Jimmie Baxter’s Take On The Ultimate Z06 Corvette

 

The C6 Z06 is hands down an awesome car and evidently one of the best Corvettes to grace the roadways in which we drive on today. They’re not exactly the cheapest car on the market, but over the last few years they have become more attainable to the younger crowd due to depreciation and newer models being released, such as the C6 ZR1 and the new C7 Stingray

Needless to say, Jimmie Baxter’s C6 Z06 definitely stands out from the rest, but it didn’t start out that way at all. Being that Baxter is in his early twenties like some of us over here at CorvetteOnline, we were curious as to why he chose to purchase a C6 Z06 instead of any other cars that the younger crowd would be more likely to roll around in – to be completely honest, he’s already had the majority of the cars that a younger crowd desires.

Before The Z06

Baxter’s love for Corvettes, the Z06 in particular, started when he was at the ripe age of 16 when he was driving in his 2007 Subaru WRX STI. He saw a guy driving around town with a brand new slightly lowered Le Mans Blue Z06 that still had the paper plates from the dealer on it – from then on, that was the car that Baxter wanted in his life. “I saw that car and I knew that’s what I wanted,” explained Baxter. We’re sure that most of you reading this have had a similar experience with a Corvette at some point, at least we have.

From left to right: Baxter's 2007 Audi RS4 that he sold for the Z06 and his 2007 Subaru STI that was traded in when he purchased the 'Vette.

Of course he was young at the time, but that wasn’t stopping him from becoming a Z06 owner. To give you an idea about how much of a car guy Baxter is, he’s owned quite a few desirable cars – two 2007 Subaru WRX STIs, one of which we talked about above (his other one had 590 awhp!), a 2009 Honda Civic Si with an FD2 JDM conversion, an E30 BMW 325i, a 2007 Audi RS4, and a 2010 Audi A4 with the STaSIS package, which we’re pretty sure he still has. Not bad for a young pup, right?

How Baxter’s garage looked after the Z06 was purchased – we wouldn’t mind this setup.

Obtaining The Dream

“I started looking into it and realized I can afford it, as long as I got rid of a few cars first.” Jimmie Baxter

Four years later, when Baxter was 20, he had the STI, A4, and the RS4, but felt the need to change things up a little bit, because well, change is good every now and then – especially when that change is a Z06 in the garage. After taking the RS4 to the drag strip and getting blown out of the water by a Z06, he knew for sure that he wanted one. Baxter realized that he would have to make some sacrifices to obtain his dream car, so he sold the RS4 and completely parted out his black 2007 STI. While a significant amount of money was made from the part-out, he also came out on top with the STI when he traded it in for a Le Mans Blue 2007 Z06.

Knowing that he was going to purchase a Z06 at some point, Baxter started planning modifications for the car before he even bought it – now, that’s dedication. With a lowering kit and a set of iForged TE14V wheels ordered for a ‘Vette he didn’t even have yet, he knew it would be a good look for it once he got it, and damn was he right. The weekend of purchasing the car, he got the wheels on, and a week after that, the lowering bolts were installed. 

Aside from the wheels and lowering bolts, Baxter didn’t do much to the car besides a ZR1 lip and sideskirts before it was ungratefully keyed in a movie theater parking lot in January of 2012. Coming out to the parking lot and seeing that your car has been keyed isn’t a good time at all, however he looked at the situation as an opportunity to change up the overall look of the car – something that would make it his own and stand out from other Z06s. Within two weeks of the vandalism incident, the car was already in paint and the color he chose was Grigio Telesto, which is a Lamborghini grey-color.

Modifications

While the car was down for paint, Baxter took the time to shoot a couple of pics of the car in all of its naked glory. Can you say weight reduction?

While the car was in paint, Baxter wanted it to come out looking more aggressive than his already aggressive Z06, so he ordered some OEM Corvette ZR1 fenders and had them painted while the car was down – all of the badges on the car were shaved as well. Being that the car is really low, The ZR1 lip didn’t last too long, so Baxter opted to go back to the OEM Z06 front lip that the car originally came with.

