• Aug 26th 2010 at 5:31PM
  • 38
Todd Schnitt with his Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 – Click above for high-res image gallery

In what may be the ultimate experience for the ultimate Chevrolet Corvette fan, General Motors is allowing buyers of the ultimate versions of its sportscars the opportunity to build their own engines. It's... ultimate, and it's called the Corvette Engine Build Experience. The first person to take The General up on its offer is Tampa, Florida-based radio talk show host Todd Schnitt.

Total cost for the experience rings in at $5,800 (plus travel to Detroit), but Schnitt doesn't seem to mind shelling out a few extra greenbacks: "To build my own engine is over the top," said Schnitt. "When my dealer told me about the option, it was like 'Of course, I'll do it, sign me up!'. I can't wait to get there and build my own LS9. It will be the ultimate personalization for my car. I'm anticipating it being one of the coolest things I've done in my life."

Reading between the lines a little bit, it's obvious that Schnitt is something of a GM super fan. This is the third ZR1 he's purchased in as many years, and he bought a Z06 in '07. He's also attended GM's high performance driving school and traveled to the National Corvette Museum to pick up a previous 'Vette. Oh, and his daily driver is a 2010 Cadillac CTS-V.

Feel free to click on past the break for all the details and a video of the process, and be sure to check out our high-res image gallery below to see what it takes to screw together a supercharged LS9 engine from GM.

  • LS7 2006 7.0L V-8 (LS7) for Chevrolet Corvette Z06. X06PT_8C016
  • 2009 LS9 6.2L V-8 SC (LS9) for Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 - Component Exploded View
  • GM Powertrain Performance Build Center. X04CO_FT012

[Source: General Motors]

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Talk Show Host to be First Corvette Engine Builder
Todd Schnitt ready for 'over the top' experience on Aug. 30

DETROIT – Todd Schnitt's fifth Corvette will be unlike any he has had before because he will personally help build the 638-horsepower supercharged small block engine for his ZR1 supercar at the General Motors Performance Build Center.

Schnitt, host of a Tampa-based syndicated radio show, purchased the recently announced optional Corvette Engine Build Experience. He will be on the line at the PBC in Wixom, Mich., on Monday, Aug. 30.

As part of the Corvette Engine Build Experience ordering option, a special Chevrolet concierge is coordinating all arrangements with Schnitt. After the build is completed Monday, the engine will be tracked and sent to the Corvette assembly plant in Bowling Green, Ky., where Schnitt's ZR1 will be assembled with his engine shortly thereafter.

"To build my own engine is over the top," said Schnitt. "When my dealer told me about the option it was like 'Of course, I'll do it, sign me up!'. I can't wait to get there and build my own LS9. It will be the ultimate personalization for my car. I'm anticipating it being one of the coolest things I've done in my life. It definitely makes my 'bucket-list.'"

Schnitt, 44, is the long-time Tampa-based host of the MJ Morning Show and the nationally syndicated Schnitt Show, heard nationally in 31 cities and carried on XM Channel 152.

Skilled technicians at the PBC individually hand build each Corvette Z06 LS7 7.0L engine, Corvette ZR1 6.2L supercharged LS9 engine and a variation of the Corvette Grand Sport's LS3 6.2L engine. The PBC incorporates the best practices of low-volume niche manufacturers and the established quality and manufacturing standards at GM to ensure the highest-quality specialized engines. Schnitt will be closely guided and coached by one of these technicians. His engine will still be covered by GM's five-year / 100,000 mile warranty.

In addition to building their own engines, Corvette buyers can attend driving school in Arizona or Nevada, take delivery of their vehicles at the National Corvette Museum or watch their vehicles being built at the Corvette assembly plant in Bowling Green. Schnitt attended the driving school in conjunction with his 2009 ZR1 purchase and took museum delivery of his 2007 Z06.

Schnitt has been a car fan all his life; one of his earliest memories is having a Corvette Matchbox as a child. He even practiced driving behind the wheel of a classic Corvette as part of his preparation to obtain his driver's license.

The popular host's current daily driver is a 2010 Cadillac CTS-V with a 556-horsepower supercharged small block engine and 6-speed manual transmission. Of the CTS-V, Schnitt says "applause goes out to the GM engineers; the products these days don't leave me wanting for anything."

Schnitt's current order is for a cyber grey 2011 ZR1, the same as his last two ZR1s. The Corvette Engine Build Experience time lapse video is an example what of Schnitt's engine build experience will be like.

