1988 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe - One Great ’88

This 11-second C4 packs a nitrous-urged small-block

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So often, Corvette owners invest untold hours and dollars in their cars, with the resulting car only generating mileage (footage?) while on a show field, or being driven on or off a trailer.

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This isn’t one of them.

In fact, one of the last times that Guy Moyers’s ’88 Corvette was on a trailer was when it was shipped from Bowling Green Assembly to its original selling dealer.

And it had covered plenty of distance by the time he saw it for the first time, back in the mid-’90s. “My wife and I were at a funeral in Virginia, and we saw it for sale on a corner lot,” Moyers says. “We did a quick U-turn, and we saw that it was a daily driver that had a lot of miles on it.” In fact, the 74,000-plus miles on the car then were all highway miles.

Before long, that ’88 was in Moyers’ Exton, Pennsylvania, garage and workshop. Before any modifications or upgrades went on it, Moyers went through it. “I went all over the car to make sure that it was mechanically sound,” he recalls. “I did any repairs myself.”

Over the next year and a half, Moyers went over the ’88 from one end to the other, detailing and cleaning it. As he puts it, “It took me three months just to clean the engine, because it was a driver. I got everything down to where I knew what I had, and then I started…tweaking it into the shape it is now.”

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That meant starting with the ’88’s body, which gained a Greenwood ground-effects kit that fit Moyers’ preference for C4 style and function. He then turned his attention to the suspension. “I put Bilstein shocks, heavy-duty sway bars, and higher-rate springs on, and polyurethane bushings from front to back,” he says.

Two years ago, he completely disassembled the rearend and rear suspension. “[I rebuilt] everything from the back of the car all the way up to the transmission,” he says. Next, he installed a Dana 44 rear with 3.73 gears and had the driveshaft re-balanced.

Vemp 1111 03 O 1988 Chevrolet Coupe Greenwood Ground Effects 4/11

Note that except for the driveshaft work, and the machining and reassembly of the short-block, Moyers did it all himself. That’s also how he upgraded the C4’s 350-inch L98 small-block and 700R4 overdrive automatic—all work done in his shop, except for machine-shop services.

When it came time to get into the powertrain, he’d sought out plenty of advice before he turned a wrench on it. “I planned the engine project for over a year before I actually started doing it,” Moyers says of his research, which led him to TPIS in Minnesota. “They gave me advice on how to keep everything compatible, so it works as a unit. The end result was an engine that exceeded my expectations.”

More specifically, that result was a Mini-Rammed 355 that puts out 483 rear-wheel horsepower (on a 100-horse shot of nitrous oxide), and pushes the C4 through the quarter- mile in the mid-to-high 11-second range. “If I could hook up better, it would be in the mid-to-low 11s,” Moyers adds.

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On the street, and on the twisty roads in and around the Delaware Valley, Moyers’ C4 is no less strong a runner. “The first time I tested it with the nitrous installed, my wife was scared to death of it—she thought it was going to explode!” Moyers says. “I opened it up on the [Pennsylvania] Turnpike, and she grabbed my leg and started screaming. I said, ‘I can tune out the screaming; just don’t grab me—that’s dangerous!’”

Since John Machaqueiro shot these pictures of the ’88, Moyers has updated it again, as he does each year when he has it off the road from October to April. “I changed the dash, and I’ve now got a complete Auto Meter analog gauge set in it. It’s gorgeous, with the white Phantom gauges.” The car has also thrown off some trouble codes, so he’s having TPIS reprogram his C4’s PROM to eliminate that problem.

Planning a C4 project of your own? For a lot of Corvette enthusiasts nowadays, that’s the easiest (and most affordable) way to tailor a Vette to their tastes. If that’s what you’re looking to do, Moyers has this advice:

Vemp 1111 05 O 1988 Chevrolet Coupe Dana 44 Rear 6/11

Moyers also made one mod that’s really cool. “I moved the transmission cooler from the front of the car all the way to the back,” he says. “I’ve now got a big B&M cooler on there with a fan on it.” That change now lets his C4’s 700R4 run 15 degrees cooler, while the engine runs 10 degrees cooler, too.

I would suggest that you speak to as many credible sources as you can,” he says. “Openly discuss with them what your vision is for the finished product, and then bring a very big checkbook—unless you’re prepared to do it all yourself.

“There are so many people that want to give you advice, but you really have to be able to confirm their credibility. You do that by asking around.”

Spec Sheet

'88 Coupe

Owner Guy Moyers; Exton, PA
Block L98 cast-iron, bored 0.030-inch and internally balanced
Displacement 355 ci
Compression Ratio 10.5:1
Power Adder 100hp “wet” nitrous-oxide system
Heads TPIS-ported “D-Port” heads
Valves Manley 2.00/1.56
Camshaft TPIS “ZZX” hydraulic roller (0.597-in lift, 241-deg duration, 112-deg LSA)
Rocker Arms Comp Cams 1.6 Magnum roller
Pistons Forged aluminum
Crankshaft Iron
Rods Forged steel
Intake TPIS Mini Ram with 58mm throttle body
Fuel Injectors 36-lb/hr
Oiling Melling high-volume pump, 7-qt pan with windage tray and scraper bar
Ignition MSD 6AL electronic with HVC-II coil
Exhaust System TPIS long-tube headers, 3-in pipes, Borla “Stinger” mufflers
Transmission Modified 700R4 automatic with external cooler and 3,200-rpm TCI torque converter
Driveshaft Stock, balanced with solid U-joints
Suspension Vette Brakes & Products heavy-duty front and rear springs, Bilstein shocks
Rearend Modified Dana 44 with 3.73:1 gears
Brakes Baer cross-drilled/slotted rotors (13-in front, 12-in rear), ’96 Grand Sport calipers
Wheels ’96 Grand Sport aluminum; 17x9.5 (front), 17x11 (rear)
Tires BFGoodrich Comp T/A 275/40R17 (front), BFG g-Force T/A Drag Radial 315/35R17 (rear)
Fuel Octane 93 (min)
Current Mileage 91,000
Miles Driven Annually 400-600

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