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LT4 Heaven

When She's Driving Her Red Hot Vette, Linda's in...

Rob Wallace III Aug 4, 2003

It was a warm June day in the summer of 2000. A day like many others for Linda Magallanes, a school nutritionist in Fremont, California, who was at home washing dishes. That is until Linda's husband, Anthony, walked into the kitchen and asked her to dry her hands. "I did, then he threw me a set of keys and said, 'have fun with it,' and walked away." Confused, Linda just stood there staring blankly until Anthony returned to say, "If you don't want it, I can take it back." That prompted her to move quickly towards the driveway, a where Torch Red '96 Corvette convertible with orange pinstripes sat.

"I looked at it, at the keys, and then at my husband and said, 'You're joking. You didn't buy this.'"

"If you don't want it, I can take it back," Anthony repeated.

Without waiting for a third chance, Linda quickly responded "NO, I WANT IT!" She then faced a tough decision--finish the dishes or take her new Corvette out for a spin. "Needless to say, after a big hug and many kisses, I quickly ran inside to get my purse and sunglasses. Once my husband explained a few things, like the First-to-Fourth shift point of the ZF six-speed gearbox, I was off. It was like a dream come true! The car is incredible to drive and has loads of power."

When Linda finally returned after an exhilarating first drive, Anthony at last explained the circumstances placing her behind the wheel. One of his friends was going to trade the C4 in for a new truck, but when they offered him wholesale for the Vette, he turned around and offered it to Anthony for the same price. Knowing that his soft-spoken wife loves the sun, red cars, and convertibles, he quickly bought it for her.

The extremely clean '96 had a modest 25K miles, and some very attractive features. Linda especially liked the chrome-plated standard rims, optional hardtop, and the ACI ground effects. But best of all, at least according to her husband, was the LT4 small-block under the hood. "I had no idea what that meant at the time. He explained that this engine was made for only one year. He said that an LT4 produced a very underrated 330 hp. By the look on my face, he could tell I still had no idea what he was talking about. So he said, 'It's one of the fastest Corvettes ever made, and it's definitely one of the quickest convertibles on the road.' Being the girl that I am, I really didn't care about the speed. I only cared that it was a convertible, it looked great, and that wing was really cool! Little did I know, I would soon get a severe case of LT4 fever!"

The C4 was basically stock when they bought it, other than the body kit and wing, but Anthony has been mildly doctoring the Vette ever since. He's added a K&N air filter as well as an airfoil, coolant bypass kit, and Flowmaster mufflers. Then came the Bose Gold Series stereo system with a 340-watt Eclipse amp powering the subwoofer, plus Pioneer 6x9s and Infinity mids and tweeters to enhance the tan and black interior. "He said these things were for me and I would like the car better with them. The stereo and the mufflers both have a nice sound to them, but I don't even know what the other things do." She has noticed, however, that Anthony now needs to take her Vette out more often to "gas it up," which is also taking longer and longer lately. "I think he's liking my car a little too much!"

Linda gets a lot of attention in her Vette. She hadn't owned it for long before she returned to it while running errands to find a couple hovering around it. "I walked up to the car and he asked if it was mine. I said yes. He asked what year it was, and I told him it was a '96. He asked if I knew what type of engine it had, so, being the newly born expert that I was, I smiled and told him it's an LT4. He stood there in disbelief and asked me if it was my husband's car. His wife cut in, 'she already told you it was hers.' 'But it's an LT4,' he responded. He then turned to her and said, 'This is faster than the Vette I had, and she's a girl.' His wife looked at me, smiled, and said, 'You go girl!'"

It's flattering to be told how quick your Vette is, but it's a lot more satisfying to prove it. "Even though the Corvette is fast, I don't drive it that way. I just love driving it with the top down, wearing my shades, and listening to the stereo." Still, Linda has no shortage of boy-racers who see a hot Corvette and want to strut their stuff. "When I drive the Vette, I often encounter other cars driving fast to catch up with me. As they pull up next to me, they start revving the engine. When they finally see that I'm a woman, they will usually just smile and turn off some where."

But occasionally they don't. "One day, a guy in a brand-new Mustang Cobra got up next to me and just kept revving loudly. I ignored him, but he wouldn't go away. When we stopped at a light and he continued, I decided to get rid of this nuisance." After looking around and deciding everything was clear, she dropped the hammer when the light went green. "I remember looking in my mirror and seeing a look of shock on his face," as she pulled away. At the next red light, the revving began again--apparently he was a slow learner. "I should've ignored him, but it was so much fun the first time." So she kicked his butt again! "My husband was right--this car is fast. Boy do I love it!"

She loves it so much, in fact, that when Anthony brought home a fully-loaded red '99 C5 convertible and told Linda she could have it if she traded in her LT4, she said no thanks. "Although the car was newer and very nice, I love the style of my C4 and I'm very happy with it." The same thing happened when he tried to get her into a Z06, "They're very nice, but I'm a convertible girl."

With three young kids, most of Linda's solo trips are local, but the Vette still gets plenty of opportunities to play. For instance, "whenever I need to pick up one of the kids up from school before the others, I will take the Corvette. When they see it, a huge smile and hug always comes next. Who would have guessed that a car could cause kids to be overjoyed with being seen in public with their parents!" Plus, Linda has noticed that Anthony takes her out more since getting the Vette. "He arranges for his mom to take care of the kids and has taken me up and down the Pacific Coast Highway. From Timber Cove to San Louis Obispo, Yosemite to Calistoga, and throughout the Napa wine country. This has turned out to be my date car. That's why I don't mind him doing some of the things to my Vette that he wants to." But no matter what, "you'll always see a smile on my face when I'm in my LT4!"


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