The Chevrolet Corvette is one of the most recognizable cars in the world and it has a massive following. The Corvette has helped lead the Chevrolet versus Ford brand wars for decades, but not everyone who likes the car is concerned about brand purity. Michael Sellars ignored the status quo, and stuffed a small-block Ford between the fenders of a 2001 Z06 Corvette that he calls the “FordVette.”
Sellars is a US Army veteran who dedicated his life serving his country, and he spent a good amount of time stationed in Germany during the 1980s. While in Germany, Sellars started road racing and he even purchased a 1992 Mustang GT during his second deployment. Sellars returned to the United States in 1993 and was introduced to the sport of drag racing at Carolina Dragway. That trip to the track hooked Sellars on drag racing, and he started bolting parts onto his Mustang so it would go faster. Soon, Sellars had his Mustang running deep into the 10-second zone and was driving it on the street. The Mustang would eventually become a full-blown race car that ran a best of 8.72 at 160 MPH.
The FordVette wasn’t something that Sellars ever really dreamed about building, it just kind of happened after a heated conversation with some GM fans. It also manifested from his desire to build something different.
“I wrecked my Mustang in 2006 and was in the process of building a big-tire 1990 Mustang coupe with the drivetrain out of the GT. I got the wild idea of building a Corvette instead after a heated conversation with some Corvette owners that were bashing Fords. I told them that I would build a 7-second Ford-powered Corvette. I thought it would be fun to build something different after having eight Mustangs, and I always loved the looks of the C5 Corvette. So, in 2009 I brought a 2001 Z06 as a roller and took it to NRC Motorsports. In 2013, Eric Gold finished the car and brought the FordVette to life,” Sellars says.
The FordVette’s rearend is based around a Competition Engineering Super Magnum 4-link kit and Menscer Motorsports AFCO shocks. A Strange Engineering Ultra Ford Fab-9 housing with an aluminum Ultra case has been bolted up to the 4-link suspension. Strange drag brakes can be found at each corner of the FordVette, along with wheels from Billet Specialties, and Mickey Thompson tires.
Rankin’s Race Engines built the 410 cubic-inch small-block Ford. Inside the engine, you’ll find a SCAT crank, SCAT connecting rods, and pistons from JE Pistons. The top end of the small-block consists of Ford Z-304 cylinder heads, Harland Sharp rocker arms, a custom blower camshaft from Bullet Racing Cams, an Edelbrock Super Victor intake, and a 105mm Accufab throttle body. Fuel is pumped into the engine through an Enderle fuel pump and Moran fuel injectors. A Powerglide transmission from Keith Neal Racing Transmissions, and a Greg Slack torque converter transfer the power to the FordVette’s rearend.
While a naturally aspirated Ford-powered Corvette would have been enough, Sellars had to take things a step further. An F-3A-121 supercharger from ProCharger is bolted to the front of the SBF, along with a CDS gear drive from Chris Alston’s Chassisworks. Eric Gold built the charge pipe that feeds the boosted air into the engine, while NRC Motorsports fabricated the custom headers that expel the engine’s exhaust gasses. The team at LS Nasty worked with Ben Davis, who wired the car, to get the Holley Dominator ECU online and working properly, so tuner Ben Davis would have maximum control over the engine’s functions.
Ben Davis, who also drives the FordVette, has piloted the car to the best ET of 4.99 in the eighth-mile at 141 MPH. While that’s a respectable number, Sellars has bigger plans for his Ford-powered beast.
“The ultimate goal for this car is to run a 7-second elapsed time in the 1/4-mile. We’re going to race in some stock block events in the future since that’s where the car fits in. This winter we’re going to put a TKM Performance engine in the car and upgrade to a stronger transmission so we can run in the 4.40s or quicker next year,” Sellars says.
Sellars has enjoyed building the FordVette and he appreciates the people who have been with him each step of the way to get the car finished.
“Henry Johnson is the crew chief and co-owner of the car, he’s been instrumental in getting it done. Ben from Ben Davis Engineering has driven the car for us and takes care of the tuning. John Doc, Chris Howell, and all the guys at LS Nasty have been a big part of this build. Mike Rankin at Rankin’s Race Engines built us a really nice small-block for the car that makes plenty of steam. Bob and Jay from NRC Motorsports did a fantastic job on the chassis, and Eric Gold did some great fab work on the car, too,” Sellars states.
Mike Sellars isn’t worried about what other people think of the FordVette, he didn’t build the car for them. The car combines two things that Sellars loves: high amounts of Ford-based horsepower, and the looks of his dream car, the Chevrolet Corvette.