Movin’ on Up … to the “Beast-Side”
2007 Z06 measures 825 rwhp and dips into the 9s
In the automotive hobby, we, as consumers, usually start at the bottom and work our way onward and upward, building from the ground floor and reaching for higher plateaus of value and performance as we move forward. For Corvette aficionado Chris Nardi, his climb up the rungs of the performance ladder was a steady and measured ascent over the last decade; taking advantage of deals that came his way, which would help enhance his own personal driving experiences over the years.
“I grew up going to car shows with my dad and grandfather, dreaming of one day owning a badass muscle ride to hit the street with,” says Chris. Though he loved muscle cars in general, his favorite through and through was undoubtedly the Chevy Corvette. “I instantly fell in love with the C6 Z06 after seeing and hearing a cammed-up example for the first time,” says Chris.
Over the years, young Chris went through several cars, moving his way toward his dream of putting a Z06 in his garage space. After driving a Shelby GT500 for a couple of revolutions around the sun, Chris finally got the break he was looking for. He located a lightly used Velocity Yellow 2007 Z06 at a small dealership out in Pennsylvania that was right in his price range. “It matched all my criteria, though I initially wanted an Atomic Orange car. This one was a great deal, and it was last owned by an older man who took great care of it and drove it sparingly,” says Chris.
Chris then made his pitch for ownership. After a little haggling, the Corvette was his for the taking. What he bought that day was a bone-stock model with less than 20K miles showing on the odometer. The Shelby was immediately sold off and Chris started a new life as a Corvette owner, moving another big step up in performance. “It was the car that I wanted all along, and finally I made one my own,” states the owner.
Though it was a low-mileage example, Chris knew this ride would not stay stock for long. “Once I was ready, the Corvette went over to Race Proven Motorsports in New Castle, Delaware,” says Chris. There, the car received the shop’s vaunted RPM head and cam package to help breathe more life into the potent engine. “After the modification, the Z06 hit the 10s in the quarter, and that’s naturally aspirated,” raves Chris.
But that was just the start of the mods that this LS7-powered Corvette would receive over the next months. Chris started picking up more pieces to solve his performance puzzle. First, an Atomic AirForce MSD intake manifold made its way up on top of the engine. American Racing headers with an off-road cross-pipe leading into a Corsa axle-back exhaust was next, the system installed to get rid of the spent gasses in style. To add a little bling and a racy feel to the Corvette, Chris installed Weld Racing S77 series wheels, with 17-inch beadlock rears, to handle the big meats.
Later on that year, during the holiday season, Chris made some more big moves; particularly in his love life. Just before Christmas, he popped the question to the love of his life, Nicole Davis. Giving her that beautiful engagement ring was a big moment for the couple, and something the twosome will certainly remember for the rest of their lives. However, since Chris splurged for that wearable symbol of their love, Nicole decided to give Chris a gift in return to show her affection for her man. So what do you get a Corvette aficionado who’s got almost everything? How about a complete supercharger kit from A&A Corvette? “I consider the ring for the supercharger an even swap,” says Chris. Yeah, she’s a keeper, Chris!
During the installation, Chris went ahead and made more upgrades. FIC 1,000cc injectors were added, along with a ProMeth methanol-injection kit. It’s run by an AEM Electronics meth controller, which helps push the power output onward and upward. An AEM failsafe gauge and fuel pressure gauge were added during the installation to help make the setup cohesive on all fronts. Lastly, a set of Katech valve covers and coil relocation kit were added to fit all the mods together without issue.
Once the kit was bolted on, the car really came to life. Fran Shatz at Race Proven did the final tuning on this beast, which brought the final numbers on this Corvette up to 825 rwhp on just 5.8 psi of boost. Those are pretty big numbers for a Corvette running on so little push. “It’s got plenty more in her if I want to keep going. But for now I’m pretty stoked with the results, “says Chris.
Chris continued to improve on the Corvette. A McLeod RXT twin-disc clutch was installed in the stock T-56 to help Chris run through the gears, shifting this beast with his new MGW short-shifter. After getting the performance parts down to where he wanted them, Chris then jumped to the exterior to style the Corvette the way he wanted it.
Up front, Chris installed a carbon-fiber ZR1 front lip and side skirts, and extended ZR1 rear spoiler in carbon-fiber to get the look he wanted. Eagle Eye taillights were added next, along with black housing headlights up front. Black Z06 badges were installed for that “under the radar” look and the roof was wrapped in carbon fiber as well. Inside, a carbon-fiber console made for a 2008 Z06 was added to house his new shifter.
After this boatload of mods, of course the big question is, what about the driveability? “It handles just like a new car, and drives just like a stock Z06. Well, that’s until you lay into it. It’s just a beast out on the road,” says Chris. Of course, future plans will lead him to the track. “I haven’t had a chance to get it out there with the blower setup installed, but obviously this thing will dip into the 9s, or even lower. Time will tell,” says Chris. Special thanks go out not only to fiancée Nicole, but also to good friend Mark Alfano for all his help installing some of the mods on his Z06. One last big shout-out goes to mom, Deanna Nardi, from Chris, “for always supporting me and my hobby.” Vette