Just as each generation of “America’s Only True Sports Car” has been a tribute to those who designed, engineered, and otherwise made it happen, this C6 is also a tribute. Not only to the Corvette team that created it, but to the mother of one Brooklyn-born Corvette enthusiast.
Jimmy McQuade bought this Vette new in July 2007, and he had ideas for upgrading it from the first day of ownership. “I’ve been around custom cars for years,” he says, “and I’ve always loved chrome.”
He started with the engine bay, already home to a distinctive piece of Corvette history: the new-in-’05 LS2. Its coil covers received a unique color scheme, thanks to Auto Buffs in Southampton, New Jersey. “It was kind of hard to come up with a color, because the car was white,” McQuade recalls. “[Auto Buffs’] Noel was going to do the checkerboards, but he couldn’t do the whole thing that way because of the color: It would kind of get lost.”
“They ask me what it takes to do a car like this, and I say that it’s a passion…a labor of love where you just keep going” —Jimmy McQuade
They came up with the blue scheme at the rear of the engine bay, not only to break up the checkered motif, but because, says McQuade, “everybody else does red.” He adds, “I said, ‘Let’s try it with blue. Let’s try some subtle color, and go a little bit different at that point.’” Along with the painted-on color, McQuade added plenty of chrome accents (from Creative Engine Covers in Midlothian, Virginia, and American Car Craft in Hudson, Florida), which he installed himself.
Each corner of the C6 was brightened, thanks to seven-spoke GM Accessory wheels that were a bolt-on swap for the originals, plus other brightwork. “Something completely different was to make the chrome brake brackets, the stainless-steel pad covers…and the rings to go around the rotors,” says McQuade. “I did these just to be a little bit different than everybody else, and to bring a little bit more attention to certain things.”
For the cabin, McQuade brought the C6’s exterior color inside. “I just love the black and the white,” he says, “so I wanted to go with that, because the car’s interior was black from the factory.” That treatment was accomplished thanks to DS Vettes (steering wheel), Pat Scorzetti at American Hydrocarbon (seats, door panels, carbon-fiber accents, and the between-seats “waterfall”), and TKO Performance (gauges).
All along, McQuade’s mother, Frances, helped him with the installations and gave him inspiration. Although she passed away in 2010, a picture she owned inspired McQuade to create the ’07’s most distinctive feature: its underhood mural.
“We were always looking for something to do under the hood, something different that nobody’s really ever seen,” he says. “Everybody likes to put superheroes or race cars under their hood.” Instead, McQuade used that picture of historic Coney Island as the basis for the mural, and had Steve Ray at Airbrush, Inc., draw it on. “I said, ‘Wow, Brooklyn…let me go with this,’ and that’s how that came about.”
The result is a customized Corvette whose details have wowed show-goers to the tune of an incredible 42 First Place trophies and eight Best in Shows—so far. “This year, I’ve been having a pretty good season,” McQuade says of his 2012 show successes. “I won Best of Show at the Raceway Park Corvette Show and Go. I also went to the LICOA [Long Island Corvette Owners Association] show, and it took Best of Show there.”
And that show-field attention isn’t limited to the judges. “A lot of people can’t believe how clean the car is,” says McQuade. “They ask me what it takes to do a car like this, and I say that it’s a passion…a labor of love where you just keep going.”
Along with having that passion, McQuade says there’s one thing else you need to be if you’re customizing a Corvette, no matter what generation it is. “Be original. Come up with your own thoughts and ideas for it.”
That way, like Jimmy McQuade, you’ll create an eye-catching Corvette that your Mom would be proud of.
|Owner||Jimmy McQuade; Brooklyn, NY|
|Block||Stock LS2 aluminum|
|Heads||Stock LS2 aluminum|
|Camshaft||Stock LS2 hydraulic roller|
|Pistons||Stock hypereutectic aluminum|
|Crankshaft||Stock cast nodular iron|
|Rods||Stock powdered-metal steel|
|Fuel Pump||Stock electric|
|Ignition||Stock electronic coil-on-plug|
|Exhaust||Stock tubular iron exhaust manifolds/catalytic converters, Corsa Sport converter-back system|
|Transmission||Stock six-speed automatic|
|Suspension||Stock short/long arm (SLA) double wishbone, cast-aluminum upper and lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite leaf spring, monotube shock absorbers (front and rear)|
|Brakes||Stock C6 Z51 with power assist and ABS|
|Wheels||GM Accessory seven-spoke cast aluminum with chrome plating; 18x8.5 (front), 19x10 (rear)|
|Tires||Michelin Pilot Sport 2 ZP; 245/40ZR18 (front), 285/35ZR19 (rear)|
|Current Mileage||Approximately 23,000|