We all know how it works. It all begins with a single piece of chrome. One mere touch of personalization sets our Corvette down the long and twisting road from a relatively stock and humble daily driver to a show-winning ride.
Mike and Cynthia Hollyman of Garden Grove, California, have learned that lesson well. Mike grew up with a passion for cars that he picked up from his dad, and he has been tinkering and playing with hot cars himself on and off over the past 20 years. When he and Cynthia bought a low-miles '86 Corvette coupe in April 2000, the car was pretty clean and original. It was an attractive yet humble-as Corvette go, anyway-Silver Metallic automatic with the factory gray two-tone on the lower body. The stock L98 still pumped out a respectable 230 horsepower, and the Hollymans were very happy with the Vette as is-for a while.
It all began innocently enough. These things always do. Mike and Cynthia agreed that their '86 would look prettier if they eliminated the gray two-tone. Since the C4's paint was still in fine shape, they talked to Rich Evans of Huntington Beach Auto Body about simply spraying the lower body panels in Silver Metallic to match the rest of the car. They got to talking and brainstorming, and one thing led to another. The next thing you know, Mike and Cynthia had Rich squirting all of the Vette's plastic bodywork in voluptuous coats of fresh Metallic Silver. Next he added some striking, iridescent ChromaLusion ghost flames to the hood, fenders, and doors. The ghost flames shimmer subtly upon their silver basecoat, shifting in the light from completely invisible sometimes to varying hues of magenta, gold, purple, and multiples shades of blue. That simple old '86 Corvette was suddenly well on its way to becoming truly unique!
The addition of those ghostly flames really fueled Mike and Cynthia's fiery passion for the C4, and soon the Vette had its windows tinted dark-with iridescent flames carved onto both side windows as well. Then came the "black-out" lenses for the front running lamps, as well as the taillights that add to the quiet menace of this '86. They also enhanced the handling of the C4's Z51 suspension (not to mention furthering the Vette's eye appeal) with chrome 17-inch ZR-1 style wheels that wear 255/40 ZR-17 Pirelli P6000 tires and cover cross-drilled and dressed disc brakes with braided steel lines. The new KYB gas shocks are less visible but make their presence readily felt.
The gray interior with perforated leather-clad Sports Seats was transformed into a custom but classy cockpit. Custom gray and black swirled knurl wood overlays from J&D Corvette in Bellflower, California, add new depth to the C4's space-age digital dash, console, and door panels. Meanwhile chrome door sill panels add a bit of inviting sheen, and the very ergonomic Grant steering wheel wrapped in light gray and perforated darker gray reminds us that the driver's seat is meant for business. The Vette also sports custom floor and cargo mats by Lloyds. While a potent Pioneer sound system with a six-disc changer in the back helps set the mood while Mike and Cynthia are on the road, blue neon lights tucked away neatly throughout the interior accentuate its beauty when they show it.
All the cool heat radiating from the Corvette's shimmering specter-like flames naturally managed to seep through the hood and warm the engine bay accordingly. A car that becomes as prone to oogling as this '86 has obviously needs the muscle to enforce its superiority. With the original 3.08:1 gearing intact in the third member, and a B&M shift kit firming up the otherwise stock 700-R4 transmission, the iron head L98 has been mildly tuned up to 300 naturally aspirated horsepower. A free-flow ram air intake feeds into the TPS 52mm throttle body with large runners from SLP, a BBK adjustable fuel regulator monitors the corresponding flow of petrol from the Holley high-flow fuel pump, and an MSD coil sparks combustion via an ACCEL distributor and wires. Other touches to the motor include Edelbrock valve covers, underdrive pulleys, and extensive chrome plating. Exhaust is expelled out through an unmuffled chrome 2 1/2-inch crossover pipe, though the catalytic converters alone give the '86 a surprisingly mild yet crisp tone. And for good measure, since it's a scientific fact that there is no such thing as enough power, Mike and Cynthia also equipped the C4 with a 150hp shot of laughing gas from N.O.S.!
So just how much oogling does this '86 coupe earn? Well, the Hollymans have attended a handful of local shows since the Vette was completed in July 2003, including the Super Chevy Show at Pomona, Cruise for a Cure, The Gamblers Classic, Plastic Fantastic Corvette Show, The California Classic, Vette Set Corvette Show, Wild West Corvette Show, and Corvette Supersports car show-and won First Place in class at each. Heck, we even had a die-hard Ford fanatic came over to compliment the Vette during our photo shoot! Although Cynthia would eventually like a Shark for herself, it's understandable that Mike isn't in too big a hurry to jump back into the detailing and customizing fire. Besides, right now he and Cynthia are having a lot of fun together with their ethereal C4!