"My motivation to get a Corvette really picked up when I questioned Dick one day about the '02 Z06 that was being introduced," Fastuca says. "Prior to this conversation, anytime I asked him about a car, he would tell me about the massive pile of work that would be needed to make it fun to drive. But this dialogue was different. For the first time ever, it was a very short conversation.
"I asked him, `What will I need to add if I buy this Z06?' He replied in four words: `Gloves and a helmet.' That was it, and that's how Dick Guldstrand talked me into buying my first Z06."
Enter Jim Gessner, founder of Corvette Race Car Registry, who Guldstrand asked to source a car for the guitarist. "He found an '02 Z06 in New Hampshire," Fastuca says. "It was truckedto Los Angeles, where, within an hour, it was up on the rack. Guldstrand looked it over inch by inch, turned to me, smiled, and said, `I'm so proud of you. You waited until we found the right Corvette, and this one's perfect. There's not a scratch, and it has all GM has to offer in a purpose-built race car. Now, let's tear this thing down and do it right.'"
Over the course of the next four years, Guldstrand transformed Fastuca's Metallic Silver Z06 from stock to stellar. Let's look at the resulting car and see why it's so special.
Guldstrand began by treating the stock LS6 engine to a fire-breathing head/cam package consisting of AFR 205cc aluminum heads outfitted with 2.02/1.60 Ferrea valves, Yella Terra 1.8-ratio roller rockers, and an LG Motorsports G5X-3 camshaft producing 0.600/0.610-inch lift on a 112-degree LSA. To maximize incoming airflow, he ported the intake manifold, port-matched the throttle body to the intake, and installed a Halltech cold-air induction system with a Blackwing filter. Other mods include American Racing long-tube headers, ARH high-flow cats and cross-pipe exhaust system, B&B bullet mufflers, and Pfadt solid motor and tranny mounts.
RPM Transmissions of Daleville, Indiana, was called upon to strengthen the T56 manual trans. The company treated the gearbox to its Stage 3 package, including a modified 1-2 shift fork, along with billet synchronizer keys and bronze shift-fork pads for all forward gears. Likewise, RPM upgraded the Vette's rearend with a 3.90 gear and 300M heavy-duty output shafts.
Upon Guldstrand's orders, the suspension was reengineered with Pfadt "Phatty" 38/32mm (front/rear) competition sway bars, adjustable endlinks, 7075 aluminum arms, a poly sway-bar-bushing kit, sway-bar pillow locks, and a Z06 camber kit. The interior, meanwhile, was treated to a Pfadt four-point rollbar system. According to Guldstrand, he set up the chassis with one purpose: "I wanted it to handle like a C5-R."
Final engine tuning resulted in a dyno reading of 456 rwhp. "Scott Brown tunes all of Guldstrand's Corvettes, and NASCAR cars when he has time. He was the perfect person to tune the Corvette. Even GM counts on him to tune its cars," Fastuca says.
In 2008, Fastuca put the final part--a taillight blackout kit--on his Z and celebrated the car's completion. But fate and compassion would not allow him to enjoy it for very long. "Two days later, my tour manager and best friend Joe Acevedo came to my house, all depressed. He explained to me that his son Cody had decided not to play little-league baseball that season. Joe had coached Cody's teams for years--it was his bonding time with his son.
"Several days later, I was at his house and saw a set of C2 valve covers hanging on the wall. When I asked about them, he told me that when he was a kid, one of his father's friends showed up with a '63 split-window Corvette. `I was only as tall as the fenders,' he said, `but I fell in love with that car at first sight. I knew I would never be able to afford one, so now I just go to swap meets and buy Corvette parts to hang in the house.'"