1987 Chevrolet Corvette - Yen And Now

A Globe-Trotting C4 Finds A Home Down Under

Christopher R. Phillip Jan 1, 2009 0 Comment(s)
Vemp_0901_06_z 1987_chevrolet_corvette Rear_view 2/13

The resulting restoration encompassed the paint, the engine, the suspension, and the interior. "I wet-sanded the car with 2000-grit and buffed it. It looks good in the daylight and also in the photos," Thompson says.

The next area of focus was the engine. Like all non-Callaway '87 Corvettes, this example is powered by a 5.7L L98 rated at 240 hp. Engine internals include a nodular iron crankshaft, cast rods, and impact-cast aluminum pistons. The stock 163cc aluminum heads feature 1.94/1.50-inch valves, which are actuated by 1.5-ratio rocker arms. The original "14093643" camshaft still coordinates valvetrain activity to the tune of 202/206-degree duration at 0.050-, 0.403-/0.415-inch lift, and a 114-degree lobe-separation angle.

Vemp_0901_07_z 1987_chevrolet_corvette L98_engine 3/13

Owner-added mods include a BBK 52mm ported throttle body, an Edelbrock high-flow intake/runner combo, and coated Pacesetter long-tube headers with 13/4-inch primaries. The car's output now measures 320 hp at the crank, according to Thompson-good enough for quarter-mile e.t.'s of just 13.34 seconds.

All that power is controlled by a stock 700R4 automatic trans and channeled to a Dana 36 rear loaded with 2.59 gears. Braking power was upgraded with a set of Baer twin-piston calipers and 330mm slotted rotors, while reproduction ZR-1 five-spoke wheels wrapped in 17-inch Sumitomo rubber give this Vette a symbolic connection to its past life in Japan. To further improve handling, Z51 front and rear sway bars, Koni three-way adjustable shocks, and polyurethane bushings augment the otherwise-stock suspension components.

Vemp_0901_08_z 1987_chevrolet_corvette Driver_side_view 4/13

Inside, the Vette's cabin was refurbished with seat covers and door panels from Eckler's. The original Canadian gauge cluster was retained, but a Pioneer head unit was chosen to replace the Japanese-frequency Delco/Bose stereo.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this Corvette's display, however, is its panoply of chrome and polished metal. The list is a long one, encompassing everything from major items such as the intake manifold and valve covers to ancillary gear like the thermostat housing, dipstick, and hood latches. The chrome was plated by Brian Atkinson of Prestige Metal Refinishers in Mount Crosby, along with Troy Sheppard. And the shine? "I did all the polishing myself," Thompson says.

Vemp_0901_12_z 1987_chevrolet_corvette Suspension 5/13

Even without a fresh, professional coat of paint, Thompson is racking up the show trophies with his Corvette. "I've had 14 total wins, two runners-up, and two 'Best Engine Bay' awards," he says. "I started off in the Standard class, progressed to Personal, and now I'm in Modified. My plans for the future are to clean and repaint the bonnet, lower the car, polish the rearend, and ceramic-coat the rest of the exhaust. I'm going to get some AFR heads at Christmastime, and when BBK releases its new intake and runners, I'd like to get those, too."

In the meantime, Thompson plans to keep driving his award-winning Corvette whenever he can and enjoying all the accolades it receives along the way. Although this well-traveled C4 has turned a tire on three continents, there's still one place it hasn't been, according to Thompson: "I think one of these days I'll take it out for sushi."


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