About Chevrolet

Chevrolet is a global automotive brand, with annual sales of about 3.5 million vehicles in more than 130 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. In the U.S., the Chevrolet portfolio includes: iconic performance cars, such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long lasting pickups and SUVs, such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers, such as Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers "gas-friendly" solutions, such as the upcoming 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco model that is expected to deliver up to an estimated 40 mpg highway, and 2011 Chevrolet Volt that will offer up to 40 miles of electric driving and an additional 300 miles of extended range with the onboard generator (based on GM testing). Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security, and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response, and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models, fuel solutions, and OnStar availability can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wish I could have, had mine located, doubt I can find the time to fly and take the free driving lessons either, sucks.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It is just making me sick how rich people can look at the news and see the suffering that poor people endure every day to support their frivolous lifestyles. For $5,800.00 he gets to pick one from column A and one from column B for his very expensive car. That money would erase a considerable amount of the debt that keeps me and my wife out of health insurance, a decent bed, and maybe one visit this year to a cheap restaurant. We have to borrow money each month just to make the rent on our 1971 mobile home. We have no money to buy the needed medicine. She has copd and depression, and I have diabetes and high blood pressure. Recently, I lost a $40K life insurance policy because of a clerk that works in my office, so I won't be able to provide for my wife if I pass on and she'll be on the street almost immediately. My parents left nothing and my brother ripped off the life insurance money. He died young, remember that all ye who try to disinherit illegally. Until the tax breaks are taken from the rich, we will all suffer under unfair taxation. Keep in mind that if all the large corporations were to pay the same percentage of tax that we middle Americans do, our country's national debt would be paid off in a matter of a few, short months. Vote no on legal pot.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I like the Corvette, just not "Corvette guy".
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Unfortunately Mr. Schnitt, since your engine has been worked on by a non-GM certified person we are unable to honor your warranty claim at this time."

      (In all honesty, this is a really cool program. I'd love to have had that opportunity with my car.)
      • 5 Years Ago
      I want to be his friend
      • 5 Years Ago
      Not long ago, I remember seeing a show on TV where the host got to go to the plant and do the same thing. I wonder if that spawned this program for owners.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Checked out the video. That is amazing. I wouldn't mind building a car engine myself.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It seems like black magic, building an engine, but it's actually kind of simple if you've got the information in front of you. I've only built one motor up from nothing (VW AAA VR6) and there are some oddities from motor to motor, but internal combustion engines almost all work exactly the same.

        Now, wiring and programming everything to work properly... that IS black magic.

        Actually, it doesn't matter what you're doing on a car, it'll eventually require blood sacrifice.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's totally bad ass.

      I could see how some people would scoff at the price, but then again, if someone can afford this car, an extra $6k is absolutely nothing. If I had the money, I'd be all over it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Welcome to wonderful world of liabity insurance, which Im fairly positive is quite expensive insurance wise for GM to have a non-trained people around all that machinery . Im sure insurance has at least something to do with the high cost . Also , its a luxury, to which alot of people will gladly pay, so why not . Kudos to GM for offering a creative way to be involved with the building process . Then after the engine is built , you can can also go to the factory and watch your car go down the assembly line . I wonder if they'd let you sneak a lumpier cam , smaller pulley and a set of longtubes in the engine build room , lol .
      • 5 Years Ago
      That is the classic corvette driver, past middle age and potatoe shaped.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Still doesn't detract from the fact that he loves Corvettes. Kudos to the guy.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I am jealous of him, but he is quite potato shapped.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I know. No one likes old people, right? You wouldn't be caught dead old, would you? What's your strategy for avoiding ending up in this situation?
        • 5 Years Ago
        So satan is capable of having anything he wants in this world, but he's jealous of a guy in a corvette?
        Well, the Corvetter is the most badass car ever, I don't blame him ^_^
        • 5 Years Ago
        Like they say on the internet...

        "Haters gon' hate."
        • 5 Years Ago
        What is a "potatoe"?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow, and here I thought radio personalities were always underpaid. At least, that's what they say.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hmm, I guess I'd better start working on my radio voice then.
        • 5 Years Ago
        was just an example, what if he drops something and scratches. dents damages....hell, id be nervous as well....
        • 5 Years Ago
        hopefully he doesnt screw anything up...imagine if he stripped/ crossthreaded something important...i guess theres some liability form somewhere, but really this is super cool....
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm glad for the guy - it's cool to get onto the factory floor and satisfying to wrench on something. Way better than a basic factory tour!
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