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This story originally appeared in Hot Rod Magazine October 1, 2002. You can see the original story here:

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.


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.