{tag:53} 1988 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe
Chevrolet Corvette
Heavily Modified

Ground Up Build: Project Stalker

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General Vehicle Information

Year: 1988
Manufacturer: Chevrolet
Model: Corvette
Trim: Coupe
Exterior Color: Giallo Modena Yellow
Interior Color: Black / Yellow
Current Mileage: 
Owner: @JRW - Flemington, NJ, United States

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vehicle specifications


Motor: Naturally Aspirated 406CI L98 V8
Transmission: 700R-4 4-Speed Automatic
Drive Configuration: RWD

Vehicle or Project Description

This project started over 10 years ago with the intention of creating a fun custom sports car based on a Corvette. My goal was to have very few original GM parts left, making the car look and drive like nothing else on the road.

It began life as a pretty plain 1988 C4 Chevrolet Corvette with a black body and saddle interior (tan). It was powered by the L98 350cid V8 engine, 700R4 automatic transmission, D36 3.07 rear end and Z52 suspension. It may have been exciting when it was released in the late 80’s, but by today’s standards, it features an uninspired engine and dated styling.

Through the course of the project, virtually all aspect of the car have been modified including the power train, exterior, interior, safety systems, and stereo. The car has truely been transformed into something unique. Many people feel that it is sac-religious to modify (or in their words ‘destroy’) any Corvette, but C4 Vettes are very abundant and have not held their values very well… making them the perfect choice for such a project.

engine specification header

Engine Specs

The engine remains naturally aspirated, but now displaces 406 cubic inches. Air enters through a larger throttle body and TPIS Mini-Ram induction system and exits through Hooker long tube headers and custom larger exhaust system. The fuel and spark management is controlled by an Accel Generation 7 DFI system that is programmed via a laptop.

* Brodix -10x heads port matched to 1205, 62cc chamber 210cc runners (rebuilt and milled) with new valves, guides, springs, retainers and locks

Component Manufacturer Specification / Part #
400ci Small Block Chevrolet Bored .030 Over / 509 4 Bolt Main
Pistons Wiseco Forged with Plasma-Moly Rings
Connecting Rods Lunati Forged
Crank Shaft Eagle Forged
Head Bolts ARP
Cam Shaft TPIS Solid Roller Cam (242/242)
Lifters Comp Cams Roller Lifters
Timing Set Comp Cams
Push Rods Lunati
Heads Brodix *See Above
Roller Rockers Crower Stainless Steel
Intake TPIS MiniRam (port matched to heads)
Fuel Injectors Accel 36lb
Throttle Body Accel 100cfm / 58mm
Fuel Management System Accel Gen7 DFI ECU / Harness
Oil Pump High flow w/ welded pickup
transmission and drivetrain specification header

Transmission & Drivetrain Specs

The original transmission was replaced with a ProBuild Street/Strip unit and the D36 rear end was replaced with a D44 unit.

Component Manufacturer Specification / Part #
Transmission Pro Built Street / Strip 700R-4
Rear End Dana 44 3.45 Gears
Torque Converter Vigilante 3,500rpm Stall

Suspension Specifications

Energy Suspension bushings were installed along with a set of coil-overs from Exotic Muscle to help the car in the twisties. Baer brakes help keep all of the power in check. It rides on either Corvette ZR1 wheels or a custom set of HRE wheels.

Component Manufacturer Specification / Part #
Suspension Exotic Muscle Coilovers
Bushings Energy Suspension

Brake Specifications

Brakes have been upgraded to a 13.5" Baer brake package with 6-piston Alcon calipers.

Component Manufacturer Specification / Part #
Brake Rotors Baer 13.5" Cross Drilled / Slotted
Brake Calipers Baer / Alcon 6-Piston
Brake Lines Baer Stainless Steel

Exterior and Body Details

In order for the car to stand out from others on the road, a custom body was necessary. Simple bolt on ground effects would not be enough to turn heads, so a full kit was installed from American Custom Industries (ACI) called the ‘Stalker’. It features new front and rear bumpers, side and door panels, a low profile rear wing, wheel well moldings and mirror caps.

It replaces the belt-line molding and changes the vehicle from that point downward. The only parts of the body that remain stock are the hood, roll bar, and glass. In addition to the Stalker body, a hatch off of an older C4 Corvette was installed for a cleaner look without the 3rd brake light.

The car was painted twice. The first paint job did all of the door jams and hard to reach areas. There are virtually no traces of the original color without removing parts. The second paint job was completed after all of the car’s modifications were complete leaving a nearly flawless shine from top to bottom.

Interior Details

The entire saddle interior was scrapped at the beginning of the project. The floor boards and all interior panels were coated with sound deadening materials from Cascade Audio Engineering. It helps keep the noise and heats levels down in the cockpit. A new black interior was installed with mass backed carpet.

The stock ‘Atari’ digital gauges and center information center was removed making way for a custom analog gauge cluster from Autometer. Directly in front of the driver resides a large speedometer and tachometer along with smaller gauges monitoring oil temperature, oil pressure and coolant temperature flanked by led indicators for high beams and blinkers. The center part of the dash houses gauges to monitor fuel level and voltage. Also in the center of the dash are switches that control master voltage, ignition, fuel, stereo and radiator fan. To keep the driver safe, a four point roll bar and Corbeau racing seats were added.

Safety Equipment

  • 4 Point Harness
  • 4 Point Roll Bar
  • Master Cutoff Switch

Stereo System & Electronics

What car build would be complete without a custom stereo system? The stereo for this project was kept relatively simple. An AM/FM CD receiver was installed in the factory location in the dash. It is the sole source unit and acts as the system’s equalizer and crossover. Signals are then sent on to two amps which power a set of components up front, a set of coax speakers in the rear, and a single subwoofer.
The front components were installed with the mid-woofers in the doors, tweeters in the dash, and crossovers installed just behind the arm rest. The rear coax speakers are installed in the factory locations. A custom subwoofer box and amp rack were installed in the rear hatch just behind the seats. The enclosure is trimmed in black carpet and material matching the seats. All power wire is 4 gauge and speaker wire is 12 gauge.
The result is a clean and powerful stereo that is a perfect compliment to the rest of the car’s modifications.

Component Manufacturer Part # / Specification
Head Unit Eclipes AM/FM CD Player
4 Channel Amplifier Xtant
Mono Amplifier Xtant
2- Way Components Image Dynamics 6.75" Mid's / 1" Tweeters
Coaxial Speakers Image Dynamics 6.5" Mid's
Subwoofer Boston Acoustics 12" in Custom Box

Wheel & Tire Specifications

Wheels: Chrome Plated Chevrolet ZR-1
Front: 17" x 9.5"
Rear: 17" x 11"
Tires: BF Goodrich Comp T/A
Front: 275/45ZR17
Rear: 305/35ZR17

Build & Ownership Details

I have owned this car for over 22 years now. Its still a work in progress.

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