2001 Chevy Corvette Z06 - The Copper Head

A One-Off Z06 With Plenty Of Venom

Bob Wallace Feb 1, 2002 0 Comment(s)
Vemp_0202_01_z 2001_chevy_corvette_z06 Custom_aftermarket_rims 1/8

Agkistrodon mokasen, more commonly called "copperhead," is a venomous snake from the same genus as the water moccasin and pit viper, and is a cousin of sorts to the rattlesnake. It, the copperhead, is not overtly aggressive but attacks when disturbed or cornered.

In many respects, that sounds like an apt description of Tim O'Bryan's '01 Z06. But, Chevrolet has never built a copper-hued C5 of any sort, let alone a Z06! (There was a gold hue, the infamously unpopular Aztec Gold, which appeared on a whopping 15 '98 models before sinking into oblivion.) And there's alot more to this wild ride than its custom coloration.

Right from the factory, a Z06 is a deliciously well-balanced, fast and phenomenal handling car, but there's always room for a few added tweaks. That's what The General did with the '02 models to gain an extra 20 horses over the '01's respectable 385. (We wanna see a 7 liter LS6 with around 475hp!) Of course, you gotta have a Z06 first if you want to play.

O'Bryan, a 21-year-old resident of Oak Park, California, was torn between a Viper or a Z06, and ended up making the correct choice for a couple of really good reasons: his late father was "a Corvette nut" and "a Corvette has more value to it." Once the decision was made, Tim started shopping, and found a pristine, 6,000-mile Millenium Yellow '01 through a SoCal Corvette tuner called LAPD (L.A. Performance Division). That was April 2001.

Vemp_0202_02_z 2001_chevy_corvette_z06 Performance_engine_tuning 2/8

A few minor tweaks and the mighty LS6 now makes an estimated 440 Viper-annihilating horses.

Initially, Tim intended to leave the car in factory form. "My friends and family said, 'Yeah, right. You can't leave anything stock.' So, here we are, just a few months later and the original owner would probably *&%# if he saw it now." We're not going to guess at the original owner's reaction, but Tim's friends and family were certainly right about his leaving stuff stock.

It started innocently enough with Tim having Shawn Massoudi and the crew at LAPD install bolt-ons like a Halltech titanium air inlet, modified throttle body and mass airflow sensor, TTS Power Loader II program for the ECM, a Magnaflow "X" pipe and Corsa cat-backs. As anyone who has experience with one can attest to, the Gen III engines (the LS1 and LS6), while already exceptionally stout performers, respond surprisingly well to minor airflow enhancements, a fact that O'Bryan quickly discovered. "As I dove deeper into the car I fell in love with the performance it was capable of, so why stop."

As is obvious, Tim didn't-or couldn't-stop there. The nearly new Z06's front and rear stabilizer bars were replaced by heftier units from Hotchkis, and he had LAPD substitute a set of Bilstein shock absorbers for the Z06's special FE4 shocks. Speaking of stopping, Tim also had a set of Baer's Eradi-Speed rotors and Hawk brake pads fitted in place. Linking the modified chassis to the tarmac, and giving the Z06 a more ominous attitude, is a set of Mallett 396 wheels, sizes 18x9.5 (front) and 18x11.5 (rear), powder-coated black and wrapped in 265/35 and 295/35 Michelin Pilot Sports.

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We're dealing here with an individual for whom too much is not enough, and wretched excess is barely adequate-a state of mind that yours truly can and does relate to. For O'Bryan, that meant having the just-a-few-months-old, Millenium Yellow Z06 repainted-after adding Breathless Performance's non-popup (C5-R-style) headlight conversion, PIAA driving lights, red and clear "export" taillights, plus LAPD's clear rear sidemarker lights and clear lens backing light panel. Jason Pecikonis, at a shop called Paintin Place in Thousand Oaks, California, got the nod to squirt the new tones on the Z06. Tim selected a '00 Mazda color called Canyon Copper Metallic, then Jason and the gang at Paintin Place squirted all the panels individually, off of the car. For a C5-R racer look, Tim had the tail end of the rear valance painted matte black.

While the car was being reassembled in its new copper coat, Tim made a few select upgrades inside, installing an Auto Meter shift light, B&M Ripper short-throw shifter, and a take-no-prisoners stereo system comprised of a Panasonic 9000 N head unit, PPI amps, plus Boston and Kicker speakers.

As we write this, O'Bryan's Z06 has been together for all of about three months, and it appears as though he's ready to stop and savor the pleasures of this distinctive C5. Now, that's not to say that he's gone soft on us. "This car meets my every expectation, but a set of twin turbos would be nice. You gotta have power. There's nothing like the shock value of blowing someone out of the water who doesn't expect it."

Vemp_0202_07_z 2001_chevy_corvette_z06 Amp_sub_woofer 7/8

Look into the trunk area and you can see the amplifier and Kicker sub-woofer, more of the audio system installed by Al & Ed's in Thousand Oaks.

A local, and mercifully anonymous, Viper owner can attest to that. "I got into a race on a local freeway with a Viper GTS and absolutely walked away from it. We both got off at the same offramp, and the guy in the Viper hollered over to me, 'Pretty good for a Chevy.' He definitely didn't expect it!"

Kind of appropriate...a venomous Corvette, a Copperhead, putting the bite on a Viper.

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