Car Feature: Sinister Vette

photos by: Scott Schwartz

Earning Respect for an Underdog C6

It seems these days, you need to have a C7 to earn any attention, or a highly-built C6 with horsepower levels well into the 4-digit realm to get any kind of praise from the masses. An LS2 C6? It’s almost irrelevant, what with only 400 hp as-delivered from the factory it’s been quite a while since those were numbers to be taken seriously.

However, there are plenty of these cars left out there and somebody has to own them.  Obviously bolt-ons like a cold-air induction kit and long-tube headers will only get you so far. So you can remedy your LS2 woes in a few ways; an engine swap, a stroker built…. or boost!

Jarod Whitaker is one such owner of these early C6 Corvettes, and although he admits that he has his earliest memories and automotive roots with SRT-branded Mopars, European tuner cars and exotics, he ultimately ended up with boosted LS2 power. As it turns out, this would end up being his third of a trio of C6s that he has gone through.

The first was another early C6, which he sold for the quest for more power, after a twin-turbo upgrade just couldn’t cut it. The second a supercharged C6Z, which he felt was too much car for the street, the roads course and largely for his driving abilities. He ultimately unloaded that one in trade, plus cash, for the car you’re looking at here.

With a cat-back exhaust and a more aggressive camshaft as the only real modifications, Jarod initially planned on leaving it well-enough alone, but that didn’t last very long. Looking to turn up the wick a bit, Jarod really wanted a car that he could enjoy driving on a day-to-day basis, take to the dragstrip on a Friday night or clip the corners at Mid-Ohio, or any other road course that he saw fit.

Looking to take his car to a shop that he could trust he teamed up with his friend, Jim Grey, who owns a performance shop in Dayton, Ohio called Quick Rev — which specializes in most late-model performance vehicles, including the LS variety.

Starting with the long-block, it’s all OEM General Motors! Stock crank, block, pistons, rods and mains. Even the stock compression ratio has been left alone at 10.5:1. The only modifications to the heads have been a modest trunnion upgrade.

OK, so at this point you’re probably wondering, what’s all of the fuss about? Bare with us, because an A&A/ProCharger F1-A blower quickly comes into the fold. Add in a 5-inch pulley and 11-psi. of boost, and things suddenly become rather interesting.

The idea, is to maximize the efforts of a stock bottom-end, stock displacement LS2 and meet all of Jarrod’s requirements. A F.A.S.T. intake manifold, K&N filter, a stock throttle body and MAF sensor round out the induction modifications.

Now the engine isn’t entirely stock, as we’ve previously stated; with a Brian Tooley Racing (BTR) boost-friendly camshaft sitting squarely in the center of the LS2 block. To break it down, it specs in with a 235/242 duration, .621/.592 lift and 111+3 lobe-separation angle.

The spent gases are disposed of through a pair of high-flowing long-tube headers from Kooks, a Corsa X-pipe and cat-back, coupled with 3-inch diameter tubing for an aggressive sound and efficient flowing characteristics.

With 650 hp and 600-lb ft of torque hitting the rear tires as the end goal, the fuel system would need to be upgraded substantially, and that meant a new pump and injectors had to go in. So Jarod and the crew at Quick Rev selected a set of eight Bosch 1000cc injectors, and 044 external pump went into the fold.

The ignition system has been left largely stock as well, with only MSD wires and NGK TR6 plugs being the only mentionable upgrades. The factory harness and ECU are in place, with only a software update and calibration, courtesy of our friends over at HP Tuners — with the crew at Quick Rev handling the clicking of the keyboard.

Clearly the stock clutch wouldn’t be able to handle the increase in power, torque and the planned abuse that would be thrown at it, so Jarod upgraded his with a McLeod RXT Twin-Disc clutch and flywheel. the T-56 that sits behind it is shifted with a MGW shifter.

The power is sent to the transaxle, which has been fortified by RPM Transmissions with a Level II ’06+ C6 upgrade and a 3.42 gear set. It provides a great balance between off-the-line-acceleration, top speed and the ability to quickly get back into the powerband via downshift and upshift during a jaunt on a road course.

