This Corvette was my first and began the obsession. Just about every part of this car has been modified making it fast, safe and extremely fun to drive.
This project started over 10 years ago with the intention of creating a fun custom sports car based on a Corvette. My goal was to have very few original GM parts left, making the car look and drive like nothing else on the road. It began life as a pretty plain 1988 C4 Chevrolet Corvette with a black body and saddle interior (tan). It was powered by the L98 350cid V8 engine, 700R4 automatic transmission, D36 3.07 rear end and Z52 suspension. It may have been exciting when it was released in the late 80’s, but by today’s standards, it features an uninspired engine and dated styling.
Through the course of the project, virtually all aspect of the car have been modified including the power train, exterior, interior, safety systems, and stereo. The car has truely been transformed into something unique. Many people feel that it is sac-religious to modify (or in their words ‘destroy’) any Corvette, but C4 Vettes are very abundant and have not held their values very well… making them the perfect choice for such a project.
To be added.
With a custom body drenched in a flashy color, some additional power would be necessary to avoid being ‘all show and no go’. The cars original engine, transmission and rear end were scrapped immediately and replaced new custom built units. The car now packs a ton of power while remaining surprisingly streetable. The growl from the exhaust system is intoxicating. A drive around town is simple, but get too aggressive with your right foot and the rear end will kick out in an instant.
The engine remains naturally aspirated, but now displaces 406 cubic inches. Air enters through a larger throttle body and TPIS Mini-Ram induction system and exits through Hooker long tube headers and custom larger exhaust system. The fuel and spark management is controlled by an Accel Generation 7 DFI system that is programmed via a laptop. It is thought to be pushing 425-450 horsepower and was good enough for a low 11 second quarter mile time in 90 degree weather.
Half-filled 400ci small block Chevy bored .030 over (509 4 bolt main block)
Wiseco forged pistons with plasma-moly rings
Lunati forged connecting rods
Eagle forged crank
TPIS solid roller cam shaft (242/242)
Comp Cams roller lifters
Comp Cams timing set
Lunati push rods
Brodix -10x heads port matched to 1205, 62cc chamber 210cc runners (rebuilt and milled) with new valves, guides, springs, retainers and locks
Crower stainless roller rockers
TPIS Miniram port matched to heads
Accel 1000cfm 58mm throttle body
Accel DFI Gen 7 ECU and wiring harness
High flow oil pump with welded pickup
All of this power is transferred through a Pro-built 4-speed automatic transmission with a Vigilante torque converter.
Pro-built street/strip 700R4 transmission (built to handle 600+ hp)
Vigilante 3,500rpm stall torque converter
It is then sent to the rear wheels via a Dana 44 rear end with 3.45 gears. Energy Suspension bushings were installed along with a set of coil-overs from Exotic Muscle to help the car in the twisties. Baer brakes help keep all of the power in check. It rides on either Corvette ZR1 wheels or a custom set of HRE wheels.
Front- 19″ x 10″ 275/30-ZR19
Rear- 20″ x 11.5″ 285/30-ZR20
Front- 17″ x 9.5″ 275/40-ZR17
Rear- 17″ x 11″ 315/35-ZR17
In order for the car to stand out from others on the road, a custom body was necessary. Simple bolt on ground effects would not be enough to turn heads, so a full kit was installed from American Custom Industries (ACI) called the ‘Stalker’. It features new front and rear bumpers, side and door panels, a low profile rear wing, wheel well moldings and mirror caps.
It replaces the belt-line molding and changes the vehicle from that point downward. The only parts of the body that remain stock are the hood, roll bar, and glass. In addition to the Stalker body, a hatch off of an older C4 Corvette was installed for a cleaner look without the 3rd brake light.
The car was painted twice. The first paint job did all of the door jams and hard to reach areas. There are virtually no traces of the original color without removing parts. The second paint job was completed after all of the car’s modifications were complete leaving a nearly flawless shine from top to bottom. The color selected is known as Giallo Modena which is a Ferrari color.
Interior and Stereo Modifications:
The entire saddle interior was scrapped at the beginning of the project. The floor boards and all interior panels were coated with sound deadening materials from Cascade Audio Engineering. It helps keep the noise and heats levels down in the cockpit. A new black interior was installed with mass backed carpet.
The stock ‘Atari’ digital gauges and center information center was removed making way for a custom analog gauge cluster from Autometer. Directly in front of the driver resides a large speedometer and tachometer along with smaller gauges monitoring oil temperature, oil pressure and coolant temperature flanked by led indicators for high beams and blinkers. The center part of the dash houses gauges to monitor fuel level and voltage. Also in the center of the dash are switches that control master voltage, ignition, fuel, stereo and radiator fan. The ‘crash pad’ was removed from the passenger side of the dash as well.
To keep the driver safe, a four point roll bar and Corbeau racing seats were added along with provisions for the addition of four or five point harnesses in the future. The roll bar is a special design which allows the targa roof to be stored in the hatch in the factory location. It does this by using thick steel plates welded to the frame in the wheel well that bolts to the rear points of the bar outside of the targa top storage area.
What car build would be complete without a custom stereo system? The stereo for this project was kept relatively simple. An AM/FM CD receiver was installed in the factory location in the dash. It is the sole source unit and acts as the system’s equalizer and crossover. Signals are then sent on to two amps which power a set of components up front, a set of coax speakers in the rear, and a single subwoofer.
The front components were installed with the mid-woofers in the doors, tweeters in the dash, and crossovers installed just behind the arm rest. The rear coax speakers are installed in the factory locations. A custom subwoofer box and amp rack were installed in the rear hatch just behind the seats. The enclosure is trimmed in black carpet and material matching the seats. All power wire is 4 gauge and speaker wire is 12 gauge.
The result is a clean and powerful stereo that is a perfect compliment to the rest of the car’s modifications.
Eclipse source unit
Xtant 4-channel amp
Xtant mono amp
Image Dynamics 6.75″ component set
Image Dynamics 6.5″ coax set
Boston Acoustics subwoofer