We sometimes wonder just how much impact VETTE magazine has on people's lives. After all, we're hardly in the same league as, say, Jonas Salk or Louis Pasteur. Nor do we claim to reach out to the millions of Modern Maturity readers. But we do seem to have a loyal group of enthusiasts who are young at heart, and who pick up an occasional pointer from our pages.
Take nervis cook, for example. Cook has been reading VETTE for seven years now, and was bitten by the Corvette bug when some friends let him drive their C5. Trouble is, he has a thing for convertibles, and the Z06 he sought just isn't available in a topless configuration. Then he came across a Z06-style body conversion in VETTE, and he decided to follow suit-sort of.
Cook already owned a juiced-and-blown '90 Corvette, dressed in a custom body kit and dubbed a "poor man's ZR-1." So he's hardly averse to toying with a new toy. He sought out Kevin Woodruff of SLP Performance Parts for some suggestions on how to make an even more personal statement with his 2006 Chevy Corvette C6. Woodruff has a distinct memory of their first encounters:
"I met Nervis a couple years ago at different Corvette events we both attended, from Mid America to Carlisle, and we hit it off," he relates. "He initially wanted a hood to complement his new appearance upgrades to set his Corvette apart from the pack." Then Cook admitted what he really wanted: performance upgrades to go along with the Corvette's now tough image, along with driveability and reliability.
Oh, and one more thing: "He wanted the old-school feel of a 'rumpity-rump' vehicle, as he had in his earlier hot-rodding days."
That's when Woodruff went into high gear, revving up some plans for a packagethat would bring back the good ol' days. He recommended SLP's long-tube headers, high-flow cats, X-style crossover pipe, and exhaust system to provide Cook with the sound he so desired, along with the company's Blackwing Cold-Air Induction system to handle the breathing end. Rounding out the "rumpity-rump" is an SLP camshaft (intake: 0.591-inch lift, 224-degree duration at 0.050; exhaust: 0.600-inch lift, 228-degree duration at 0.050). Other valvetrain mods included chrome-moly pushrods, titanium retainers, and keepers to work in conjunction with the high-lift springs.
While the valve covers claim it's an LS7, that's a bit of embellishment, as it's still a 6.0-liter LS2. Even so, all of the SLP components work together to produce a significant step-up in power and performance. The functional heat-extractor hood is made from an RTM laminate rather than fiberglass, and it features both air vents and water drains. The Blackwing kit uses a low-restriction filter media that pulls air from a full 360-degree radius, and it even has a color indicator to show when it's due to be cleaned and recharged. The four-into-one headers-ceramic coated and measuring 1 3/4 inches at the primaries-feed a pressure-balancing crossover pipe for quicker scavenging, and the certified cats have better-than-stock flow thanks to their reconfigured internal bricks.
To ensure compatibility with the hotter cam specs, SLP worked closely with DiabloSport on custom ECM tuning, wisely choosing to optimize the overall powerband for balanced driveability, not just peak horsepower. All told, the engine now breaks the 500hp mark at the crank, with 470 lb-ft of torque on tap. That's plenty enough beans to bring back the past . . . and then some.
Of course, given the outrageous look and performance of his other ride, Cook wasn't nervous about doing even more. Taking a tip from that article mentioned at the outset, he swapped out the factory panels for Z06 front and rear fenders and fascias. He also bolted on SLP's wing and spoiler, with some help from Steve Smarr. Reed and Chandler Robbins at East Coast Refinishing and Fiberglass in Manassas, Virginia, sprayed on several coats of jet-black hues and airbrushed a 427 logo on the hood.
As already noted, Cook had also personally installed a number of interior enhancements, such as custom LED lights, painted instrument bezels and center console, and a Hurst short-shifter that falls right at hand. Other gleaming touches include chromed doorsill inserts with Z06 logos and various polished parts under the hood. Cook seems to have a thing for shiny objects, since he also added custom-made HID reverse lights and driving lights, along with LED taillights.
Once everything came together, it really brightened Cook's day, Woodruff recalls. "The moment I pulled it out of our shop, the expression on his face was priceless," he says. "He looked like a teenager all over again, with a smile he still gets every time he starts up and drives his baby. That's when you know all the hard work and time spent with your customer is well worth the effort."
Cook says his enhanced C6 quickly draws a crowd when he rolls into town, "like bees to honey." Some of those buzzing around are Z06 owners who can't believe it's not a factory package. "I just tell them it's one of three," he says with a mischievous grin. "And I don't know where the other two are."
If somebody out there in readerland does, you know where to find us.