VETTE readers already know that the Corvette is America's Favorite Sports Car, but we recently discovered one passionate Vette owner who's doing everything he can to turn his C6 Z06 into America's Fastest Sports Car.
"I fell in love with Corvettes when I was 7 years old," says Adam Brandt, a sales executive and part-time Vette tuner in Bethpage, New York. "My mom's boyfriend had a '77, and he used to give me rides in it. It instilled in me a lifelong passion for Chevrolet's flagship car."
Moving forward 16 years, Brandt purchased his first Vette, an '88 35th Anniversary coupe. Subsequent acquisitions included an '85 coupe, followed by onetime Corvette Chief Engineer Dave Hill's personal '00 Millennium Yellow convertible. Brandt eventually settled on a '97 coupe, which he boosted to 800-plus horsepower with an APS twin-turbo kit and a forged motor.
"I wanted to 'spool' my C5, but back in the early days of the LS horsepower wars, Lingenfelter's $50,000 twin-turbo conversion was the only option I knew of. Eventually, the APS twin-turbo kit entered the market at a fraction of the price; it was well engineered and added 300 hp to a stock LS1. I had a great experience with it and knew that I would go back to APS for another kit someday," he says.
In 2006, Brandt bought an '07 Z new from Kerbeck Corvette in Atlantic City. Like many new Corvette owners, his intention was to leave it stock, but he changed his mind quickly when found its 505hp LS7 was too docile for him. "The twin-turbo C5 was much more fun to drive," he explains.
Less than a year later, Brandt was given the opportunity to trade his low-mile, late-model Z for an Atomic Orange Z from the same model year. The enticement? The AO Z was already outfitted with an APS twin-turbo system. "The timing was perfect," he admits. "Choosing between boosted or stock was no contest. I agreed to the trade and have not looked back since."
The APS system-which features Garrett GT35R 35mm turbos, dual intercoolers, Tial 44 wastegates and blow off valves, and a 3-inch exhaust system-pushed Adam's newly acquired Z to more than 750 rwhp on 12 psi of boost. That was enough to whet his appetite, but not his imagination. After some much-needed safety, data-acquisition, and comfort upgrades to the cabin (specifically, a Brey-Krause harness bar, Crow five-point harnesses, an AeroForce Interceptor Gen II Scan Gauge, an Innovate Motorsports LC-1 wideband air/fuel ratio sensor controller, Auto Meter boost and fuel gauges, Dynamat sound deadening material, and an LG Motorsports shifter switch modified to provide a "scramble" boost feature), his first order of business was to retire the Corvette's rare factory paint color for something even more extraordinary.
"I know VETTE readers will think I'm crazy for changing an Atomic Orange Z to green, but I had a good reason," Brandt says. "I had my C5 painted a custom color called Tangelo Pearl, and it got so much attention that I quickly learned that color choice is everything. Atomic Orange received a lot of attention when it was first introduced in 2007, but then I started seeing it everywhere. I wanted something different . . . really different."
Sometime later, Brandt attended the New York Auto Show, though not with the intent of finding his Corvette a new color. "An '08 Snakeskin Green Viper caught my girlfriend's eye," he says. "She knew instinctively that it was the perfect color for my car. I told her no Corvette owner in his right mind would paint a one-year-old Atomic Orange Z a Dodge color, let alone a Dodge Viper color." Before he knew it, however, he had succumbed to her feminine logic. "I remember her words clearly: 'Your Z06 is not a normal Corvette, and the paintjob should reflect that.'"