He also hit up Jason from SuperVettes and ordered a set of ZForce Z8 wheels, measuring 19 x 10 up front and 20 x 12.5 out back, just to switch up the look a little bit. Luckily for Baxter, the wheels came as a package deal with some high-performance Nitto Invo tires, because he couldn’t use the Michelin tires from his iForged wheels.

Other modifications to the car include a high-rise ZR1-style spoiler from SLP, Bilstein shocks to replace the factory units, blacked-out headlight housings, and StopTech rotors and pads for all four corners. Unfortunately, a few months after the paint was done, Baxter was driving and heard a sound similar to a tire popping, but the car didn’t veer left or right. He noticed something was really wrong when he looked down and realized the motor was completely shut off. At that point, Baxter realized that his engine was done for.

After having the car looked at, the verdict was that one of the exhaust valve’s heads dropped into the cylinder and caused the whole engine to seize. It happened because one of the valve guides prematurely wore down and allowed the valve to wobble, causing the head to snap off of the stem and fall into the cylinder. We did some research and found that this problem was happening with other Z06 owners as well, so it wasn’t a fluke.

What would’ve been a very costly expense cost Baxter nothing out of pocket because the car was still covered under warranty – within a month, a fresh 2013 LS7 was dropped in the Z06. The Z06’s slave and master cylinder also went out at the time of the engine grenading, causing his factory clutch to pretty much disintegrate. The dealer ended up giving Baxter a great deal on a ZR1 clutch and labor, so he had that done along with replacing the engine. Since then, the car has been running great and Baxter has had absolutely no problems with the new setup, besides the infamous T56 gear whine, but that should be sorted out once the full build commences.

Future Build Plans

As far as future build plans go for the car, Baxter isn’t going to touch the car until early 2015 if everything goes as planned – this Z06 will have it all, though. Once the warranty is up on the car, Baxter is going to fully build the engine to handle either a supercharger of some sort, or a Jenvey intake manifold with individual throttle bodies. Personally, we’d like to see the individual throttle body manifold on there because that’s something a lot of Z06 owners just don’t do. Just imagine the throttle response and the brutal sound that would come from that LS7!

Baxter is also going to revise the suspension to a full coilover system with a single bellow airbag setup to get over speedbumps, swap out the factory brakes for an aftermarket big brake kit, change the wheels up, and possibly do a SuperVettes widebody kit to bring it all together. An RPM-built T56 transmission is also an idea, as his factory T56 has a little gear whine – why not take care of any problem areas before more power is added, right?

Baxter didn’t state if he was going to change up the interior or add any accessories, but we’ll just have to wait and see – it’s not like the Z06 needs any changes to the interior, it’s nice enough already!

Until Next Time

Oh, yes, there will be a next time, as this isn’t the last that you will see of the car because we’re going to do a follow up once Baxter’s Z06 is looking and performing exactly how he wants it. We really like his build so far because of the direction that the car is going and the fact that Baxter is a younger owner with different tastes than the average Corvette guy –  it’s not common to see someone as young as Baxter modifying a Corvette the way he’s doing it.

We’ll be sure to keep up on the build and have him snap some great pictures along the way – he did take all of his own photos for this feature, after all! For now, just bask in all of his Z06’s awesomeness and wait for the next installment of the dream build!

P.S. We have some rolling footage of Baxter’s Z06 and a quick run-in with the local law enforcement (who surprisingly doesn’t know how powerful LS engines are), enjoy!

About the author

Josh Kirsh

Born in Van Nuys, Raised in Murrieta, Joshua Kirsh is a SoCal Native. With a love for anything on wheels since the ripe young age of two, Joshua Managed to turn his love for automobiles into a career. As Power Automedia's newest writer, he plans to bring you some of the industry's hottest news topics while he's not out in the shop wrenching on some of our badass in-house project builds.
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