a short time.
Click here to watch all of the Auction Corvette videos from Cleetus McFarland’s YouTube channel.