Twin-Engine Corvette Makes 1,300 Horsepower
Our friend Gordon Tronson is at it again, this time with a twin-engine Corvette that puts out about 1,300 horsepower and is fittingly dubbed the “Super Super Car.”
The automotive world has been buzzing about Tronson’s latest build since it appeared in the AMSOIL booth at a recent Hot August Nights event. Several outlets have posted articles, with bloggers from as far away as Germany reaching out to the New Zealand native and current Las Vegas car builder for details.
Check out Tronson’s “Super Super Car” for yourself
And take a listen to it here.
Why all the fuss?
Take a look in the engine compartment. That’s not one but two 640-horsepower LT4 engines lowered into the tube chassis. While GM finally introduced a mid-engine Corvette in 2019, Tronson took it a step further and placed a pair of engines behind the driver. If the mid-engine C8 Corvette could make the splash it did back then, it stands to reason Tronson’s creation will generate twice the excitement.
The latest in a line of iconic builds
If Gordon Tronson’s name isn’t familiar to you, his one-of-a-kind builds surely are.
You may have seen his 1932 roadster named “Double Trouble,” which features four superchargers atop a pair of V-8 engines. Or, maybe, you’ve seen his homemade Lamborghini Countach. Years ago, he built several that were so realistic, the lawyers from Lambo slapped him with a $5 million lawsuit.
Tronson’s talents aren’t reserved to the four-wheeled world. Check out his custom motorcycle powered by a quartet of V-twin engines.
Get the full story and find out what makes Tronson tick in the video.
Twin-engine Corvette 20 years in the making
While Tronson spent about a three and a half years building his “Super Super Car,” the idea had been percolating for at least 20 years. He saw a sketch of a concept car that featured similar elongated, fluid lines in an art magazine. The idea struck him so deeply that he hung the sketch in his garage and determined to one day build a similar car.
Leap ahead about 20 years and it was time to start building. But fabricating the car from scratch would have taken five years, Tronson said. He compromised by selecting the perfect donor car.
“I started with a 2001 C5 Corvette that was scrapped after having been flooded during Hurricane Katrina,” he said. Tronson chopped off the front and rear ends, leaving essentially just the original cockpit.
He then welded together a tube chassis to complete the frame, adding extra space in the rear to house the two radiators that cool the supercharged LT4 engines. As Tronson has found with other cars, like his Lamborghini Diablo, the radiators must have access to ample cool air from outside the engine compartment, otherwise the car is undrivable in extreme heat…like summertime in Las Vegas, where he lives. Hence the reason for the massive air intakes behind each rear wheel.
Routing the 1,300 horsepower from the twin engines to the stock 4-speed transaxle provided another challenge. But it was child’s play for a guy who figured out how to power a motorcycle with a four-pack of engines, including two that run backward. Check out his other builds at his website.
To solve the problem, Tronson designed a custom transfer case inside of which a 14-mm industrial belt, similar to what you see powering a top-fuel dragster blower, transfers the rotation of the crankshafts to the transmission.
And to top if off…
To cap his latest creation, Tronson built what’s known as a “buck,” which is essentially a fiberglass and plywood model of the car. The buck is used to make a form that’s used to mold the plastic shell that sits atop the chassis.
The result is a skin that gestures toward the classic Corvette silhouette while embodying a style all its own.
“I think the car looks quite amazing,” said Tronson. “It has those old-school body lines but also has an aggressive, supercar look.”
How does it drive?
After the initial wave of intrigue and excitement pass when seeing the car, the next obvious question is, “How does it handle?”
The jury is still out.
“I haven’t driven it very far yet,” said Tronson. “It was barely completed before appearing in the AMSOIL booth at Hot August Nights. Theoretically, it’ll go down the road like any Corvette,” he said.
Tronson turned a few heads when he estimated the car’s speed at more than 200 mph. But, again, that’s just an estimate based on the car’s power-to-weight ratio (which is better than a Bugatti Chiron), gear ratio, tire size and other factors.
We may never know its top speed since Tronson doesn’t plan to drive the car fast enough to find out. “I’m not out there to break the bloody speed record,” he said.
Instead, the “Super Super Car” primarily represents an amazing engineering feat. It’s the confluence of ingenuity, curiosity, art and raw power – a distinctly American creation.
But that doesn’t mean it’ll just be a trailer queen. Tronson wants to augment its show-car status with on-road practicality, too. “Once it’s complete, I’d like to invite Road & Track to do a test drive. I want to get the car to the point that I can give it to someone and say, ‘Here, take it for a ride.'”
We’ll gladly oblige.