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Nick_Comstock
Nick_Comstock PowerDork
11/12/14 2:28 p.m.

Would you consider a stock, unmodified C4 Corvette a drivers car?

I consider a drivers car something that is engaging to drive, predictable, balanced and fun to push a little bit. Pure speed or being the quickest around a course are not priority.

I know several members here have owned them. Just need to know if I should add them to my list of cars I need to own one day.

Cotton
Cotton UltraDork
11/12/14 2:35 p.m.

I would....especially the later cars. I have an 88, but it isn't stock. It is definitely engaging, predictable, balanced, and fun to drive though and I don't have a lot of money in it. I did drive a stock 88 with an auto and it was a fun car too.

Mine is an l98 4+3 combo, but if you don't mind spending a little more the later LT4 6 speeds are sweet.

Here's mine, but now it's lowered more than it was when I took the picture.

SEADave
SEADave Reader
11/12/14 3:05 p.m.

I have been meaning to write up some sort of C4 buyers guide for a while now. Anyhow, yes I used to have an 89 L98/6sp convertible, and it was definitely a driver's car. Trust me, I am pretty critical of cars, consider myself immune to the idea of status or reputation making a car better than what it is, and I was happy (maybe not thrilled) with my C4.

Back when they were new, they may not have looked great compared directly to the cars they were competing against (Porsche 911 comes to mind). But if you look around now and compare it to the other used cars you can get for the same money they come out pretty good.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla PowerDork
11/12/14 3:06 p.m.
Cotton wrote: I would....especially the later cars. I have an 88, but it isn't stock. It is definitely engaging, predictable, balanced, and fun to drive though and I don't have a lot of money in it. I did drive a stock 88 with an auto and it was a fun car too. Mine is an l98 4+3 combo, but if you don't mind spending a little more the later LT4 6 speeds are sweet. Here's mine, but now it's lowered more than it was when I took the picture.

Holy berkeley that looks awesome! I need moar pics!

Cotton
Cotton UltraDork
11/12/14 3:27 p.m.

In reply to Bobzilla:

I'm finally having it dynoed on the 22nd! Will get more pics then.

For those that don't know I bought Bobzilla's old c4. He rebuilt the engine, suspension, brakes, etc, then I bought it and tuned it, added larger injectors, redid the interior, changed the wheels, etc. It's really coming together and is a blast to drive.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla PowerDork
11/12/14 3:31 p.m.

I need to come down for a visit now! You fixed the clamshell too didn't you?

Cotton
Cotton UltraDork
11/12/14 3:37 p.m.

In reply to Bobzilla:

I actually found a great deal on a used one. Not a perfect color match due to fading, so a full respray will happen next year when I get my shop cleaned out.

Vigo
Vigo PowerDork
11/12/14 5:46 p.m.

I think the only thing a c4 is great for is driving it hard. Does that make it a driver's car?

Nick_Comstock
Nick_Comstock PowerDork
11/12/14 6:24 p.m.

In reply to Vigo:

Depends on how rewarding it is. I drove my moms 1985 Riviera hard a couple times. That was not rewarding at all. But my equally slow E21 BMW was hugely rewarding while being driven hard, it was also rewarding being driven slowly. But then again so was the Riviera in it's own way.

Jim Pettengill
Jim Pettengill HalfDork
11/12/14 10:27 p.m.

I have a 1994 C4, so that's the 300 hp LT-1 with 6-speed manual. My car is Polo Green and has the FX3 electrically adjustable shocks, and I'm running Toyo R1R tires. Other than that it's completely stock. On the highway it gets 29 - 31 mpg. Road tests of the '94 back in the day showed 0-60 in 4.9, quarter in 13.7 @ 107 mph, top end 167. With the Toyos I'd estimate steady-state cornering around 1.0 g.

My car had only 54,000 miles when I bought it two years ago, but has needed some general maintenance - heater hoses, and I don't like how hot it runs (GM design), so I had a lower temp thermostat installed, along with an aftermarket fan sensor that turns the two cooling fans on at a lower temperature. The higher temps only showed up when I tracked the car in 85-degree and higher temps.

