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The Green Slime 220-MPH Daily Driver in Hot Rod Magazine

This story originally appeared in Hot Rod Magazine October 1, 2002. You can see the original story here: https://www.hotrod.com/articles/89158/

Attack Of The Green Slime

Last year, at the behest of Chevrolet, Chuck Mallett experienced his first Power Tour as a part of Chevy’s Toy Fleet. The Toy Fleet is a rolling, real-time exhibit of current and future engine and engine management combinations as installed in various sheetmetal (or fiberglass, as the case may be). As such, both Chuck and his C5 Corvette became instant and unforgettable hits, he for his openness and affability, and his car for its docile nature and ferocious tendencies, which he shared with several of the unsuspecting among us.
 
Right off the bat, Mallett yarned about top-speed capability that would embarrass everything else on the Tour, and anywhere else on the road for that matter, but we’d heard that kind of bravado before. His blonde ponytail and calf-high boots tripped an alarm or two. But about five minutes after our introduction, he was casually disemboweling a Viper (not with the Tour) that had made an overture. Chuck ran the Dodge until its frantic driver got chicken skin and then walked his leopard-paint Corvette off hard, surgically relieving the blundering Dodge boy of an inch or two of manhood. These days, if you’re going to make an impression, do it like Mallett. Do it in an historical manner, by immediately backing up what you say with actions that remain frozen forever in your memory bank.
 
Now, we take Chuck Mallett for his literal self. We like the way he wields his force more or less discreetly, showing up this year with a slime green C5, replete with wicked dragon scales running down its flanks sprouting indiscriminately from primordial vines. As a reference point, this same effluence erupts Alien-like from a portion of the hood, lending the extraordinary green some hard, three-dimensional qualities. “It’s just my old car with new paint,” said Mallett. “And a motor that puts out 100 more horsepower at the wheels than last year’s,” he added with an off-kilter grin and a gleam in his eye.
 
As the front man for Mallett Cars Ltd., Chuck’s late-90s C5 acts as the deal- maker, a werks piece, for his thriving tuner-oriented business. Prices are high, but so are the stakes, and all his constituents happily play the game. Unlike Mallett, however, most of them exhibit their sanguinary yen just a few days a week. Compared to his customers, Mallett spreads his car around like a porno queen. For the past several years, he’s brought his unusual C5 to the Big Four Corvette events, two Hot Rod Power Tours, and two Car & Driver One-Lap events just like it was an ordinary production car.
 


A normal C5 is very easy to get in and out of, but not the Green Slime. Those sissy bars jutting from the rollcage require that you enter the cockpit butt-first and pull your legs in after you. The well-padded racing seats slide back and forth but are not adjustable in any other way. Luckily, my body build is the same as Chuck’s, so the rake of the seatback, the fit of the cushions, and the reach to the controls were natural for me. Even the position of the rearview mirror was right on the money.


Though equipped with all the obligatory creature comforts (climate control, audio system) it originated with, I never bothered with them for a couple of reasons: awe and more awe. They all become secondary, unessential quips that shrink into the background when the whip comes down. Reach for the steering wheel and the slim alloy Mallett shifter coincides perfectly with the height and the resistance of the pedals. The pedals are easy to heel-and-toe, and the shifter moves like grease. The idea is to make the operator as comfortable as possible and therefore completely alert when triple-digit speeds increase with the thrust of a booster rocket. In a similar but retro modification to the engine controller, Mallett has gradually staged the amount of wheelspin control to the authority of the engine package, and the action is basically invisible at low threshold. Mallett built the interior of his supercar to provide for long-distance running, but our jaunt was short enough that we couldn’t appreciate or even notice the benefits.


Ride & Handling


Though our driving impression in the Green Slime was restricted to the highway, we have driven other Mallett cars on nearly every type of terrain, including gravel roads. Chuck’s green car is equipped with T-1 spherical rod end links, Penske double- adjustable shock absorbers, and an A-arm bushing kit. While necessarily forceful, the suspension is quite fluid and comfortable for normal driving even though it will generate in excess of 1.0 g on the skidpad. Ride quality is no harsher than that of a ZO6, but the capability is well beyond the experience of most drivers and certainly that of ordinary street encounters. This can be traced to stock Z51 spring rates coupled with shock valving that is greater than what the factory provides. (It poses 23 steps for the rebound phase, for instance.) This preserves ride quality while damping and controlling wheel movement, especially when the road gets twisty. Call it the supreme active safety device. The Green Slime wears 18×9.5 and 19×11.0-inch wheels and a Michelin Pilot tire combination specific to it.


