It was only a couple weeks later that James began attending local club meetings, and in no time flat, he was busy personalizing his Corvette. "I always strive to make my car a little different," says James, "as I like to be a little different from other people." He began by applying a medium tint to the windows, and then bought a chrome-plated, billet aluminum exhaust plate etched with the Z06 emblem. Since the fixed antenna mast that came standard on the hardtop seemed to break up the lines of the car, James installed a GM factory electric antenna that the convertible C5s have. Next, James had his factory '01 forged Z06 rims chromed, lowered his Vette for an even more aggressive stance, and installed Altec mudguards (painted Millennium Yellow to match) to protect against stones being tossed back by the front tires. Speed bumps then posed a rather daunting challenge, but James didn't mind. He also added CORVETTE lettering to the rear fascia and front brake duct screens to complete the simple-yet-singular look of his Z06.
Inside the cockpit, James chucked the stock six-speed shifter in favor of a very tight Hurst short-throw. The Hurst shifter still felt too high and had too long a throw for James' taste-so he shortened the stick by an inch for an all-business feel. A yellow and black short shift boot and shift knob from Vette Essentials livened up the solid-black interior. This setup lead on to interior decals from CAU LLC, yellow leather door trim, yellow piping around the console, and a "minor upgrade to the stereo"-consisting of twin 10-inch 800-watt Sony subwoofers powered by a 1,200-watt Rockford Fosgate amp!
After driving the Z06 for a few months, "I slowly acclimated myself to the gobs of power available in my car in the stock condition." However, it only took five short months before he knew he needed even more power. After all, the '02 Z06s came from the factory with 20 additional horses over his "obsolete" '01...but no measly 20 hp would satisfy James! He began investigating various alternative power-adders, and after a year-and-a-half of researching the pros and cons of each, he finally decided that twin turbos were the way to go. "I wanted a twin-turbo system because it out-torqued all the other options, and it was cool to look at under the hood. I also wanted to be different from the general Corvette crowd that was predominantly installing superchargers." Thus, James linked up with the folks at Xtreme Motorsports (www.xmsengineering.com) in Tempe, Arizona, to install one of their first Xtreme/TTI (Turbo Technology) Stage 1 Twin-Turbo systems on his LS6.
In late August 2003, he drove the Z06 to Arizona to drop it off at the Xtreme shop for its conversion and hopped on a plane home. The Xtreme Stage 1 kit included custom T28 turbochargers capable of spooling up to 7 psi, along with ceramic-coated custom-cast iron manifolds, ceramic-coated T304 stainless-steel down pipes and intake ducting, HKS Super Sequential blow-off valves, and a pair of intercoolers that are wedged up into the nose behind the corner marker lamps where they can get fresh air from the grille openings. James' car has also been upgraded with an L.P.E. in-tank fuel pump, NKG TR6 spark plugs, and 42lb injectors. At the same time, he had Xtreme powdercoat the intake tubes yellow and install an Auto Meter A-pillar gauge pod with cobalt fuel and boost pressure gauges. "I flew back three weeks later to pick up my car, and it was a beautiful thing. I drove the car home the same day, testing out the massive amount of torque from time to time <[Ed. Note: We'd guess all 330 or so miles back to SoCal!]> and watching my mirrors for those reds and blues. It seemed like a whole new car!"