Ken Lingenfelter Takes Us Behind the Scenes in Chicago [W/Video]
Everything GM that Lingenfelter Performance Engineering touches turns to performance gold. The man with that Midas touch is its owner Ken Lingenfelter. We managed to catch up with Ken to learn a little bit more about his all-new Corvette Stingray. If you're heading to McCormick place, the Lingenfelter display is not one to miss. One of the stunning vehicles you’ll see on display is the 2015 Corvette that wowed spectators at SEMA and was named one of its top models. Painted in a matte gold, Ken called it “just a regular C7” [as if such a thing is possible] that was done before the Z06 debuted. The paint, he points out, gives it the extra kick it needed. By Ken’s own admission, he was nervous when the matte gold was first proposed. He’s not one who can envision what a designer suggests on paper. He needs to see it in the flesh. “It came out fantastic,” he said. What also helps make it more badass (my words, not Ken’s) are the carbon fiber rocker panels. “The thing about the rocker panels,” Ken said, “is the car looked a little too high. The rockers give the car the vision of being a little lower.” RELATED: See Photos of the All-New Corvette Z06 But the car is so much more than its looks. It features a performance boost thanks to the Edelbrock E-Force TVS2300 intercooled supercharger system up to 700 horsepower and 665 lb. ft. of torque. Ken points with pride to the car because, in addition to wowing SEMA, it was also the first supercharged C7 Stingray on the road. Lingenfelter Performance got the jump on its development by acquiring two Silverado pickups that basically have the same engine. It tested the engine in the pickups at drag strips and was ready when the Stingray hit the market. Lingenfelter sings the high praises of the 2015 Corvette Z06 also on display. (Then again he says, “I never met a Corvette I didn’t like.) He calls it a work of art. “It’s drop dead gorgeous,” he proclaimed - and I’m not going to disagree with him. He praises the bang for its buck value. “I love the car so much I bought one for myself,” he said, describing it as white with a red interior. RELATED: Watch the Lingenfelter ZL1 Camaro Hit 202MPH
The Z06 has the Eldebrock supercharger in it as well. It picked up 100 horsepower right away after some fuel delivery issues out. It has a larger blower on it. When it’s done, Lingenfelter will offer its standard upgrade packages. One tweak the Z06 doesn’t need is to its suspension. “As a race car driver you like to turn off all the controls but this is one you don’t want to,” Lingenfelter said.
Not all the Lingenfelter Performance does is fast cars. It also has created a fast truck called the Reaper based on the Chevy Silverado. It’s the answer to the question GM was too afraid to ask: how do you compete with the Ford Raptor? Lingenfelter has partnered with Southern Comfort Automotive out of Alabama, a GM authorized upfitter. Lingenfelter contributed the suspension and drivetrain and Southern Comfort does the rest.
RELATED: See More Images of the Lingenfelter Reaper
There are a choice of 2 packages: a 550 horsepower Lingenfelter TVS1900 Magnuson Supercharger package with the 6.2-liter engine or the 475 horsepower Lingenfelter TVS1900 Magnuson Supercharger package with the 5.3-liter engine.
Among its off-road add-ons are high clearance bumper with reinforced skid plate; Fox Racing remote reservoir shocks; Ride Tech suspension package; 9.2 inches of wheel travel in the front and 11.2 inches in the rear; Corsa Performance exhaust package; Reaper 20" wheels and tires; and, rock guard and side step. “We can take that thing flat out at 70 mph through the desert,” Ken said.
It’s sold through Chevrolet dealers. That’s a big step for Lingenfelter. None of its other products enjoy that direct connection to Chevrolet. In effect, you have to go rogue when you go Lingenfelter and buy outside the GM network.
RELATED: See More Images of the 2016 Cadillac ATS-V
The good news is the lust for thrust provided high-performance cars and trucks isn’t going away any time soon. They’re just more likely to be coming from aftermarket firms like Lingenfelter.
“Our customers want 700 to 800 horsepower. Customers in Dubai want 1,000 horsepower. People are always going to want more,” Ken said. The OEMs are struggling to meet CAFE standards and can’t create lots of high-power vehicles. “That gives us the opportunity to improve on them,” he said. “That’s one nice thing about the aftermarket.”
Ken sounds excited about the potential for the 2016 Cadillac ATS-V - the potential of what Lingenfelter can do to it. He said with just a few tweaks of the supercharger the company can boost its performance by 100 horsepower from its stock 455 horsepower.
By the way, ever wonder what Ken pilots for a daily driver? It’s not what you think, but it has a lot of horsepower. He drives a big blower Cadillac Escalade with 700 horsepower. “It could smoke a lot of performance cars,” Ken said. And we’re not surprised.
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