1990 Chevrolet Corvette - Southern Cooking

Queensland's Raymond Doyle whips up a new kind of Corvette cuisine

Christopher R. Phillip Jun 25, 2007 0 Comment(s)
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Underneath the hood (which is so pristine we were told gloves were required before touching it) is an iron-block L98 displacing 383 ci. It retains its stock bore of 4.00 inches but has been stroked to 3.75 inches with a Scat cast crank. The meat of the rotating assembly features Scat I-beam connecting rods and Keith Black flat-top pistons.

The heads are Dart Pro 1s, a true dessert topping compared with the factory originals. The Darts feature 200cc intake runners, 64cc combustion chambers, and stainless 2.02/1.60 valves. They use hardened exhaust seats and mag-bronze valve guides and are nicely trimmed with GM Performance Parts polished center-bolt valve covers. The compression ratio has been bumped more than a full point over stock, to 10.5:1.

An appropriately spicy valvetrain is integral to the very flavor of this "Southern" meal. Doyle selected a Comp Cams hydraulic roller with 268/276-degree duration and-when teamed with Crane 1.6-ratio roller rockers-0.570/0.565-inch lift.

Up top, a Holley billet 58mm throttle body connects with an ACCEL high-flow TPI intake with ported siamesed runners. The Vette still runs its original factory ECU, though the computer has been upgraded with a remapped chip. The ignition is an MSD 6AL routed through MSD wires to NGK Iridium plugs. Side dishes include an intake power coupler, a relocated MAF sensor, an air-pump eliminator, and an adjustable fuel-pressure regulator.

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The front suspension adds serving-dish panache with polished upper and lower control arms. The rear end is a stock Dana 36 housing 2.59 gears. Aside from the RHD conversion, the interior appears 100 percent factory original.

The exhaust system is more than the garnish for this already perfect meal. Call it instead the coup de grace. According to Custom Exhaust Specialists (CES) owner Trevor Campbell, the C4's hand-made "extractors" (Australian slang for headers) "...are fabricated from mild steel pipework. All spark plugs are accessible, with good clearance to all engine parts and steering components. [The headers] are designed to retain original Corvette header bolts and also to allow all A/C components and brackets to fit. The header pipes use a High Performance Coatings (HPC) aluminum-ceramic coat that resembles polished silver. Once baked and polished, they come out looking like an aluminum wheel, and they reduce underhood temperature and increase horsepower by up to 25 percent."

The scrumptious C4 cruises on '91-'96 Corvette "sawblade"-style factory rims wrapped in Goodyear Eagle GS-C 275/35-17 front and 315/35-17 rear tires.

Doyle tells us his quest to create the perfect C4 has been unending. "I started out to rebuild it as original as possible. I have had the vehicle now for four years and have changed it dramatically...in that time."

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One of those changes includes an authentic '93 Corvette body kit from General Motors/Holden of Australia. The body kit, combined with Bondock's and Doyle's incredible craftsmanship, truly makes this C4 a one-of-a-kind chef-d'oeuvre.

In the last 10 years, Doyle's car has won more First Place awards than any other C4 Corvette we've encountered. Shown at right, the list of trophies is practically beyond belief.

Since our photo shoot, Doyle has added an ACCEL/Lingenfelter Super Ram EFI intake and nabbed another First Place, this time at Australia's Grand National Concours. Doyle estimates that the Vette is good for 430 horsepower in its current configuration-185 hp more than when it left the factory back in 1990.

At a build cost of around $130,000 (Australian), Doyle's C4 represents Southern cuisine at its finest. In fact, considering all the trophies the Vette has tallied, we wouldn't be surprised to see Raymond Doyle end up with his own TV cooking show. Maybe it will be called "Cooking with Raymond" or, better still, "Everybody Loves Raymond's...C4 Corvette." In either case, the program is bound to revolve around one thing: fast food.


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