1986 Chevy Corvette C4 - The C4.5

What Do You Call A C4 That Looks Like A C5? We Call It...

John Nelson Jun 1, 2001 0 Comment(s)

Of course, it all sounds very easy and straightforward here. In fact, the process was time-consuming and intricate, and adapting the C5 styling cues to the C4 bumper covers was the "easy" part. Jim also created a new "clamshell" for the C4, using a custom high-rise hood up top and the molds he'd made of the C5 pieces to incorporate the newer car's coves into the custom piece. Finding the cost of C5 doorskins prohibitive, Jim created his own, minus doorhandles (a remote system handles opening chores) and with the appropriate character lines running into the coves.

Jim knew that he wanted wider-than-stock rubber out back. In fact, he'd already created an upper deck/quarter-panel piece for a convertible that featured 2-1/2-inch flared fenders. So, following his theme of using pieces he'd already created whenever possible, Jim adapted the drop-top part to the coupe, filled the wheelwells with ZR-1 inner splash shields, and blended the bulging fenders into the C5-esque rear bumper cover. He eliminated the antenna hole, and reshaped the gas lid area, utilizing a '73 Corvette hinge. He then adapted stock C5 mufflers and tailpipes to the older Vette, filling the cover's center notch with the now-familiar quartet of exhaust tips, and completing the new-Vette rear end look.

Along the way, the fact that Jim was working from pieces that had already been designed to fit on a C4 paid dividends. All the reinforcements hiding behind the new bumper covers are factory C4 items, along with all nuts, bolts, clips, and fasteners. The C5 running lights even plugged into the C4 pigtail harnesses. In fact, the car is virtually bone-stock, with the exceptions of the bodywork (of course), the exhaust system, and the Fikse wheels, 17x10 inches up front and 17x11 outback, shod with appropriately sized Z-rated Goodyear Eagle GS-C rubber, including ZR-1 sized 315/35R17 meats out back. An additional non-stock element is Sikens Majestic Amethyst paint that Jim and his wife Cyndi picked to top off this mix-and-match special.

Future plans may include a new engine (an LT5 or a 427/390 are possible candidates) and maybe Baer brakes. But for now, Jim's satisfied.

He figures that it took three years of working in his spare time just to create the molds, "easily" totaling 1,000 hours of work. He finally made it a shop project, and insists that his employees share the credit. The result is a car that others have told Jim is "the prettiest C4 out there." But what makes the whole thing worth it for Jim, however, is a more personal motivation. "I truly love to custom-build cars," he tells us. "Imagining ideas, and how to adapt the stuff to fiberglass...it's just fun." As getting exactly what you want almost always is.

Waldschmidt Automotive can be contacted at (650) 594-4986.


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