In our trials with previous and less- powerful Mallett C5s, the tendency is for a neutral handling attitude that goes to a mild understeer condition at the limit of adhesion. The power assist is minimal, steering feel is substantial, and the feedback telegraphs through the steering wheel better than that of a ZO6. Turn-in is naturally quick and precise. Aside from the effect of the whopping big Goodyears, another key feature is the eight-point rollcage that offers passive safety, peace of mind, and the structural rigidity matched to a race-only rig. Superior traction attends superior handling characteristics. The stiffer the chassis, the better the suspension geometry is able to react, thus the wheels tend to remain upright and offer the best possible adhesion patch at all times. In all, the Corvette is a well- balanced road machine.


Drivetrain


Before explaining the engine, let’s investigate the computer that controls it and the rest of the Slime’s critical power functions. In a word, it is flawless. It makes the Charlie Mallett-built engine run like a champ, produce a bit less than 700 rear-wheel horsepower, and helps Mallett realize 27.5 miles per gallon on the highway. Sounds too good to be true, but it is. Perhaps the best part of this package is the machine’s utter driveability, a feat the factory has yet to duplicate with its own mules. Chuck’s car behaves just as well pottering around town as it does with the pedal to wood. There’s nary a stumble, rattle, or hiccup. It idles straight, smooth, and without any fluctuation, and throttle response is nearly telepathic. Though somewhat excitable in the wet, the Michelins plant a fat tread on dry tarmac, and you are simply gone —no wheelspin, no drama.


Further, the engine purrs at idle; no overexcited cam action steals the solitude, and the exhaust stays quiet as well. At normal speed you can’t even hear the exhaust pulses running into one another in the stainless steel long-tube headers. The engine runs calmly and stays under wraps, and there’s only a faint whistle from the Vortec supercharger at idle. At 435ci, this GEN-III-based engine is plenty big enough to be a torque monster as well, and there’s plenty of it for low-speed operation. A close-ratio M12 transaxle and a 3.42:1 ring-and- pinion fill in any minor gaps. The billet-hewn shifter jutting from the console is fashionably thin and fits the Slime’s lithe image, but the linkage is precise and surely lessens the chance of notching Third gear.The bored cylinder case houses a steel stroker crankshaft and 9.2:1 custom-made slugs on forged steel connecting rods. Until the GEN-IV parts become available, the cylinder heads are CNC-ported D-port LS6 castings. Without the benefit of forced air induction, this engine (albeit with a 11.5:1 compression ratio) produces 550 hp at 5,800 rpm. When Mallett adapts and dresses the custom-built, reverse-rotation Vortech supercharger, it conjures up a wicked 15 psi of positive manifold pressure which is supported by a massive air-to-air intercooler) and blows output into the stratosphere with more than 750 hp at the flywheel. That’s efficient enough to produce a quarter-mile clock of 10.70 at 149 mph!


As tested on Power Tour, we are remiss for any witnessed performance data, but we can offer the following. At the National Corvette Museum annual C5 bash last April, Mallett entered Lazslo Hampel’s blown 427 Z06 (equipped with an automatic) in the competition, which includes a quarter-mile dragstrip as well as a slalom course trial. The kicker is that the car could only use one type of tire for both contests. Mallett put on some Hoosier R compound race rubber and had at it. Chuck manned the straightline runs at Beech Bend and produced a best of 11.35 at 135. Then autocross maven Tom Kloztan threaded Hampel’s fiberglass through the course to catch Second Place. (He grazed a few cones and was penalized accordingly.) Even though street trim was the order, the Mallett boys’ total exhibition was good enough to put them on top of the rest, and Lazslo’s car was the only one driven to the event.


Our space shot came at the end of a particularly frustrating day. Mallett offered the car at a gas stop. We were a little apprehensive. Rain had spattered the windshield all day. Under a lead gray sky, we dropped a lead foot. The Green Slime left the filling station quietly, and once we were squared away, we simply tromped the throttle and wound the engine to 5,600 because Mallett told us it was all in at 6,000, anyway. The quiet kitten made a low growl that exploded into a wonderful mechanical frenzy as the revs jumped on top of one another. We shifted calmly, and the engine pulled hard and seamless, Chuck urging us all the way.

 

What It Is

Though there could be yet another iteration of Mallett’s well-used warhorse, that prospect is unlikely. From its 19-inch wheels to its close-ratio gearbox to its mammoth disc brakes, the Green Slime is basically a one-off combination, a showcase of Mallett Cars’ technology, and a perfectly balanced road-rager. As it is configured now, there is little left to do in the handling department, and though the potential for more displacement awaits in the GEN-IV equipment, Mallett says he’s ready to jump on something strange to use that next-gen tech in a big way. It might have two doors, but it could well have four. Be assured that the platform and suspension will be as sussed out by the factory and by Mallett as that of his C5. When will this occur? The way Mallett does things, you’ll only have to wait a few minutes. And what of the Green Slime C5? It’s undoubtedly the best modern automobile we’ve ever had the pleasure to thrash.

