(97)Corvette -- 1984-96 C4 is One of Today's Best Performance-Car Values



Chevrolet's brawny plastic-bodied two-seater has long been a dream machine for countless enthusiasts. Today, that dream is more in reach than ever. The fourth generation or "C4" version of these cars are absolute steals on used-car lots.

These potent performers made their debut for 1984, replacing the soft, boulevardier 1968-82 "Shark" design. With vastly improved aerodynamics and extensive use of aluminum in its construction, the C4 was enormously more capable than its predecessor.

Throughout the C4's long production run, practically every model year brought significant improvements, including revised suspension, higher-quality interiors, and new electronic performance aids. Horsepower for 1984 was a somewhat tame 205, but it went up by 25 hp the next year and continued to steadily climb. A convertible was introduced for 1986, and the following year horsepower reached 240.

For 1990, the C4 got a redesigned dashboard, followed a year later with an exterior facelift that included more rounded front- and rear-fascia styling. For 1992, horsepower jumped to 300. From 1990 to 1995, Chevrolet offered the limited-production ZR-1, which was powered by a 375-405hp Lotus-designed V8. Output of the regular small-block-V8 C4 peaked in 1996, at an optional 330hp.

With strong V8 power and exceptional handling, any C4 is a tremendously potent machine, even against some of today's pricier new performance cars. Best of all, you can find loads of good C4s practically anywhere in the U.S. for less than $10,000.

When shopping for a C4, it's best to look for as late a model as you can, to take advantage of the many refinements the design received over the years. The most desirable cars are the 1992 and later ones. Besides having considerably more power, their softer styling is less 1980s "high-tech" and thus doesn't look as dated at this point.

Early C4 coupes (1984-91) show up by the truckload for less than eight grand, with a fair number of them listing for under $5000. But realistically, you should expect to pay $6000 or more for a decent one. Scrounge up at least another thousand or two on top of that if you have your heart set on a good 1992-96. As for ZR-1s, forget about 'em -- they currently sell for about $25-$40k.

Convertibles command about a 30-percent premium over equivalent coupes, which basically puts the 1992-96 ragtops out of our $10k Budget-Speed cap. Earlier convertibles, however, are still within range.

So while the performance-car world is drooling over new C6s or shopping for used C5s, these cars' fine predecessor is going for clearance-sale prices. And that's great for you -- a good used C4 can offer more thrills per dollar than most performance cars, making them well worth a look.

For more about affordable performance cars, along with drive-test articles on today's hottest sports cars, sport compacts, and muscle cars, go to
About the Author

David Bellm is a seasoned test driver and automotive writer. His work has been featured in a wide variety of online and print publications.

Written by: David Bellm

(98)Custom Car Covers For That Perfect Fit!


Bob Crowley and his wife, Teresa, were proud of their silver Honda Accord. Despite living in the city and parking their car right on the street, their '98 Accord was nearly free of dings. The finish looked just as good as when they purchased the car. How could this be possible? With kids playing stick ball, tight parallel parking, air pollution, and pigeons that frequently splattered cars up and down the street, no car was immune from the regular insults of urban living. For the Crowley's it was no mystery: a custom fitted car cover was placed over their Accord whenever it was parked to give it maximum protection. For an investment costing less than two hundred dollars you can protect your car too. Please read on to discover all the advantages of utilizing a high quality car cover.

Without exception, a custom fitted car cover offers the best protection for any vehicle. With side mirror pockets, a high quality car cover will fit your vehicle snuggly much in the way a well fitted dress graces a woman's body or as a glove fits a hand. The benefit is a car cover that stays in place without flapping in the wind or sliding off.

Moreover, a custom fitted car cover will protect your car from the following:

Moisture - With four layers of protection a custom fitted car cover will resist moisture and protect your car's finish from acid rain, road salt, hail, sleet, and snow.

Pollution - Air pollution, dirt, and flying debris can all wreak havoc on your car's finish in no time. A high quality car cover will prevent your finish from looking old before its time.

Nature - In the city you have a burgeoning pigeon population to contend with, while in the suburbs you have squirrels, birds, and a host of other little critters who see your car as an invitation to leave their mark upon. Even if nature's critters like your car cover, they won't be able to do harm to your car.

Sunny Days -- You protect your skin with sunscreen, right? Don't think for a moment that your car's finish isn't immune from harmful solar rays. Even the best finishes come under attack and need protection. Regular washes and waxing does help, but in between times your finish is under constant assault.

Small Impacts -- No, a car cover won't protect your vehicle from another car slamming into it, but it can protect your car from someone who opens their door and bangs into your car as well as kids on skates who get a kick out using your hood as a seat for rest.

