We’ll choose a manual transmission for pure driving pleasure any day, but when it comes time to hit the track, an automatic is the quickest shifter these days. But, Cleetus McFarland’s fenderless C5 Corvette has set a record: it’s the first General Motors car with a manual transmission to dip into the 7-second mark in the quarter mile.
The car, known as Leroy, had already been crowned the fastest Corvette with a manual transmission in the quarter mile, but McFarland wanted more. His Corvette returned to the shop for a rebuild after setting an earlier time of 8.106 and mechanics diagnosed a boost leak. All was thought to be A-OK, but a cylinder head gasket failed on another pass, which kept McFarland from the record.
When all seemed lost, a bold idea was tossed into the ring: run the Corvette without coolant. Risky, but a new world record was at stake. Ultimately, the crew went for it and now we’re looking at a 7-second Corvette.