Rather impressively and somewhat surprisingly, this particular Vette benefits from very little modifications in regards to suspension upgrades. Jarod only mentions a set of Bilstein coil-overs at all four corners as the sole suspension modification. We suppose you can chalk it up to Chevrolet’s impressive suspension calibrations from the OE.

In the braking department, it’s a different story. The OEM binders have hit the shop floor corner, and in their place went Wilwood Aeros; 6-pistion calipers up front, and 4-piston calipers in the rear. These are a substantial upgrade over the stock brakes, and they lend their capabilities to not only the curved corners on the track, and help bring the car to a halt in a hurry on the street.

They’re tucked away, almost completely out of sight, with the help of Weld Racing RT-s 5-spoke wheels. Michelin Pilot Sports ride up front, with Mickey Thompson ET SS rubber keeps the Vette glued to the pavement — they provide enough grip for the track but are equipped to handle the rigors of the street.

With all of the mechanical pieces of the  puzzle own place, the last place we have to turn our attention to is the aesthetics both inside and out.

What started out in life as your standard, everyday Silver C6 now lives with a Matte Charcoal wrap from 3M. The widened rear wheel arches isn’t an optical illusion, they have been widened with the help of Z06 wheel arches.

If you look closer, you could probably spot the ZR1 rear spoiler as well. Blacked-out taillights, side markers, tinted glass a Jake skull and other title touches found on the wrapped body add some personality to the C6 — and lends to its sinister appearance.

The red leather interior fits the exterior perfectly, and is pretty much standard-issue Corvette with the only modifications in the cockpit seeming to be a pair of AutoMeter gauges on the A-pillar; one for boost and another for air/fuel ratio. It’s subtle, but it provides Jarod with all of the information he needs from the engine, with the help of the factory cluster.

At this point, Jarod pretty much considers the car a finished product — with his friends constantly asking him when he’s going to unload it for something else (per his routine). The truth of the matter is, he has no plans to sell — for now. But who knows what the future will bring?

TECH SHEET:

  • CAR: 2005 Corvette Z51
  • OWNER: Jarod Whitaker
  • ENGINE BLOCK: GM, LS2 (364 cubic-inch)
  • CRANKSHAFT: GM, LS2
  • PISTONS: GM, LS2
  • CONNECTING RODS: GM, LS2
  • CAMSHAFT: BTR; 235/242 duration, .621/.592 lift, 111+3 LSA
  • CYLINDER HEAD: GM, LS2 (stock, with trunnion upgrade)
  • COMPRESSION RATIO: 10.5:1
  • INDUCTION: FAST 102mm intake manifold, stock throttle body, K&N filter, OEM MAF
  • POWER ADDER: ProCharger; F1-A, 5-inch pulley
  • INTERCOOLER: A&A
  • BOOST: 11-psi.
  • FUEL DELIVERY: Bosch 1000cc injectors and 044 external pump
  • IGNITION: Stock coils, distributor, MSD plug wires, NGK plugs
  • EXHAUST: Kooks long-tube headers, CORSA X-pipe and mufflers, with 3-inch diameter tubing
  • OILING: Stock
  • TUNING: HP Tuners; tuning by
  • TRANSMISSION: T-56, MGW shifter
  • CLUTCH: McLeod; RXT Twin-Disc
  • FLYWHEEL: McLeod; steel
  • DRIVESHAFT: Stock; aluminum
  • REAREND: RPM Transmissions; Level-II ’06+ conversion, 3.42 gears
  • SUSPENSION: Bilstein coil-overs, everything else OEM
  • BRAKES: Wilwood; Aero-6 (front), Aero-4 (rear)
  • WHEELS: Weld Racing; RT-S S71 (17×11, front), (18×10)
  • TIRES: Mickey Thompson ET SS (315/35/17, rear), Michelin Pilot Sports (265/40/18, front)
  • HP/TQ.: 650/600

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