Your heart pounds like a rock n’roll bass drum as you mash down on the accelerator and the engine reacts with a resounding lurch. Adrenaline runs through your veins delivering mega doses of über- awareness, mental clarity, and the ability to seemly respond at superhuman speed. The world blurs by the side windows but all you see is straight ahead, to the next turn, and your exit line into the straightaway.
This isn’t a race track, you’ve just opted to take the empty foothill road leading to the farthest away store from your house – purely because you’re driving a Corvette. You don’t buy a Corvette because it’s a great grocery-getter; it’s more to the point of a lifelong investment to ward off a depleted soul and a surefire remedy against the humdrum. Since 1953 the Corvette has been synonymous with pure muscle, individualism and rugged elegance, and the 2014 C7 Corvette ups the ante to the next level.
There have been six rebirths of the legendary Vette, with the “C” denoting the generation, and it would clearly be easier to address what isn’t new than what is. The C7 Stingray essentially shares only two parts with the previous generation, which are the cabin air filter and the removable roof panel latch.
Arguably the most significant enhancement to the C7 is the swanky all-new interior. Gone are the sharp edges and crusty hard plastics, which have been replaced with attractive new materials that are soft to the touch, and it’s all accented with genuine leather, aluminum, and carbon fiber. Inside you’ll also find a realistic assortment of useable new high-tech offerings which are all intuitively easy to navigate through. Two eight-inch hi-def screens provide access to all the info; in addition a single rotary drive mode selector allows you to change between the C7’s five modes – Tour (the default), Weather, Eco, Sport, and Track. The car sets up nearly instantaneously. There’s no messing around with sub-menus, the car simply adjusts 12 of its parameters to suit the existing conditions.
There are two available C7 platforms, the base car, which isn’t so much a base as it’s jammed packed with technology, and the other is the Z51. The latter model adds a bunch of go-faster novelties that are worth consideration as all of them improve the car even more.
Both the hood and removable roof panel are now made of carbon fiber on both models, the frame is shaped from aluminum, and the doors and rear quarter panels are made of composite. Together they help give the approximately 3,298 pound C7 a 50:50 front/rear weight distribution. The Z51 package also adds a dry sump, electronic limited slip differential, brake, diff and transmission cooling, larger wheels, better brakes, and a few nuanced design amendments, such as a taller rear spoiler to aid high-speed stability.
The 2014 Corvette’s new 6.2-liter LT1 V8 offers 376 cubic-inches of displacement, and it remains an old-school pushrod design in order to keep the height of the engine down, and thereby the hood height. Low height is in fact one of the key paybacks to sticking with an overhead-valve drivetrain, rather than going with a more fashionable dual overhead-cam system. This brilliant OHV power plant however implements some exceptional new efficient and flexible technology belying its profile, which incorporates direct injection, continuously variable valve timing, and Active Fuel Management.
When Eco mode is selected for example, and the car is cruising, it shuts down four of the cylinders to save fuel. This produces an unnatural engine note, but it allows the C7 to hit almost 30 mpg. Yet with a reported 450 ponies in the coral, the 2014 C7 can explode from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.8 seconds, and its top speed pushes near the 200 mph mark.
If the Stingray is indeed the model example of American automotive muscle, then the Edelbrock E-Force Supercharger for the C7, is the athletic super-nutrient designed to deliver optimized fast-twitch muscle performance. For those with the mindset that 450 hp from the Chevy factory is a lot, but more would be better, then one of the Edelbrock E-Force Supercharger systems is calling your name.
“Even though we had to opt for the automatic (much easier during emissions testing) – I LOVE this car,” declared Chris Johnson, Edelbrock’s Sr. Calibration Engineer regarding his driving impression of the 2014 C7. “Even after spending over 4,000 miles behind the wheel (E-Force equipped) I still get a big grin every time I drive the car. Power delivery (when you want it) is smooth and linear, any other time it’s hard to tell that a supercharger has been added at all! After driving this car for so long I’m seriously thinking about picking up a 2015 for myself, manual of course.”
In the formative days of the automotive performance industry you had two choices, either run what was on hand, or fabricate something you believed would do it better. Few people of that time understood or applied the principle of build-it-yourself any better than Vic Edelbrock Sr. Necessity, and the need to go faster than the other guy, were the mother of invention and the very foundation of the automotive aftermarket industry.
Edelbrock founded his corporation in 1938, when his need to increase the performance of his 1932 Ford Roadster led him to design a new intake manifold. It wasn’t long before everyone else wanted one too. This transformed his humble repair garage into a parts manufacturing enterprise, producing one-of-a-kind equipment for automobiles. It was Vic Edelbrock then, along with a handful of other innovating pioneers, who in effect helped to invent the automotive aftermarket parts industry. Based in Torrance, California the Edelbrock Corporation now has six locations, three in Torrance, two in San Jacinto, California, and one in Sanford North Carolina, totaling over 500,000 square feet. The Torrance headquarters include R&D, manufacturing and state-of-the-art testing facilities, along with advertising and tech support. This year Edelbrock, LLC celebrates their 76th anniversary, and with the introduction of their new 2014 product line, highlighted by the E-Force Supercharger systems, they remain without question one of foremost icons in the performance industry.
“As the Sr. Calibration Engineer I am responsible for meeting emissions compliance, meeting performance goals, and ensuring that the calibration is as close to factory as possible,” said Johnson. He continued, “Which might make it seem that I would be biased, as 99% of the calibration has been completed by myself. However, being my own worst critic negates that. As of this writing I personally would give the (E-Force Supercharger) system an ‘A’ overall, and a solid ‘B’ as far as the calibration goes (In my eyes perfection isn’t attainable, even from the factory), however the feedback I have received from the rest of the staff has been quite positive.”
Using the Chevy factory numbers for horsepower and torque as a baseline, tests have indicated that the Edelbrock E-Force Supercharger Systems are capable of boosting the Stingray to 624 flywheel horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque with the stock fuel pump. Unlike the C6 Corvette that required an upgraded fuel pump, no change is needed with the C7 Corvette. The E-Force fits perfectly under the stock hood without the need for any modifications, allowing this highly engineered masterpiece to retain its factory intended brilliance.
At the Strip
What good is all that power if you can’t put it to the ground? Using a baseline automatic C7 we recently tested, we were able to run 12.34 at 113 mph in the quarter mile. When equipped with Edelbrock’s E-Force system, they were able to increase their quarter-mile time by over a second and improve trap speed as well. As tested with the E-Force system, Edelbrock ran the quarter-mile in 11.29 at 124.48 mph. Picking up 1.05 seconds and an additional 11.48 mph with a simple bolt on mod is an amazing increase over stock – especially considering this system can be daily driven with ease and maintain near-stock MPG if you keep it out of boost.
System Improvements Over Stock
“The Stage 1 kit comes with everything needed for the install in the box. It is complete with a refined calibration and it will carry a 50 state legal E.O. number. There is also an available 5-year 100,000 mile powertrain warranty for the stage 1,” said Johnson in regards to the options and overall quality of the kit.
In summary what the Vette team has accomplished with the C7, and Edelbrock with the E-Force Supercharger Systems, is nothing short of astonishing. This newest expression of Corvette will allow you to commute or cruise comfortably all day long while only sipping fuel. Yet it has the performance and luggage space to handle long journeys effortlessly. But, what makes this C7 Corvette truly extraordinary is that by simply turning the single rotary drive mode selector, you’re immediately ready to hit the track to find the next perfect exit line into the straightaway.