TBT: Super Tuner Challenge

Car and Driver Sept 01 2001
Csaba Csere, Frank Markus, Daniel Pund, AAron Robinson, Tony Swan and Larry Webster

SEARCHING FOR THE HIGHEST PERFORMANCE STREET CAR IN THE LAND
We found the perfect venue in our backyard — Michigan International Speedway. It not only sports a 2.0-mile tri-oval but also has an infield road-racing loop.

Mallett Cars was founded in 1997, its goal to produce the fastest, highest-quality fifth-generation (C5) Corvettes on the street, drawing on years of motorsports experience, some of which was spent working for Chevy’s racing program.

Mallett Corvettes have competed in every Car and Driver One Lap of America since 1996, placing as high as second in 1997 and as low as 71st two years later. The very car you see here achieved those rankings, plus third overall in both 1998 and 2000. It’s also Chuck Mallett’s daily driver, so we were not surprised to find that it was exceptionally docile and tractable on our road drive, bagging four of five drivability stars ( a low, hard seat cost it a fifth star).

Power comes from an aluminum LS1 V-8, stroked from 3.62 to 3.92 inches and gently bored from 3.90 to 3.92 inches, for 378 cubes total. All new internals, plus smoother-flowing intake and exhaust plumbing, add up to 435 hp in naturally aspirated trim, but this being a full-tilt-boogie exercise, our car also boasted a customized Vortech centrifugal supercharger. Calibrated for pump premium, it blows 9.0 psi of boost, good for 625 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque (running 14.0 psi on 104 octane, he sees upwards of 700 hp).

Routing power through a heavy-duty Mallett clutch to a blueprinted Tremec box at the behest of a billet shorty shifter, the Mallett 435S was much easier to drive smoothly than the Lingenfelter twin-turbo setup. Putting the power down was easy, thanks to Hoosier racing slicks grooved to meet the letter of our stated minimum-tread-depth rule.

The suspension’s composite leaf springs have been ditched in favor of a multi-adjustable coil-over shock unit at each corner, and lowered, with modified Mallett geometry and custom-tuned anti-roll bars. The car is also lightened everywhere with Swiss-cheese holes, thin body panels, and even a clear-coat primer paint job that saves 18 pounds in paint. But a roll cage and fire and data-gathering systems put a lot of that weight back on.
Mallett’s Vette ran like a train all day Monday and garnered high praise in the logbook: “a very civilized machine,” “ride quality in the medium suspension setting is really good,” and “a well-developed car — so secure and planted that I feel most confident in here.”

The car completed three runs and finished third in the official standings, reaching 140 mph, with a course time of 99.3 seconds. And the suspension work paid off with a decisive second-place time on the 0.86-mile road course, clearing the gates a considerable 3.6 seconds ahead of the Lingenfelter Vette.

Mallett’s quiet, linear, and well-weighted Baer brake package also managed to stop the car from 140 mph in an impressive 623 feet. Clearly, this is one impressive daily driver, but next time expect to see a real fire breather.

(Excerpt from Car and Driver magazine write up Sept 01 2001)

TBT: 1967 Camaro named Hot Rod Car of the Year 1996

Mallett Motorsports Berea Ohio was the site of custom fabrication, paint, chassis set-up, and final assembly of the 1967 Camaro which was named Hot Rod Car of the year and featured on the August 1996 cover of Hot Rod Magazine and in the article Goin For It featured in that issue.

Here is an excerpt from the article written by Will Handzel

Mallett Motorsports in Berea, Ohio mini-tubed the rear wheelwells by cutting them down the center, sliding the inner half in 2 inches and hammer-welding a strip of sheetmetal into the gap. This maintained the factory appearance in the trunk area but allowed the large tires to fit into the wheel openings.

DRIVETRAIN DETAILS

All that rear tire isn’t just for looks, it has the power of 396 cubic inches of all-aluminum, splayed-valve, fuel-injected former GTP race engine to put to the ground! The small-block-derived engine was balanced, blueprinted, and dyno tested by Victory Engines in Cleveland, Ohio, using a Moldex crank (3.70-inch stroke), Carillo rods (5.700 inches), Wiseco pistons (4.130-inch bore), a Jesel timing belt, a Crane cam (custom-ground street version with 0.560/0.579 inches of lift and 234/242 degrees duration at 0.050 inch, respectively), Ferrea valves, Competition Cams valvesprings, Jesel rockers, Del West titanium retainers, and a Hamburger oil pan.
Power runs through a ZF six-speed transmission that is nestled in a Mallett-built trans tunnel. For safety and to keep the power and the cornering forces from twisting the car up like a pretzel, an eight-point rollcage was tied into the front and rear subframes and the rocker panels. Within the cage, the interior boasts a Momo steering wheel, VDO gauges, a Vintage Air A/C, unit and a Pioneer stereo. After Mallett Motorsports completed the custom fabrication (which also included eliminating the front bumper, installing the Harwood glass hood, and more), the company spent hours prepping the sheetmetal and painting it Sikkens Two-Stage Red.