A CORVETTE FOR THE CANYONS
By Al Khoury
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The Chevrolet Corvette is a tried-and-true American formula: large engine up front, rear-wheel drivetrain, and lightweight construction. Until the introduction of the 2020 C8 with its mid-engine layout, every Corvette generation followed this design.
The C1 Corvette was introduced in 1953 with a 6-cylinder engine and a hand-built fiberglass body. A V-8 was introduced in 1955. Following this, all Corvettes have been available solely with eight-cylinder engines.
The Z06 package launched on the 1963 C2 Corvette coupe. It included upgraded suspension parts, brakes, cooling mechanics, and a larger fuel tank. These cars were designed for the track and their 5.4-liter V-8 engines produced 360 horsepower and 352 pound-feet of torque through a four-speed manual transmission.
The Z06 was also offered on the C5, C6, and C7 generations. The final Z06 sold for $2.7 million at Barrett-Jackson’s Northeast Auction, with all proceeds going to charity.
Japhet Que’s 2008 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is part of this special group and we are proud to have it as Oloi’s next featured car.
The C6 Corvette was produced from 2004 to 2013. It bumped up everyday comfort while adding more performance. A new body included the most striking change: the elimination of hidden headlamps, which had been a Corvette staple since the C2.
The C6 Z06 entered the model range in 2006 with an all-new LS7 7.0-liter V-8 engine producing 505 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. Titanium connecting rods and intake valves contribute to this boost in power and the six-speed manual transmission was strengthened accordingly.
The 2008 Z06 could hit 60 miles per hour from a standstill in 3.7 seconds in first gear, on to a top speed of 198 mph, according to the Corvette Museum. The quarter mile was completed in 11.7 seconds at 125 mph. Prices started at $72,000.
The C6 Z06 had unique aerodynamic bodywork to improve cooling and downforce, including an air scoop and taller spoiler. An aluminum frame and body, magnesium engine cradle, carbon fiber fenders, and carbon composite front wells and passenger floors contribute to a low curb weight of 3,162 pounds.
High-Intensity Discharge lighting, fog lamps, leather seating, dual-zone air conditioning, cabin air filtration, heads-up display with track mode and g-meter, and a limited-slip differential were standard.
Japhet picked up his 2008 C6 Z06 in 2017. The car is painted Jetstream Blue Metallic over a black interior. Japhet lives in Southern California but he purchased his 'Vette in NorCal and drove it home. He got it with 33,000 miles on the clock and has since put on 30,000 more.
“My dad had a Corvette when I was growing up,” Japhet told Oloi. “I remember riding in it and I told myself I want a Corvette one day. I could buy a new one but I got this one because it retained the classic look of the Corvette without being too modern or outdated.”
The LS7 had a known valve drop issue that can seriously damage the motor. Luckily, the previous owner of Japhet’s Z06 had the heads fixed. The car also had a good aftermarket exhaust installed. Japhet had a cam install done to get that “cam sound” and more mid-range power. Caravaggio bucket seats on stock rails lend support when taking hard corners on the open road.
“I wanted to give an OEM-plus type feel to the car without sacrificing anything too major,” Japhet said. “It’s not my daily but when I drive it, I drive it far. I do the canyons for a nice two or three-hour drive every week or so. My goal for the car is to enjoy it and for my friends to enjoy it.”
Japhet’s mod list includes American Heritage Performance Package 4 heads (unported/no milling), BTR Stage III cam, Halltech MF103 cold air intake, ported stock throttle body, Kooks 1-7/8-inch catless long tube headers with high flow cat X-pipe, and Borla ATAK mufflers. The car was tuned by Tom at Izzy Performance on 91 octane fuel. The Dynojet shows 560 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque to the wheels on a conservative tune.
Diving deeper into the details on the heads, you’ll find MS90 valve guides, BTR dual springs with titanium retainers, hardened 7.800-inch by 3/8-inch diameter pushrods, and Ferrea F2042P hollow exhaust valves and treated titanium intake valves.
“My goal was reliability over raw horsepower,” Japhet said. “I want to enjoy the car as much as I can and I want to keep things reliable.”
Bilstein DRM Shocks and StopTech single piece sport brake pads help with handling, while an MGW short shifter adds crispness to gear changes. Cosmetically, the car has a ZR1-style front lip and side skirts, Eagle Eye taillights, and a staggered wheel setup. Up front are 18x10 Forgestar F14 wheels with 19x12s in the rear. Toyo R888r tires measure 275/35/18 and 345/30/19.
“I enjoy this car because it’s analog, weighs 3,100 pounds, and has a V-8 that revs to 7,000 rpms,” Japhet said. “I’d like to give a shoutout to Ed at Powerhouse Racing for all my major maintenances. I do all the oil changes and basic maintenance by myself but if there is something I cannot do, I take it to Ed.”
Japhet is considering switching to a full coilover system down the line.
“I’m going to drive a buddy’s car and try it out,” Japhet said. “I like to take canyon drives but if I decide to take it to the track, I’m going to put in an oil catch can and a bigger dry sump.”
A fan of older Mercedes-Benz vehicles, Japhet’s stable also includes a 1998 E320 wagon and a 2003 C240, both driven daily. He plans to buy a Porsche 997.1 GT3 later this year. Oloi has featured a couple of Porsche 997 coupes, including a rare 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 and our own 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS.
“The Corvette is my forever car,” Japhet said. “It’s perfect for me and my needs. It’s good on date nights and I like to take it to Las Vegas and San Francisco. I can drive it whenever and wherever. I averaged 29 miles per gallon on my last San Francisco trip.”
Car lovers know that no matter how a car is used, what’s important is how it makes you feel at the end of the day.
“Sometimes I’ll take it for a drive just to blow off some stress,” Japhet concluded. “No destination in mind, just a drive.”