As any parent will attest, there's no denying the influence of your children, something Jonathan Oxford found out in the best way possible. Oxford is a hard-core car enthusiast who's owned numerous Camaros and other Chevys, but he eventually decided it was time to add a Corvette to the stable. He ran across an '02 Z06 on the Internet and cooked up a trade involving one of his late-model Camaros. The seller was interested enough to trailer the Vette down from Albany, Kentucky, to Oxford's home in Cleveland, Tennessee, so the two could strike up a deal.
As the gentleman pulled up outside, Oxford was headed out to take a look when his 2-year-old son, Brett, said, "Silver Corvette on trailer-I love it. Take it off trailer, Daddy." As you can see, Oxford didn't disappoint his eldest son: the Vette rolled off the trailer, and the trade took place. Though still years away from driving age, Brett had helped his dad make a big decision-and we suspect his little brother, Caleb, would've backed him up if he were old enough to talk. Oxford's two sons seem destined to be car guys, and Brett is already on the right track.
When Jonathan had the chance to really look over the Z06, he was pleased with the car, but he had a few upgrades in mind. The Vette had already been lowered on stock bolts, so the ride height was just right for everyday driving, and the previous owner had upgraded to drilled-and-slotted brake rotors up front. While the Vette currently runs a pair of Michelin Pilot Sport 295/35ZR18 tires in the rear, Oxford plans to add Mickey Thompson drag radials to improve traction (you'll understand why in a moment), while keeping things legal for the street.
Along with the Michelin rubber, Oxford's Corvette now rolls on a set of HRE 540 wheels, which measure 17x9.5 inches up front and 18x11 inches out back. The mesh design offers a race-ready feel, while the staggered sizes make for a wicked stance.
As for gearing, the Z06 packs the stock ring and pinion, which feature a 3.42:1 ratio. Moving forward, you'll find an LS7 clutch and flywheel, which offer a significant durability upgrade over the stock units, along with the original T-56 six-speed manual.
Rated at 405 hp from the factory, the 346ci LS6 engine generates few performance-related complaints in stock form, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement. Oxford wanted a quick boost in horsepower, and a supercharger was the most affordable and straightforward choice. He installed the polished Magnacharger unit at home, with Brett by his side. As his dad turned the wrenches, Brett wanted to know more about the big shiny contraption under the hood. His mother Emily gave him the short version: "It will make the car go faster!" So now, whenever Oxford opens the hood to his Corvette, Brett says, "Whoa, supercharger makes it go faster!" How cool is that?
Aside from the blower, Oxford's Corvette features mild engine modifications, including a Walbro 255 fuel pump and Kenne-Bell Boost-A-Pump, along with a Borla Stinger exhaust system and X-crossover pipe. The fuel-system upgrades keep the boosted engine supplied with ample amounts of 93-octane, while the exhaust is there to improve power and unleash a killer sound. After installing the supercharger and other goodies, Oxford took the Z06 to Scott Bowen at In-Tune Motorsports in Charleston, Tennessee, to have it tuned.
In-Tune's Mustang chassis dynamometer is affectionately known as "the heartbreaker" among local car enthusiasts, since it typically yields lower readings than the (different brand) dynos at other nearby shops. Conservative readings aside, the Mustang unit is very consistent, and Bowen is a firm believer in uniformity when it comes to dialing in timing and fuel delivery. When the rollers came to a halt, the dyno graphs revealed 440 hp and just over 400 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels, which means Oxford's car is making well over 500 horses at the crankshaft. The beauty of all this comes when Oxford hits the highway and gets 28 mpg from a car that could likely outpace a C6 Z06.
Oxford didn't diverge much from the Corvette's original looks, but a Lingenfelter hood was required to clear the supercharger. The car still wears its original Quicksilver paint, so the folks at Cleveland Collision Center had little trouble matching it. Inside, the factory red seat inserts certainly wake up the presentation, while Lloyds Z06 floor and deck mats add a dose of aftermarket style.
As for performance modifications, you'll find a Hurst Billet Plus shifter poking through the console, while a Stewart Warner boost gauge rides in the A-pillar pod to keep Oxford apprised of the goings-on with his engine's power adder.
Oxford drives the '02 Z06 on a regular basis but plans to take it apart sometime in the future. Plans call for a forged rotating assembly, a larger camshaft, and moderate head porting to help the LS6 breathe a little easier. With these modifications, he'll be able to swap supercharger pulleys to increase the boost, which is sure to generate an enormous gain in output. Either way, he has a great-looking car and every intention of making it better. His sons couldn't care less about track times, or horsepower and torque numbers. All they know is their dad is one cool dude-and his supercharged Corvette makes him even cooler.
Owner: Jonathan Oxford
Block: Stock LS6 aluminum
Displacement: 346 ci
Compression ratio: 10.5:1
Heads: Stock aluminum
Valves: Stock 2.00/1.55
Camshaft: Stock hydraulic roller (0.550/0.550-in lift, 204/218-deg duration, 117.5-deg LSA)
Rocker arms: Stock 1.7 ratio
Pistons: Stock hypereutectic
Crankshaft: Stock nodular iron
Rods: Stock powdered metal
Intake manifold: Polished Magnacharger supercharger
Fuel pump: Walbro 255, Kenne-Bell Boost-A-Pump
Ignition: Stock coil-on-plug
Exhaust system: 3-in Borla Stinger exhaust with X-crossover pipe
Transmission: T-56 six-speed
Front suspension: Lowered stock
Rear suspension: Lowered stock
Rearend: Stock with 3.42 gears
Front brakes: Stock with drilled and slotted rotors
Rear brakes: Stock
Wheels: HRE 540; 17x9.5 (front), 18x11 (rear)
Front tires: Goodyear F1, 245/45ZR17
Rear tires: Michelin Pilot Sport, 295/35ZR18
Fuel octane: 93
Weight: 3,085 lbs.