While the C5 is not an unattractive car in production-line mufti, it has been somewhat overshadowed by the sharper lines of its newer sibling. The C6 cuts a more athletic profile that makes the '97-'04 model appear a bit soft by comparison. Wanting an exterior appearance more in keeping with his car's newfound extreme performance, Dickie sought the assistance of Tampa's Red Finish for paint and body work. The car was originally Torch Red, with a single, owner-added black stripe from nose to tail, but it received a drastic makeover.
The final outcome is a vehicle not for the introverted. A complete Tiger Shark body kit was added, and the pop-up headlights were removed in favor of C5-R-style fixed units. The most notable characteristic of the car, however, is its brilliant orange hue. The dazzling effect is the product of tangerine-colored paint mixed with yellow and copper pearl. The wild look of the exterior was done with an eye for detail, right down to the body-color-painted brake calipers behind 18-inch, black-chrome C6 Z06 wheels.
While the outside of the car has been changed extensively, the interior remains simple and unadorned. So far the cockpit has only seen the conversion of its stock, red Z06 upholstery to standard C5 black and the addition of a Hurst shifter. Future plans call for the installation of a complete custom interior.
This car has been built to perform well at the track, but Dickie made its use as a daily driver his first priority. As such, the Vette maintains a poised, tranquil nature not present in many modified cars. "Most people who ride in the car would never know it had a 454 unless I meant to show them that it has a 454," he says.
The top-secret cam is described as being "pretty mild" to facilitate driving in all conditions. While the car can be a composed commuter, there's always a reservoir of performance to tap into when called upon. "I like to say it's civilized until it's no longer time to be civilized."
Dickie's passion for Corvettes runs deep and is a topic on which he enjoys expounding to the masses. He has also been a member of Z06Vette.com for six years and is one of its "Super Moderators." One of his main roles with the site is as the lead liaison and organizer for the NCM/Z06Vette.com Z06Fest held each year in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Dickie also leads an annual "blurry" road tour from Bowling Green to the Makers Mark distillery, which he cagily describes as "an aggressively driven road tour."
Mark Dickie regenerated his '01 Z06 with a spirit and character not found in an off-the-shelf Z. He has composed a brilliant car with an appearance that belies the 116,000 miles counted on its odometer. "A 600-plus-hp 454 is not something you see everyday, especially one as civilized as this one is." A high-performance daily driver wrapped up in show-car good looks is certainly something rare. Dickie has had a long, committed relationship with his Z that has endured, even when faced with temptation.