Money, sweat, tears; The eternal battle of Corrado Ownership
Fifteen years ago today I decided to replace the Corrado G60 with the ultimate Corrado a 1993 Corrado SLC. After narrowing down the search I found this one in Northern NJ, the car had a Race Shop head, black leather and a Shine suspension in it. Driving down with a truck and U-haul trailer on a warm February morning with my old mentor Denis, we loaded up the car and made back to W.Mass in good time with a stop at Hooters along the way.
Originally the plan was to just drive it and clean it up paint ect as it was a 7/10 car with 131k miles on it. However fate would change only a couple weeks later when out for a drive with some friends I managed to bend all the valves in the head with an over-rev going wide open throttle up a hill in 2nd gear. The car had a semi homemade short shift kit of questionable quality, this along with the slop in the shifter bracket bushings resulted in shifting to 3rd gear from 2nd and going wot in neutral. Alas the car had a non-rev governed TT chip for some reason...just like that it was done.
After limping home I put the car under a car cover and licked my wounds, I began to get some quotes on fixing the motor, which at the time were crazy ($2-3k) so I ended up finding another VR6 for $800, of course one thing lead to another and by the time spring was done, I had the car repainted, picked up a VF supercharger kit and added Wilwood brakes.
I should have known this was going to go down the rabbit hole like nothing else I had experienced, well that is because partly Corrado life, also having cash and in early twenties seemed like a great idea at the time.
For 2007 I decided to embark on a little machining project and create a cog drive system for the VF kit, some might remember this was "impossible" by all those in the know on the forums, with even a moderator that went by the name Larry talking constant crap about it. Alas it would prove to be fun when Larry saw it in person on the other side of the country :wave:
After wrapping up the cars maintenance and being sure the car would survive the nearly 8,000 miles it would get over a week and a half. I departed to Las Vegas to meet up with Andy & Briar and some of the west coast Corrado owners. I had asked Andy in advance if doing an oil change at his house would be possible, he said no problem and he even tackled it!
Of course the biggest critic Larry was sitting there kicking back beers talking cars, when he read the script on the side of the car that said “Conquering belt slip since 2007” and then mentioned some punk kid on the east coast said he built a cog setup…at which point he noticed the cogs, walked to the back of the car and saw the plate from Massachusetts. There was a few minutes of silence then Larry walked over and shoot my hand, since then been friends ever since! Alas it is quite amazing meeting complete strangers from the internet and forever becoming friends. This is one of those endearing things about the Corrado to me as it has always been the continual camp fire of meeting people and friendships, it is truly irreplaceable.
2007 AKA Rally
Set a speed of 139mph on the mile with 209whp @ 6psi, HPA’s R32 never was able to beat the old Corrado.
For the rest of 2007 I drove the Corrado any and all chances that presented themselves, often wandering out to far flung late night VW/Audi GTG’s in all parts of the North East. Some nights blasting up to Canada or to Maine, just wasting gas and grinning ear to ear being behind the wheel of the Corrado.
Out for a late night blast into VT of I-89
2008 Repaint and more power
In 2008 I decided to increase the power from 8psi to 12psi, this resulted in needing an intercooler setup and some C2 software, this would eventually spell doom for the motor as it always ran too rich in the 10.8-11.5 air fuel area. My mentor Denis offered to let me use his garage to paint so I brought the Corrado up and began to strip the paint down to original pain, in some areas having to repair prior damage. Every night after work I would drive the hour to his house and work on the car until fatigue set in, at which point I would head home covered in paint dust to sleep prior to heading back to work. This would continue for months until fresh PPG Flash Red was finished.
No more than a couple weeks after completing the paint on the car it was vandalized at my work with some punk coming by and kicking in the door in several places. My heart was broken, even more so after the insurance agent offered me $500 to repair the door…after a long protracted fight where insurance wanted to total the car, I was able to get $1500 for the damage and no branding on the title.
Back to paint again….
Broken cog belts were an occasional thing with the 12psi pulley setup, this would be a continual fight with the setups evolution as I developed bigger and bigger setups for others.
With almost no compression in any cylinders 2009 marked the end of the motor, the struggle with tunes had been constant with the cog drive on OBD1. The results were too much fuel from a turbo tune that ended in washing down the cylinder cross hatching. Having another motor that I had rebuilt, the hurt one was removed.
For the next few years the Corrado moved from space to space until I was able to begin work on the engine bay paint in preparation for the newly built motor. Originally with the plan to go turbo on standalone I went back and forth until finally settling on the plan of a simple N/A 12v with MS3PRO. Winter of 2012 would mark tackling the paint in the engine bay and stripping the entire harnesses out of the car for repairs/standalone wiring.
After paint and putting the motor in, the Corrado sat for several more years eventually moving to my new place where I would complete it in 2019.
2018 Beginning assembly of the car and chasing down parts with the goal of having it ready for the Corrado Corral at 2019 NE Dustoff, Alas fate would be cruel again...
Freshly plated hardware
Pretty much all together, short of a couple small items for the interior and some tuning.
Hanging out with the Beast from the East
As the hours counted down to the Corrado needing to be at NE Dustoff a problematic oil cooler plate continued to cause issues and leak. Late that night I tossed in the towel and called it. Several weeks later I fixed the leak, but the car has sat ever since as I needed to collect my thoughts and focus on other projects for the rest of the year. With needing only a couple hours of final touches and some shake down miles, I still smile every day walking past it in the garage.
Over the years the Corrado just has become part of me like worn jacket or old watch, no matter even if not using it or having nicer newer things to entertain you, you just keep coming back to it. From an ownership standpoint it has been the single most expensive thing other than the house, bleeding tens of thousands of dollars over years, to such a point that I stopped keeping receipts after adding them up many many years ago and the sum was over $40k! The ownership of a Corrado is tough, parts are hard to find at times, the cars are not worth the sum of their parts often resulting in perfectly good cars being parted out.
Fun factor of driving the Corrado has always been an absolute blast, lift throttle oversteer, that uncorked VR6 at full wail, just everything just feeds back to the driver. On the track they are smooth operating machines, on the highways able to cover miles after miles with the large fuel tank. The ownership highs are sky high, the lows have you questioning car ownership entirely. Eventually they all balance out with a Corrado over the years of joy and pain, which is often made much rosier by fellow Corrado owners commiserating over alcohol. It is a constant reminder of adventures along long deserted highways, or the cool steel against the palm of your hand of the numbers of times cursing after it extracted blood from your knuckles.
One of these nights I will go into the garage and turn the key and take the Corrado out for a long drive again…it is only a matter of time and some more blood sweat and tears. Perhaps 2020 is that year!