I'd have to agree with the statement that cat-back systems don't make much of a difference.
I dynoed my car a while back, and there was another fellow there with a Z06 with shortie headers, catback B&Bs (i think B&Bs), and a donaldson...
His advantage over me: SIX hp
If I were buying headers, I'd definitely go for longtubes, and definitely TPIS headers. Why? Because they have a 1-3/4" primary versus a 1-5/8" primary. They'll support more flow later on.
Also, I'd dump the cats (ok, maybe go with the 02 cat setup), and pull the MAF screen.
As far as intake goes, I'm not comfortable with cutting into the radiator shroud. No, I don't have a fear of water, I just happen to live where it sometimes gets hot, and I want all the air I can get into the radiator.
Given the time, I'd build a setup that takes air from the front inlets, and collects that all, and forces it into the airbox. A completely sealed system if you will. That would avoid pressurizing the front of the engine bay (well, in front of the radiator) and probably keep the hood from lifting up and higher speeds.
If you're going to go with a bottom breathing intake setup, you might as well plug the front inlets. Chevy put those there to help the engine breathe and the expense of aerodynamics. Plugging those would make the car a bit more slippery, and raise gas milage a bit.
Of course, if I had 30k to spend on the car, I'd put in a 427 /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif