1992 Chevrolet Corvette - Graduating To The Big League

A High School Graduation Present That Became The Quickest Street Vette In Texas.

Bob Wallace Apr 1, 2001 0 Comment(s)

Shortly after receiving this incredible graduation gift, Joel replaced the stock air filter with a K&N, followed by a set of Flowmasters. It stayed in this very slightly modified form, which was enough to power it to 13.60s at 104mph, for a couple of years. By then, Joel was getting the "jones" to go faster. "At that time I didn't know a lot about engines, so I had a shop do some work on the car." That work included Extrude Honing the stock LT1 heads and intake, plus a 52mm throttle body, Doug Rippie fuel pressure regulator, and a higher capacity in-tank fuel pump. Not anything major, but enough to slip the yellow '92 into the high 12.70s at 111.

Next on the agenda was about 150 horsepower worth of homebrewed nitrous system. With the traction assistance of a pair of M&H "DOT" drag tires, Joel's everyday driver cracked into the 11s, with a best of 11.98 at 120 mph. Good enough for a while-a short while. Joel wanted more, but it had to remain, "completely steetable."

So, with just 38,000 miles on the drivetrain, Joel had the LT1 bored .020 over, then fitted it with Eagle rods, J&E forged pistons, and Total Seal rings, all swinging on the stock crank, and topped it off with a pair of Air Flow Research heads. He opted for a GM Performance Parts LT4 "Hot Cam" kit to open the valves further and for a longer time, to take maximum advantage of the freer breathing heads, and re-used the "old" Extrude Honed LT1 intake, but equipped it with higher flowing Bosch 24 lb-hr. injectors. He replaced the original clutch with a Clutchmasters unit to handle the expected additional power. The only other driveline revision was having a 3.73:1 ring-and-pinion installed in the otherwise stock rearend.

With that combination, on the by-now well-used M&Hs, Joel's graduation gift has run 11.69 at 121 "on the motor" and an incredible 10.40 at 137 with his two-stage, homebrewed nitrous system activated. What makes this all the more impressive is that the yellow '92 is still a daily driver with cold-blowing air conditioning and all of its original comfort and luxury gear. The only alteration to the interior is for safety-an Autopower five-point rollcage. Joel hasn't compromised the Z07 suspension setup either. In fact, rather than messing up the car's excellent handling for his occasional quarter-mile sprints, he's upgraded its capabilities with a Doug Rippie coilover conversion, using DRM shocks at the rear and 12-way adjustable HALS up front, plus big Baer Racing brake rotors at all four corners.

The yellow paint that caught Joel's attention back on that fateful summer day in 1993 is still there, augmented only by a custom rear wing and a set of 17 x 9.5-inch OZ Racing wheels shod with 275/40 and 315/35 BFGoodrich Comp T/A ZRs. While Joel is justifiably proud of his C4's superb performance (which includes beating John Hennesey and one of his highly vaunted 600 Vipers at a Vette/Viper shootout-twice!) and daily driveability, he's not resting on his laurels. After putting 45,000 miles on the nitrous'd 350, Joel's now building a 383 stroker, looking for 9-second timeslips and the same sort of reliability and driveability he's so used to. It looks as though "The Quickest Street Vette In Texas" is only going to get a lot quicker!

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