It's a great driving car - smooth, quiet, really fast when you want it to be, precise. If you need to be nearing the car's limits for it to be "rewarding", you'll be traveling at insane speeds on the street. The ABS works well, the traction control works well, but is very obtrusive when it kicks in (you can turn it off, worth around 2 seconds on a 60-second course). Biggest drawbacks I would say are narrow footwells and tall sills (design compromise when the GM Brass required a removable roof panel rather than a T-top late in the design stage), not a real big luggage area, and a pretty long lift-over if you're trying to put in an awkward suitcase. There is a very good aftermarket for cool stuff, and for restoration/maintenance stuff.

A C5 is a better car, but they are considerably more expensive. Bang for the buck, a really nice C4 is hard to beat. I also have an MR2 that I dearly love, and both cars are great, just different. But a C4 in good shape is a good drivers car. Oh, yeah - I don't know that the FX3 suspension is worth looking for, unnecessarily complex, a Z51 car or Z07 car would probably be better. Mine doesn't seem to be working, and I get a lot of dive under heavy braking (enough to drag the front air dam on track). Still handles very well, even on the soft setting. On a 65-second low-speed track (kart track) I'm about 2.5 seconds slower than a couple of mildly modified C5 and C6 Z06s on similar tires, and that's dead stock. Not too shabby for the price.

conesare2seconds
conesare2seconds HalfDork
11/12/14 11:24 p.m.

Heck yes they're engaging. If you have the chance, def pick a Z51 or Z07 car up. [Jim's post above is very well informed; just one small pick: all Z07s had selective ride control]

For a non-Z51/Z07 car, you can generally leave the spring rates alone (although there are a couple of schools of thought there), put on Bilstein sports and larger sway bars and go to town. Base brakes are sufficient for autocross but the J55s (which became standard late) would be better for a track day. Also, upgrading to the faster Z51/Z07 steering rack is a huge upgrade - not super cheap and kind of fiddly to do, but it cuts way down on the big steering inputs and makes it easier to have fast hands.

My favorite one, which was dailied, autocrossed year in and year out and even saw the occasional show was a 95 Z07. It ran in a stock class with street tires. Bilstein did a custom revalve on the selectable shocks for modest money at the time, though the service got significantly more expensive later and isn't quite a bargain any longer.

The C4 is kind of a linebacker, it needs a more "open" course layout to shine but dayum it has some moves. There's always plenty of power and torque, the sport seats are great though a little narrow in the ass and hips for broader guys. The cars got more refined over the years and the 94-96es especially will knock down long trips without wearing you out.

I could go on for many hundreds of words (the editorial calendar stays pretty full in the print publication), so I might knock out a buyer's guide for the forum if SEADave doesn't. Pics clearly show that lowering wasn't allowed in my class. She had about 110k on the clock when photographed.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla PowerDork
11/13/14 7:22 a.m.
Vigo wrote: I think the only thing a c4 is great for is driving it hard. Does that make it a driver's car?

I would agree with that. For me the ergo sucks. I have large wide feet and that clutch pedal takes up the space a dead pedal would be. It's narrow, hard to get in and out of, hot, loud..... but sitting on the back wheels means you can catch a spin so much faster and it's super easy to hang the tail out with the right foot.

Hell, if I was to do it again I'd make a dorifto car out of one.

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
11/13/14 7:45 a.m.

I had an '88 4+3 roadster. Yes, very engaging. The trick is to get good tires and one of the better suspension options. Some of the LT1 cars had a "soft ride" suspension that wasn't that great. Look for the narrow front tires to pick those cars out. Many auto trans cars had 2.56 gears as well.

patgizz
patgizz PowerDork
11/13/14 8:33 a.m.

i like them. i'm running out to work right now, but i can say a couple things. i do not understand why you would lower a street driven car as i hit the air dam or floor pans on stuff constantly, and have to choose a path through parking spots to avoid speed bumps. it's fun to put foot down, or it's fun to throw into a turn at speed not bothering to slow down. really wish it was a 6 speed instead of an auto. i made some wiring problems for myself putting a superram intake on, got pissed and sold the intake. the more i mess with the car the more it tells me to leave it alone and just drive it. my plates expired in 2010 when my wife got pregnant the first time. i'm planning to get it out for spring since kid1 is booster seat-able. he bugs me about driving it. the stock sawblades are ugly, and i'm on the fence about leaving the car as-is and keeping it a driver, or getting a newer vette for the street and turning this one into an ls/t56 angry monster.

it's also a good road trip car and eats up the miles. i consider it a success if i can fit my wife's crap for 3 days in it with my little bag and still take the top off. my feet are a bit big but don't care, i wear all-stars when i drive it. my work boots hit both pedals at the same time.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UberDork
11/13/14 8:54 a.m.

