Every so often, there's a car that's so distinctive, so uniquely menacing, you can pinpoint the exact moment it crossed your path. Just like the first time you saw Harrison Ford's intimidating '55 Chevy in American Graffiti, seeing Art Sibiga's '93 Corrado VR6 is an unforgettable experience.
The Coupe's dark attire and ominous presence command respect. Its sinister hue and hunkered stance intimidate; this unorthodox style is a glimpse into its addiction for speed.
Sliding into the passenger's seat, the cockpit is sparse like a fighter jet's. With a simple turn of the key, Art summons the narrow-angled six into life. Exiting the industrial area, the bark of the open-exhaust echoes off buildings and consumes the air around us; its acoustic ferocity gives an inkling of the madness that will soon ensue.
There are quick cars, and then there are fast cars. And while many have achieved 300whp, few swim in the waters over 500whp this Corrado occupies.
In a rush of charged inhalation, the first three gears come and go in a whirlwind of tire smoke and torque steer. Even the LSD and gummy BFG Drag Radials couldn't contain the boosted onslaught until fourth gear. Pulling effortlessly into triple digits, the retina-distorting top end is breathtaking, reminiscent of a sports bike; scary fast!
Uninterested in show, everything on this car is for go. "Before buying the Corrado, I had another daily-driver. So when I got it, I wanted it to be fast," Polish-born Art said.
Although the current setup is incredibly quick, the journey to insanity was one of blood, sweat and long hours. "I can't count how many times I've torn the car down to its shell. It's been alot of work, but driving the car makes it all worthwhile," Art said.
Shortly after taking delivery of this black beauty, Art and his friend, "Turbo Joe" Solpys from ForcedFed Performance, decided that an OBD2 VR6 was needed in order to reach the power they desired. It was then punched out to 2.9 liters with Ross pistons, Manley rods and ARP studs.
"I figured I might as well build the motor with forged internals before dropping it in, since I knew I wanted over 20psi on the street," Art said.
Once the mill was in place, the stock automatic was scrapped for a new 020 with hardened internals, Peloquin LSD, huge clutch and burly DSS stage 5 axles.
Prepped for serious power, he built a custom turbo kit around a GT35R turbocharger. Bolted to an ATP manifold and assisted by an FMIC, the set up made just over 400whp on 93-octane with the stock intake manifold and ECU.
"The car was great on the stock ECU; Joe's tuning was perfect, until we wanted to play with race gas. Once we went in that direction, the car gave us problems," Art said.
Not long after hitting the wall with the stock computer, Turbo Joe headed to California, but not before introducing Art to Zoric Race Products (ZRP).
"The guys at ZRP were known for Evo tuning and hadn't played with many VWs. So after talking to Joe Zoric at ZRP, I decided to tweak a few things," Art said.
So the car continued its ascent to insanity with the installation of a Haltech stand-alone, along with a Schimmel short-runner intake. To ensure the car wouldn't be fuel-starved, ZRP added a bigger in-tank pump, larger injectors and a custom anti-surge tank.
Now able to infinitely tune the car with the Haltech, Art decided to make the Corrado even crazier by adding a 115-shot of nitrous and tuning it for race fuel.
Once the programming was done, they threw in a 117-octane swill, cranked the boost and spun the rollers to 517whp at 26psi on the stock head and cams, but without the nitrous.
"I was pretty happy we made over 500whp using a relatively small GT35R turbo [for a VR6]," Art said.
Although the car was moving closer to a racer, Art wanted to make it more reliable and keep the temps controlled. So after long conversations with the gurus at USRT and FourSeason Tuning, he decided to tweak the set up yet again and fit a water/alcohol injection system.
Finally ready for it's first trip down the good ol' American 1320, Art took the car to some local drags to see what his hard work and money had produced. Rolling off the line, the car spun its tires all the way through fourth and cut some pretty disappointing low 12sec runs. Despite the lack of traction, the Corrado was still trapping well over 120mph, indicating it was capable of 10s with better tires.