Intruders -- Why is it that strangers think nothing of peering into your unoccupied car when you are not around? Don't think for a moment they are admiring the design of your interior! Likely, someone is casing your car for anything of value left out in full view or they are admiring your Bose sound system. Regardless, a car cover keeps the snooping folks away. What they can't see they aren't likely to go after.

High quality car covers such as those made by Covercraft can offer the best protection for your car. Each custom fitted car cover is developed for the specific make and model of your car no matter whether it is a Honda, BMW, Dodge, Kia, or any other vehicle. The more layers it consists of means better protection for your vehicle too. Select one with side pocket mirrors and your vehicle will receive maximum protection. Truly, for what amounts to a small investment a custom fitted car cover offers an excellent return on the money.

About the author:

Matt Keegan is an auto enthusiast and a contributing writer for the Custom Car Covers shop, wholesalers of BMW car covers and Honda car covers.

Written by: Matthew C. Keegan

(99)Customizing your Car- Pinstriping Basics


Did you know pinstriping has a long history? Even before the invention of automobiles, pinstriping was used as an ornamental decoration for horse and buggy carriages.
Custom pinstripes started appearing on automobiles in the mid-1950s. Although pinstriping had been on cars long before that, the last American car to appear with auto pinstriping had been made by General Motors in the late 30’s.
For those individuals with muscle or sports cars, customizing their ride is an important part of owning and showcasing the vehicle, and pinstriping is a final touch.

Pinstripes are commonly painted in two colors: one that sets off the body color, and another, thin line, in a color contrasted with the stripe to make it stand out.

Mechanical pin striping is the best way to stripe larger vehicles- trucks, vans, or station wagons. The benefit is it lays down stripes of constant width, letting you focus attention on getting the stripe oriented properly along your working surface. You can set up your stripe lines using magnetic pinstriping strips with center grooves designed to be paint templates. They hold fast to steel surfaces, and can also work as guidea for your hand.

Striping with stencil tape is also popular. There are several types of stencil tape that are suitable for auto pinstriping applications. Stencil tape striping uses brushes, and a specialized pinstriping brush is an essential ingredient in a successful project. Stencil tape allows you to apply different color stripes without needing the other stripes to dry.

Freehand pinstriping is the most difficult method, requiring the most practice to master, but permits unrestricted creativity. The simplest plan for a freehand striping newbie is to lay a strip of masking tape down approximately a quarter inch from where you want the finished line to be, and then use this tape as visual guiding for your stripes. Whatever you do, don’t use regular masking tape, or your pinstriping paint will bleed under the edge. Get some auto body masking tape from an auto supply store.

No matter what method you use, pinstriping is one of the finest ways to make your vehicle distinctive. Just like anything else worth doing right, practice makes priceless results but having the best equipment you can get your hands on helps too.


About the Author

Carlo Morelli is a contributor to where you can read more about pinstriping

Written by: Carlo Morelli

(100)Discount Car Insurance Brokers - Get Amazing Comparisons.


To get the cheapest possible quote for your car insurance, your best bet is an online discount car insurance broker. A broker does not deal with one specific car insurance company, but rather searches through every available company to find you the best possible quote. When you contact a discount car insurance broker online, you just supply the information about the make and model of the car, your age and driving record to get the discount quotes you need.

When you contact a discount car insurance broker, you can get as many as 20 free online car insurance quotes at the same time. When you submit the necessary information to the broker, he/she sends it out to all the insurance companies he/she deals with. Each of these comes back with a quote as to how much they would charge for your car insurance needs.

When you submit the information, make sure you specify the coverage you need to have with the policy. The price you get in a free online car insurance quote depends on the coverage you request. This way you know that each quote you get from the discount car insurance broker is for the same type of policy and that you are comparing the prices of the same thing.

Once you receive all the quotes, then you can sit back and compare them. The best thing about going through a discount car insurance broker for car insurance is that you have a chance at getting a cheaper insurance rate from a company in another city that you would probably never contact on your own. Once you decide which one you want to select, the broker will make the necessary arrangements and take care of getting the policy printed for you.

You do not have to pay a discount car insurance broker for his/her services yourself over and above the cost of the car insurance. This cost is already included in the free online car insurance quote you receive and the insurance company pays the discount car insurance broker a commission for making the sale. Using this type of service for your car insurance is almost like one-stop shopping. A broker takes all the guesswork out of getting the best possible deal.

However don’t assume that once you have your quote from a discount car insurance broker this is all there is to car insurance. Make sure you insure with a good company.

About the Author

For a website about Car Insurance visit Peter's Website Car Insurance Answers and find out about Auto Insurance Comparisons as well as Auto Insurance Rates and more, including UK Car Insurance, online Car Insurance and Car Insurance Quotes.

Written by: Peter Crump


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