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2002 Chevy Corvette Z06 - The Alchemist

This Z06 Is Not What It Appears To Be

Kevin Shaw Aug 3, 2006
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Alchemy: the medieval practice of trying to change lead into gold. the theory of taking an object and transforming it by a series of mathematical and chemical experiments into something different survives to this day-Corvettes, for example. Some people are content with the compelling, factory Z06 performance package, while others aren't satisfied with stock and need to bump things up a bit. Then there are those like Scott Ramaglia, who are just plain crazy.

Scott has a long history of sports car ownership. He's been the proud proprietor of seven Corvettes (including a white '63 split window), two Porsches, and an anniversary edition '89 Lamborghini Countach. he's no stranger to high-performance street machines, but he nearly missed the boat with this Millennium Yellow Z06 about two years ago. The day he spotted it, he learned it had sold that very morning. Undaunted, Scott sought out the new owner to try to pry it out of his hands. In an amazing twist of good fortune, the new owner failed to comply with the No. 1 rule of car shopping-run it past the wife first. She said the car had to be gone by the end of the week, so Scott bought it on the spot.

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Modified by the original owner, the car sported some extras that made it all the more potent. With only 15,000 miles on the odometer, Scott made the Z06 his daily driver. Unfortunately, during a heavy rain storm, he drove the lowered Corvette through a puddle, and water was sucked into the intake, hydro-locking the LS2 in its tracks. A 16-inch hole was made in the side of the block, making a possible engine rebuild a lost cause. Drowning the engine was not uncommon that particular year, and Chevrolet had to deal with several dissatisfied customers, who quickly learned that GM's warranty didn't cover submersion.

After only two weeks of owning the yellow Z06, Scott managed to kill it. But with that "never say die" attitude, he sought out a powerplant for the coupe. A new LS6 crate engine was acquired and lowered into the car, and a new high-performance Exedy Hyper twin-disc clutch was mated to the transmission to handle the projected 750 horses. A highly polished Vortech Engineering supercharger kit bolted in flawlessly to the engine, sporting a matching finished intercooler. The stock Vortech kit came with a pulley system that allowed for six pounds of boost. Wanting to push the envelope even more, he used a new complete serpentine pulley system to bring it up to nine pounds of boost, resulting in a whopping 700 horses at the flywheel.

Scott wanted to equalize the playing field all the way around the Corvette, so the suspension was lowered at all four corners with crossdrilled discs and high-impact Brembo calipers. Long-tube stainless headers with a complete Borla Stinger exhaust system . . . well, almost complete, expel the gases. Having the luxury of living in Florida where smog emissions laws aren't nearly those of California, Scott opted to leave the mufflers off. He says it's reasonably quiet until he puts his foot into it.

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Since then, Scott admits driving the car isn't just wild, it's violent. Minor gremlins have reared their ugly heads, resulting in serpentine-belt readjustments and shimming. Yet, all in all, the car runs almost flawlessly at the drop of a hat or, better yet, foot. Scott hasn't officially tested the car on a sanctioned track or quarter-mile, but he's done some guerilla testing on the streets, lining up against a Lamborghini Murcielago, a Ferrari 360 Spider, and a twin-turbo Porsche. In every case, his Z06 stomped each one into the ground-there's nothing like a hot rod Corvette.



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