By: Bonnie Wolf
Photographers: Mark Jenkins & Luke Bhothipiti
This is a story about a man and his car that has gone from a daily driver with 113,000 miles on it, to Best of Show Corvette at the 2012 Corvette Chevy Expo.
Chris Johnson, an 11th generation Texan, ordered her up new. Chris, only 24 years old, was fresh out of graduate school when he decided he wanted to buy a Corvette. He picked his new 2002 ZO6 Corvette up at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY and drove her back to Texas. This particular Corvette has led a busy life under his care. Chris, greatly enjoying his car, has driven it as far west as the Pacific Ocean. He regularly auto crossed her for two years and even entered a high performance-driving event.
Chris was enthusiastically enjoying his beloved car, and like many Corvettes, his car needed a nickname. The initial ad campaign for the 2001 ZO6 Corvette inspired Chris to name his Corvette OVRKL; you might remember the advertisement...“Introducing an Entirely New Level of Overkill.”
Like so many young men, Chris swore he would never drive a car with more than two doors. He drove it for eight years and 100,000 miles, but like so many things, eventually, it was time for change. He retired his daily driver...but not totally.
It was not long and Chris had an interest in modifying his Corvette. He was careful to plan his modifications; he wanted to do it slowly, right, and hopefully only once.
First, a short throw shifter, then that needed a shorter shift boot. Chris got Vette Essentials leather for the shift knob/boot and e-brake handle/ boot. He then added some more leather, some painted fuel rail covers and some carbon fiber.
Then was a big change when Chris moved to Houston. He got involved with the Corvette Owners Club of Houston and start showing the car. His competitive nature kicked in and it wasn’t enough to simply have a nice daily driver. He wanted a combination of a show car and a daily driver.
It was not long and OVRKL had undergone a number of cosmetic changes. Chris replaced the fuel rail covers with a set of custom painted covers with the Texas flag on them. He also taught himself how to paint a few of the other under hood pieces. They say that when men turn 30, they are ‘over the hill,’ but not for Chris. He was revving it up! Celebrating his big 3-0, Chris got a cam and headers for OVRKL. The car dyno’ed at 427 rwhp and 383 rwtq. Since then, it has been returned and dyno’ed on a hot day at 421 rwhp and 390 rwtq.
Now, at a much faster pace, the car started adding modifications. Looking back Chris said, “The biggest changes happened when I stopped driving it daily...full custom paint job, new carbon-fiber high rise hood, new rear fascia, carbon-fiber wheels, and just a ‘touch’ of airbrushing (yes, sarcasm there).At this point, literally everything you see on the outside of the car has been replaced, painted, or tinted (down to the windows, badges and brakes). This is no exaggeration.” Clearly he was no longer constrained by the constraints of the car being a daily driver anymore!
Chris continued, “While a lot of the modifications are pretty in-your-face (or overkill as my friends remind me), especially the artwork under the hood/trunk, there are a number of much more subtle modifications. My favorite subtle mods are the badges. The front/rear Corvette badges are trimmed in carbon fiber and feature the Texas flag. The side Z06 badges were redone in black with OVRKL listed instead of the horsepower.” Looking back, Chris explained that he wanted to only do the modifications once...although, there was one exception...“After installing my cam, I kept the stock titanium exhaust because I didn’t want a lot of exhaust noise while commuting. I later decided I was tired of people asking if I had a cam, so I added a set of GHL Bullets...great sound and much more noise.When I stopped driving it daily, I decided it was time to go loud. OVRKL now features a set of B&B Bullets. Not the loudest Vette in the Houston area, but you can hear me coming from pretty far away.”
By now, you might be asking, does he do all the work himself or does he hire it all out? No and no. He does some of the work himself, such as minor repairs and some smaller modifications, but anything dealing with the engine or electrical issues, he hires a professional. As he says, “I know my limitations. Work and family life keeps me so busy these days that I do less and less of the maintenance myself. I’m lucky to have a full time Corvette mechanic that I trust very close to my house. Terry at VettTech takes very good care of me and handles anything I can’t/won’t do on my own.”
