Welcome to My Wheels, Renwick. Your C4 is a treat for sore eyes, you just don’t see many of these anymore. How did you come across it?
Thanks for featuring me in the magazine. Well, I always wanted a classic car and had kept my eye peeled in case one happened to come along and was in my budget — and that’s exactly what happened with this car.
I work for a car dealership and one fine day one of my colleagues asked me if I was interested in buying a C4. The owner was migrating back to his home country and was looking to part with the Chevy and I was keen on it for sentimental reasons; the C4 was the first toy car that my father gave me when I was a kid, and I always dreamed of getting the real thing when I was older. My father used to work in the UAE and get me all types of different scale model cars and this built up my passion for motoring. In fact, my parents always tell me that the first word I said was “car” instead of mama or dada! It was a clear sign that cars would be an important part of my life. I keep that toy in the car now!
You have a big collection of scale model cars don’t you...
Yes I do, I have been collecting them since my childhood and have approximately 100 Chevrolets as it is my favourite brand. I have all sorts of generations of the Corvette, Camaro, Silverado and Tahoe which are neatly kept in a display cabinet at home while back in India I have another 100 more.
That’s a decent amount but when you have to start storing them in the bathroom that’s when you know you have a problem! Let’s get back to the C4 which was produced from 1984 to 1996 and got a completely new chassis and modern, sleeker styling. The power returned too — how much fun is it driving around in a 30 year old sportscar?
It’s a real thrill. Cars have evolved a lot since the Eighties for the better or worse; some new cars feel as if they have zero involvement but that’s certainly not the case with the Corvette as it is ever so engaging. You have to treat it with respect because it has so much low end torque that can catch you by surprise when you floor it.
Sure, it has some rattles and squeaks — but most General Motors cars of that era had that when they were brand new! However, it’s stood the test of time pretty well; nothing has fallen off and the car is all original. I love the sound of the engine and exhaust, it reminds me of a monster truck.
It’s got the good old Chevy small-block under the curvy bonnet; tell us about that L98 5.7-litre V8…
It had 240 horses when new and still feels as potent as ever. Also, with 345Nm of torque, it’s more than enough to light up the fat rear tyres.
The motor is bullet proof and with a regular maintenance, it’ll go on and on.
The second-generation Chevy small block, the LT1, upped power to 300 horses but do you feel you need more or are you happy with this being a cool cruiser?
I have seen a lot of people with similar age Corvettes go down the LS1 engine swap route but I don’t think this would be for me. I prefer to keep my car as original as possible. It’s exactly how it left the factory all those years ago.
The only thing I have done is to dress-up the exterior a little by adding a ‘Corvette’ decal on the windscreen, tyre valve caps with the Corvette badge on them, while the cabin has ‘Corvette’ seat belt straps. Other than that, all it’s had since I have owned it are hundreds of wax jobs to keep that red paint sparkling. I don’t have any plans to customise or modify anything else — I want to maintain its originality.
For the daily grind you’ve got a 2012 Toyota Fortuner which means the ’Vette is used sparingly…
That’s right — I drive it only on the weekends and enjoy it most on open, empty roads.
I can’t wait for the winter to start so I can take that targa top off and enjoy the cool, fresh air. It handles really well and has excellent grip and stability which gives you confidence but I don’t push it too hard, it’s older than I am!
I must say I am ever so proud to own this classic. It’s a childhood dream come true. I love the attention it gets; I’ve seen people stop and stare and give it the thumbs up when I drive past. That makes me feel good.
You have owned a varied bunch of cars — where does this one rank?
It sits at the top of the pile. It’s got everything; great looks, lots of power and it’s — as you point out — a rare sight on the roads these days.
I love it but I also cherished my very first car which was a 1985 Fiat Premier Padmini Deluxe. I still remember the number plate — MAP-7234. I have also owned a Lumina SS which was the first car I bought when I moved to the UAE.
It was good fun but now, I am all about
Your son Raphael loves it as much as you doesn’t he…
You can say that again! Whenever we go out for a family dinner he insists we take the Corvette but I have to explain to him that we can’t all fit — where would mummy sit? I won’t tell you what he says or I’ll be in trouble! Once he’s an adult he can drive me around. I’m looking forward to those father and son drives.