Undeterred, Art knew he needed more rubber. After some copious cutting of the fenders, he stuffed BFG Drag Radials under the wells. To dress the newly carved arches, Art took a friend's Miata flares and applied them to his Corrado.
Blessed with both power and traction, Art hit the track again. "Now I had some traction; instead of rolling off the line, I came out hard but instantly snapped one of the stage 5 axles," he groaned.
Another disappointment. But while the car was down, he added an exhaust cut-out and some further tuning.
Bad luck comes in threes and it struck again when Art grenaded first gear. "Although I was disappointed the car wasn't 100%, the few runs I made showed the water/alcohol injection worked really well, keeping temps consistently low," Art said.
Then winter set in and the East Coast drag season came to a close. Back in the garage, the car is currently getting its transmission fixed, a cage installed and a slew of other quarter-mile goodies. Not easily satisfied, he's also having the car receive custom cams and a worked head in the hope of reaching 750whp without nitrous.
As if 700hp isn't enough, Art plans on adding a bigger GT-series turbo and using the nitrous along with the alcohol injection to create the first daily-driven 1000whp Corrado!
Dangerously demented and insanely fast, it's cars like this that take our sport to new highs. And don't kid yourself; if you come across this blacked-out Corrado, you better get used to its tail lights, because that's all you'll ever see.
Tech Spec1993 Corrado VR6Owner: Art SibigiaLocation: Maspeth, NYOccupation: self-employed
Engine: 2.9 liter VR6 with Ross 8.5:1 pistons, Manley rods, ARP main and head studs, Schimmel Performance metal gasket and short-runner intake manifold, Garrett GT35R turbo, Haltech E6X stand-alone fuel injection, Innovative XD-16 wideband O2 sensor, ATP turbo exhaust manifold and black front-mount intercooler, custom ZRP downpipe, throttle body, braided fuel lines and fuel surge tank, Aeromotive FPR, GReddy Type RS BOV and Profec B Spec 2 boost controller, Tial 38mm external wastegate, custom six-port NOS system with purge, Bosch external 044 fuel pump, Walbro 255lph fuel pump, custom alcohol injection system with 200psi USRT pump, custom Borla exhaust with cut-out, Samco coolant hoses, Siemens 660cc injectors, SPAL electronic fans, Mocal oil cooler, Optima Red Top battery, custom ram-air headlight scoop
Drivetrain: 020 five-speed manual, G-Force internal gears, Peloquin limited-slip differential, DriveShaftShop stage 5 axles, Clutchnet four-puck clutch with custom pressure plate, Autotech lightweight flywheel, B&M short shifter, front wheels studs
Suspension: ZRP solid front engine crossmember, bushings and traction bars, VF-Engineering motor and transmission mounts, lightweight rear subframe, Patec coilovers with Eibach rear springs and polished strut brace, polyurethane control arm and upper rear shock bushings
Brakes: rear staging brake, Brembo cross-drilled and slotted rotors, ABS delete
Wheels & Tires: 15x8.5" widened steelies, 225/50-15 front BFGoodrich Drag Radials, 205/50 rear Kumho Ecsta tires
Exterior: VIS carbon hood, Miata fender flares, European lip spoiler, smoked E-code headlights, corners, signals and tail lights, badgeless grille, tinted windows
Interior: black leather trim, Corbeau driver's seat, Euro seatbelts and steering wheel, Mitsubishi shift knob, black suede headliner, Auto Meter boost, pyrometer, oil pressure, nitrous, volts and shift light, DDI instrument overlays
Thanks: wife Monika, Joe Zoric and ZRP team (www.teamzrp.com), Scott at USRT (www.usrallyteam.com), James at FourSeason Tuning (www.fourseasontuning.com), Turbo Joe at ForcedFed Performance (917/238-2050), Yellow Mike, and Keith Smith (www.thedubnutz.com)