His most recent modification was the custom interior. Feeling that OVRKL really needed the custom seats to
match the outside of the car, Chris had DD Mods get a hold of Vette Essentials to ensure a match on the existing blue leather. However, Chris wanted to enjoy the experience, so he taught himself to wrap parts in Alcantara. “I did the A-pillars, door pull surrounds, knee bolster, and glove box on my own. It took two attempts, but I had a great time and saved some serious money.”
Today, the car leads a much more pampered life. Nevertheless, do not be surprised to see Chris behind the wheel. He still is not afraid to drive this stunning show car. In the last couple of years, he drove 550 miles round-trip to Fort Worth for the 2012 Lone Star Corvette Classic. He actually broke the starter on the car while participating in their track day.
“OVRKL sported the nice ‘push to start’ upgrade for the entire drive home!” He also made a 400 mile round-trip to Boerne for Texas Corvette Associations 2012 Open Car Show. Chris still takes OVRKL to a lot of cruises and car shows as well.
OVRKL has seen fewer modifications in the last couple of years. Truthfully, there is not much more you can do to improve on a perfect show car! “Instead I’ve worked on improving my detailing skills,” Chris explained. “I’ve learned how to better polish, clean, wax, etc. and have a couple of random orbital polishers. About twice a year, I put the car up on jack stands and clean it from the bottom to the top.“
Most recently at the 2013 Corvette Chevy Expo in Houston, Chris had 15 mirrors under the rear of the car to show off the fully polished exhaust and heat shields and cleaned up rear cradle. That is not for the faint of heart, especially with the mileage on the car.
Chris said it “took multiple attempts to get the underside as clean as it is now and for me to work up the courage about using the mirrors.”
It is no surprise that he has a wall full of trophies and plaques, including a variety of “Best-Of” awards and Best Corvette at the 2012 Corvette Chevy Expo in Houston.
§ Hurricane Carbon Fiber Air Intake
§ MTI X1 cam (230/227 .591/.571 lsa 112)
§ Kooks 1 7/8” long tube headers
§ High flow cats
§ B&B Bullet Exhaust
§ Powerslot slotted rotors
§ Cobalt Pads
§ C6 Z06 shocks
§ C6 Z51 Swaybars
§ Hurst short throw shifter
o Modular Concept Carbon Concept 02’s - 19 inch wheels
o Nitto Invo Tires
o MCM Carbon Fiber Hood
o Specter Werks Group 5 rear fascia
o Carbon Fiber Front Spoiler (C5R from Carbon Creations)
o Carbon fiber front/rear badges with TX flag insert
o Custom blacked out Z06 side badges with OVRKL
o Tinted lights
o Red metallic powdercoated brake calipers
o Hand painted Jake rear exhaust plate
o Tinted windows
o Blacked out screen kits
o Custom electron blue paint (started with the base color from electron blue, made the formula have more pearl than metallic, and changed the metallic flake)
o Custom airbrushing -
§ Underhood graphic
§ Under trunk
§ Fuel Rail covers
§ Underhood coolant and washer tanks
o Caravaggio Steering wheel wrapped by Vette Essentials (two tone leather)
o Vette Essentials shifter/boot and emergency brake/boot (two tone leather)
o DD Mods Custom seats with custom embroidery (two tone leather and alcantara)
o DD Mods door panels (leather and alcantara)
o DD Mods center console and lower console (leather and alcantara)
o DD Mods leather sunvisors
o Alcantara A pillars
o Alcantara knee bolster and glove box
o Alcanatara door pull surrounds
o Lloyds Mats (front and Z06 trunk mat)
o Trunk floor inserts
o RadioFlyer light cannons (projector headlights with halo’s and HID lighting)
o RadioFlyer audi style front turn lights
o RadioFlyer sequencing halo tail lights (less than a dozen of these exist)
o Blue LED replacement lights in interior
o Blue LED lighting in engine compartment/interior/trunk
o Strobe kit
o Custom light switch in ashtray
Reprint from the July 2013 issue of Vette Vues Magazine.