C4/C5 Corvette Swap - Lust, Greed & Passion

On The Road With Two C5s, A C4, And Their Owners Who Swapped Corvettes And Told Their Tales

Jerry Pitt Feb 1, 2004 0 Comment(s)
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Dave Rasmussen's '95 LT1 Corvette proved to be an image changer for our C5 owners.

'95 Black LT1 CoupeAlpharetta, Georgia

"Razz," as he is called by his fellow Lanier Corvettes Unlimited club members, is a Brit through and through, but don't look for him driving a Lucas-equipped British sports car. Dave says, "I found the Corvette advertised in the Atlanta Auto Trader in January 2002. It was stated to be in excellent condition: new tires and only 37,000 original miles. When I called, the owner informed me it was available for viewing in Dublin, Georgia." Dave asked that the owner convince him it was worth the two-plus hour drive each way from Alpharetta. After a brief conversation, Dave was out the door.

Immediately upon purchasing, the performance parts were pouring in from Mid America, Eckler's, and Breathless Performance. Under the hood, a Vortex ram-air induction system feeds the 58mm Edelbrock throttle body via a Granatelli Motorsports mass airflow sensor. To keep the LT1 cool, Dave installed a 160-degree thermostat and throttle-body coolant bypass kit. A Hypertech Power Programmer and a Corsa Power Pulse 2 1/2-inch-diameter stainless steel exhaust system round out the modifications.

Dave says, "After installing the parts and adjusting the computer with the Hypertech programmer, the power increase and shift crispness were incredible. I was especially impressed with the aggressive automatic transmission mode!"

Dave tells us the Union Jack was added in September 2002 for the first year commemoration of 9/11. "Jack Jett inspired me to put it on since he already had added the American flag to the rear of his C5. With Jack's help, in a day and a half we had completed the low-adhesive vinyl appliqu.

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With LT1 power, Dave's C4 impressed the C5 owners with crisp shifts, thanks to reprogramming via a Hypertech Power Programmer.

Jack Jett on Dave Rasmussen's '95
"I'd never driven a C4 until this morning, but I made up my mind to listen to what this car had to say to me. Certainly, getting in was an adventure. It was like getting into a very, very low wheelbarrow that got narrow down at my feet. When I closed the door, it sounded like there were a lot of parts inside, not all of which were tight.

"Once inside, however, I immediately felt like I was part of the car, much more so than in my C5. After all, my left hip was inside the frame. It's a feeling I like and the C4 seats are better than the wimpy C5 seats.

"As we drove off looking for good roads to do our test, I noted that Dave's car was quieter than my C5. Much of this I attribute to the run-flats on my car. Along the way I did miss being able to see the road in front of me, but as we hit the first curves, this was completely forgotten. By the time we got through the first set of curves, I had already heard what this C4 was saying: 'If you care to listen, fine; if not, you're on your own.'

"I now, for the first time, see why the C4s are so beloved. For the first time, I realized why the C4s to this day are the preferred autocross and amateur race cars. In the right hands, the C4 responds quicker, turns tighter, and does not waste time asking the driver 'Are you sure you want to do this?' like the C5 does. The C5 is a wonderful car and does everything well. The C4 is different in that it was never designed or intended to do everything well. It was designed to get from point A to point B as quickly as the driver was qualified to drive it. That it does today better than a stock C5."

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The only complaint for the C5 owners was the effort of getting in and out of the Dave's C4. However, both Bobby and Jack commented they loved the race-car feeling of being in the cockpit.

Bobby Tow On Dave Rasmussen's '95
"David's automatic transmission has a shift-improvement kit installed. The shift points are more crisp and firm than any stock automatic I have driven in the past. I like the styling and lines of the C4, but the front vision is not as good as the C5.

"The entry and exit of the C4 is more difficult, especially for my wife. She says, 'You fall into the seat and have to be pulled out upon exiting.' I don't have a problem with that design; I like how you feel as if you are in the cockpit of an F-16 fighter jet with the seat below the side rails, and the way the dash instruments and seat partially wrap around your body. It's the feeling of a race car, far more so than a C5.

"When I drove the C4 through the esses, it did not feel as stable as the C5. You have to manhandle the steering and throttle because the rear end wanted to come around as compared to the C5. The suspension is more stiff and harsh than the C5, but tolerable.

"Pros: Good styling lines, fun ride, great value for a Corvette. Love the Union Jack.

"Cons: I prefer a six-speed in lieu of the automatic. I didn't like the flex in the frame under hard cornering. Front vision is not as good. Entry and exit is not as good for the ladies."

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