Yes, I had a '86 with the Z51 suspension package. One of the best handling and most fun to drive cars I've ever owned, and probably ranks up in the top 5 cars I've ever driven for fun factor.

The engine could use improvement, as it felt more like it should be in a pickup truck. But the chassis was veryw ell done.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson PowerDork
11/13/14 9:44 a.m.

If you go for an earlier L98 car the Auto is definitely preferable to the manual. I love the auto with the torque of the L98.

Nick_Comstock
Nick_Comstock PowerDork
11/13/14 9:53 a.m.

Thanks for the input everyone. I will definitely keep my eye on them in the future. I know a C5 is better in almost every way but for some reason they really don't appeal to me. I think it's because I watched a lot of Simon & Simon as a kid.

conesare2seconds
conesare2seconds HalfDork
11/13/14 9:59 a.m.

One more thing: be aware whether any car you consider has the performance axle ratio, RPO G92. The economy ratio is 2.49 or so; G92 or a swap really makes a difference.

maj75
maj75 Reader
11/14/14 7:46 a.m.
Adrian_Thompson wrote: If you go for an earlier L98 car the Auto is definitely preferable to the manual. I love the auto with the torque of the L98.

I can't think of any reason to get a slushbox in a Corvette of any year, unless you only have one leg...

maj75
maj75 Reader
11/14/14 7:50 a.m.

I really like these cars and considered getting one as a track toy. Peer pressure dictated a 1995 M3, which I love. I will, however, get a '96 LT4 with the 6 speed someday.

I'm sure it's faster on track, but I also,know it would eat up consumables much faster than the M3.

Vigo
Vigo PowerDork
11/14/14 10:55 a.m.

Im not against autos when you have the necessary torque or amount of gears to make them not suck, but in my opinion auto corvettes didnt stop giving up a LOT to the manuals until the c6 generation.

Honestly, by modern standards a stock auto c4 or even c5 just feels like a newer v8 pickup truck as far as acceleration. The 6spd still FEELS fast because the delivery and how you engage with it is so different. I mean, it also IS faster, but for me it's more about the driving experience then the raw speed.

I am not really all about having a fast car, but i AM all about making what power you have as entertaining as possible, and on cars that arent already ludicrously fast that almost always means manual trans.

Harvey
Harvey HalfDork
11/14/14 11:21 a.m.

I just can't get over how horrible the interiors are on them and I hate how the side sills are so elevated, but I think they are definitely a driver's car. I think pretty much everyone agrees that the C4 is the first version of the Vette that is actually a sports car whereas the previous versions are more grand tourers.

Cotton
Cotton UltraDork
11/14/14 11:26 a.m.

In reply to Harvey:

I think we've been down this road before, but it's an 80s car. Come sit in my 85 911, 87 MR2, or 88 C4 and I doubt you'll love any of the interiors. IMO the 911 is the worst in my opinion, but back then Porsche didn't give a E36 M3 what people thought about ergonomics and focused on the driving/performance aspects. I mean the ergonomics in the 911 are so bad you almost want to think they're just berkeleying with you, but no we call that "character".

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UberDork
11/14/14 12:44 p.m.
Nick_Comstock wrote: Thanks for the input everyone. I will definitely keep my eye on them in the future. I know a C5 is better in almost every way but for some reason they really don't appeal to me. I think it's because I watched a lot of Simon & Simon as a kid.

C4s are a more raw and aggressive feeling car than C5s, as well.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla PowerDork
11/14/14 12:47 p.m.

I still think the L98 should have been in the truck line. low rpm redline, torque from idle to redline. Should have never been in a sportscar. Hell, it'd make a great motorhome engine! Or maybe that's the engine I put into a box-body 'burb?

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