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Graduated from Working Underneath Corvettes to Owning One!

Mark Bockwich

April 1, 1998. This was the first day of my employment at Corsa Performance. I worked second shift back then. The company was, and still is, big into the boat exhaust business. The owner at the time, Jim Browning Sr., picked up a red 1997 C5 and began production of oval clamp on tips to fill the void that was left on the factory mufflers. I spent many nights producing tip after tip after tip. The total quantity has to be a couple thousand. Muffler kits were prototyped, thanks to assistance from Jim's contacts at NASA and Lingenfelter. I assume most original C5 owners know the story from here.....The first mufflers produced were installed on the Indy Pace car that year and the flood gates opened. "Corsa Indy's" was the name unofficially adopted by owners in the Corvette scene.

Back in 1998, there was another Corvette influence, right down the street from my work. Mallett Cars was literally located ten or so buildings down the industrial parkway.

Put yourself in my shoes, I was 19 years old, just graduated high school, I was very interested in all things automotive related and was working for a manufacturer of high performance exhaust components. At work, I was watching brand new C5's come in for exhaust, some with 30-day tags on still. Now throw in the fact that I have to stare out of the shop's open garage doors in the summer, watching Chuck & Lance Mallett doing "product testing" on some of the most impressive Corvette kits ever made by a tuner. By the way, thank you fellas.

Fast-forward a few years to 2001. This was my first trip out to Mid America Motorworks for Funfest. This was also my first chance to get some decent seat time in a C5 as I had an eight-hour drive from Ohio to Effingham. I was blown away at what Mike Yager & his team created. The grounds, the museum and the facilities were all truly amazing. I continued to attend Funfest, as an installer for Corsa, for ten or eleven consecutive years. If you have had a Corsa system installed at Funfest, I was most likely the guy who did it. Through the years, I was introduced to and developed relationships with Kenny, Michael and Blake Yager, as well as many other MidAmerica employees. Having the opportunity to meet with other vendors and manufacturers at Funfest was also very rewarding. The Borla and B&B guys are great. Even though they are competitors of Corsa, we all get along at the end of the day. Underneath it all, we are car guys, we get it.

An opportunity came to me around 2005 to purchase a Corvette. I figured I had spent way too much time under these cars & needed to start spending time IN one. I wanted a C5 with a removable targa top. Many hours were spent on trying to find a diamond in the rough. I came across a black 2001 ZO6 with 11,000 miles located in Rhode Island. I no longer desired a removable top.  Instead, I decided that a Z06 was what I needed (thank you Michael & your yellow Z). I bought a one-way plane ticket, flew out solo, bought it, and could not get home fast enough. I think I had two feet on the gas pedal at one point, trying to get it home as fast as possible. I had a blast with that ZO6. Blacking intake (thanks Kevin @ SLP), Kooks long tube headers (thanks George & Chris), B&M shifter (thanks Mid America Motorworks), dyno tune from Backstreet Performance (thanks Eric & Rich) and Corsa exhaust (duh). All of these made for a wonderful driving experience. I even got to drive it to Funfest a few times. Let me tell you, what a cool feeling that was, after all those years, finally having my own Corvette at Funfest. Thank you again, Mr. Yager, and your "cheerleaders", for giving enthusiasts a beautiful venue to show love for all things Corvette. We truly appreciate everything you do for the Corvette community!!!

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