Cleetus McFarland And 1320video Go Head To Head In Corvette Build

Things over at 1320video seem to be heating up with Kyle, the founder and owner of the popular YouTube channel, going head to head with Cleetus McFarland, our favorite purveyor of bald eagles, in a C5 Corvette build off for the ages.

You’ve probably already seen Cleetus’ C5 floating around because it is a bare-bones, stripped-down, rat-rod of a Corvette that he calls Leroy—since that was the original owner’s name, duh. The car was involved in an accident with only 60-something thousand miles on the clock and it was sent to auction where it was rescued because: “Do it for Dale”. Little did we know at the time, but Cleetus plans to put the Corvette head to head against Kyle’s recently acquired C5 Z06. 

Left: Kyle's "Unicorn" C5Z Right: Cleetus' Leroy

Kyle’s C5Z was also somewhat of an impulse buy. He bought the car, and named it the Unicorn, due to the car’s rare color combo. The exterior is Speed Way White, a color that the General only sold 352 examples of in 2001—the year the car was produced. Also, to add a cherry on top of everything, the interior is two-tone red and black which makes the car one of only 157 produced. Some of you Corvette aficionados out there might be dying that they are going to hack up such a cherry car, but Kyle really doesn’t care—he just wants to drive the wheels off of it.

Apparently, Kyle and Cleetus have some bad history, too. Back in the day, Kyle laid the smack down on Cleetus’ C7 in his C6 ZR1. And we’re not talking a close race either—we’re talking bus lengths. However, that was before Cleetus had his infamous C7 making north of 800 rwhp. Now, typically they would just schedule a rematch, but Kyle doesn’t want to mod the ZR1 more than it already is—and we don’t blame him. So he started looking for 1320video’s first project car and that’s when he came across the Unicorn and started planning.

The Plan

The plan for Kyle’s car is to use a twin turbo kit from our friends over at Huron Speed. We are just starting our own turbo project on our resident fourth-gen Camaro with a Huron Speed kit—so stay tuned for that. For the engine, Kyle turned to Thompson Motorsport for a fully forged 370 cubic inch bullet. The mill is topped by TMS-ported LS3 heads and should be capable of holding 1,100 horsepower.

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The Huron Speed kit is topped off by twin 64/68 Turbonetics turbos which should provide plenty of boost to the Thompson Motorsports mill. The Shop Inc.—the guys responsible for building the car—are looking to get 1,000 rwhp out of the ‘Vette. A FlexFuel system will also be used to allow the car to run E85 while an undetermined amount of nitrous, via Nitrous Outlet, will be used to both spool the turbos quickly and provide a little insurance should Cleetus get too close.

On the other hand, we still have no idea what tricks Cleetus has up his sleeve. No plans for Leroy have been announced just yet, but we do know Cleetus has admitted that it may not make as much power as Kyle’s C5. However, Cleetus has said that he thinks he has the advantage over Kyle based on driver skill alone. Whether that is true or not is to be foreseen, but beating a C5Z with over 1,000 rwhp is a tall order for anyone—even Leroy.

Update: Cleetus just dropped an update video asking for help deciding which direction Leroy should take. The options are: nitrous, supercharger, turbo(s), or twin charged. Again, we’re not sure how well the stock LS1 block is going to cope with all of this but we’ve seen a stock bottom end LS make over 1,000 rwhp–just ask the guys over at Sloppy Mechanics.

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Talking Smack

If you haven’t looked at the comment section of a YouTube page in a while, we wouldn’t recommend it. But in the case of 1320video vs. Cleetus McFarland the comments have been unusually savage. One user even went as far as to suggest Kyle rename his car from Unicorn to “Leroy’s bitch.” While we’re not sure where all of this unfounded hubris is coming from, we do know that there are a lot of vehement Cleetus fans out there pulling for Leroy.

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Leroy will most likely have the weight advantage, especially if Cleetus leaves it in its stripped down form. But, from everything we’ve seen, the Unicorn will undoubtedly be producing substantially more power.

Cleetus wants to keep things fair by only racing from a dig, which might level the playing field when you consider the C5Z will be able to shred tires at will. Both cars are equipped with manual transmissions, so it very well could come down to a driver’s race. But no matter how it goes down, we’re sure it will be exciting.

We reached out to Cleetus for more detail but he told us he can’t tell us much until the builds are done. However, he did say “[Kyle] is going to get dragggggged.”

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So who are you pulling for? Leroy the stripped down, second-life C5 or Unicorn, the immaculate, twin turbo C5Z. We don’t know how Cleetus is going to pull it off, but for some reason we find ourselves rooting for the underdog on this one. Godspeed Leroy.

About the author

Chase Christensen

Chase Christensen hails from Salt Lake City, and grew up around high-performance GM vehicles. He took possession of his very first F-body— an ’86 Trans Am— at the age of 13 and has been wrenching ever since.
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