Is any car more American than the Corvette? Originally named after a small, highly maneuverable warship, today “Corvette” means one and only one thing—America’s Sports Car.
It’s the Gold Standard for American sports cars. Full stop. Ford and Chrysler might beg to differ, but while the GT40 and Viper may trade positions with Vettes on race day, their starting MSRPs price them out of the everyman’s reach. A quick google suggests a 2021 C8 Corvette starts at US$60k, while the Viper starts at $90k, and the GT40 starts at nearly $140k. The Corvette’s relative affordability and higher sales volume over the span of now, 68 years simply means it’s more accessible.
Recently, we’ve been swimming C8 talk. Where the C7 adopted enough Italian styling cues to very easily be mistaken for a Ferrari on the street, the C8 finally completes the transformation and joins the world super car club with a mid-mounted, flat-plane V8. It’s the biggest, most radical departure from the original recipe and it’s highly polarizing. There’s been a lot of talk about the new Corvette.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, every gearhead has a favorite Corvette. The C1 was the OG, with its stylish coves and duck tail. The C2 brough the split-window Sting Ray. The C3 had those rocket ship curves. And then, in 1983, GM completely redesigned the whole thing, bringing the C4 to market.
This brings me to our guest today, Mike Munsie has a C4 Corvette. A 1993, 40th Anniversary Edition.
It’s an amazing machine!
[tgp] Introductions: Tell us a little bit about you and your car. My understanding is it’s a 1993 40th Anniversary Corvette. Anything else you’d like to mention?
[mm] Hi Brian! Thank you for the opportunity to share my story about my 1993 Corvette! It is a 40th Anniversary edition, and I purchased this February of last year. I’ve always loved the fourth generation corvette – pretty much since my childhood and my introduction to the original Need For Speed.
The Grand Sport edition of this generation really made me fall in love with the C4. The giant stripe down the middle and the side hash stripe just really added a whole new dynamic to the vehicle. I knew that one of the first things I had to when I bought this was to replicate some of the styling such as the Grand Sport Wheels, and a nice red hash stripe.
A little bit about me:
[mm] My name is Mike Munsie and I am from Dallas, TX. I have a beautiful wife that I’ve been married to for a little over seven years, and we have a few crazy cats who want all the attention in the world. Professionally, I am a Web Developer with over 10 years of experience writing web apps and marketing sites and I’ve really enjoyed it. On my down time, I’ve gotten into photography and have focused specifically on car photography and post processing. I started my Instagram early last year and have absorbed myself in the corvette community and have had a blast making edits for people and learning how to do car shoots. I am also a huge gamer and play Age of Empires nearly every night with my wife and friends.
On C4 Corvettes
[tgp] The most important automotive opinions are those of real, actual owners. As a C4 owner, could you share a little unvarnished truth with the rest of us? What do you love about them? What do you not love about them?
[mm] As much as I do love my C4, there are definitely some surprises!
I’ll start with the positives first:
- I really love the styling of this car. I was going for a retro futuristic look and I think it looks great!
- You feel everything in this vehicle—it’s a very raw driving experience! The car rattles and shakes and it’s not luxurious at all, but wow there is never a drive that isn’t exciting.
- The soft top comes off very easily
- Surprising amount of power! This car has the LT1 and 300hp and it still moves for 2020!
- I love the driver oriented cockpit and it’s great to see how forward thinking they were in 1993! That design has translated into all newer Corvettes.
And now some negatives:
- Even though I bought the car at only 23k miles, I had to do quite a bit of fixes early on to make this a daily driver. The weatherstripping was bad, the transmission had to be rebuilt, the speakers weren’t working, the passenger seat belt wouldn’t tighten when pressing the brakes (or really just never tighten at all), and my original factory security system didn’t work correctly.
- I wish the speedometer would update a little faster. The digital speedometer has a slight delay, so you could be going 45mph, step on it, and be magically at 60mph with only a few updates. I am definitely a fan of a quicker updating display, or non-digital speedometer.
- It’s hard for everyone to get in and out of this car.
- The cup holders are just for aesthetics. Never put your drinks in there. Trust me.
[tgp] The Corvette’s been around long enough that every generation seems to have its own healthy aftermarket and owner community. How did you end up in the C4 camp? Why this car?
[mm] More of a personal choice, I had the option at the time to pick between a C5 and a C4 for the price range, but I love the look of the C4 and felt that this was a car that suited me best. I am the type of owner who admires the aesthetics and enjoys a decent amount of performance. I plan on adding a little more performance over the next year, but I’m trying to keep around the 400hp range so that I can daily this comfortably.
The Corvette Community
[tgp] How’s the Corvette community doing these days? Where do y’all hangout, share tech, and whatnot?
[mm] I’m still rather new to the community, but for me it’s Reddit (r/corvette) and Instagram. I also use Park Up Front to discover upcoming car meets, and funny enough I’ve met Corvette owners through the cyberpunk and outrun communities. I am more on the photography side, so most of my social outlets are going to be places where people showcase their rides. After Covid, I plan on attending more meets and meeting new people!
This Gearhead Life
[tgp] When you think about automotive culture in general, what stands out as being the biggest issue we should be working on together? What’s your biggest concern and what should we be doing about it?
[mm] I think the biggest issue is we’ve built a stigma around certain vehicles and car manufacturers over the years that just aren’t accurate. The Kia Stinger is a great example of a car that has everything going for it, but many people overlook it because it’s a Kia. The same could be said about the C4 Corvette on how it’s the slowest Corvette and you can get a C5 instead for just a little more, but that doesn’t mean the C4 isn’t a good car. People focus so much on performance and brand identity that they forgot what really makes a car special to someone—how it makes them feel. That’s why I love watching POV reviews on cars and really getting an idea of what the car is actually like. I also enjoy reading stories from owners of certain vehicles and getting the bigger picture.
People focus so much on performance and brand identity that they forgot what really makes a car special to someone—how it makes them feel.Mike Munsie
[tgp] Who’s made the biggest difference in your life with cars? How so?
[mm] Honestly, there’s not a person, but a game instead. Need for Speed made me fall in love with cars. Because of this game, I started car spotting, learning more about cars and their performance, and got into racing simulation games like Gran Turismo where I could pretend I owned the car and raced it. I knew I would one day own a sports car, and as I got older I’ve had the opportunity now to own a few and I could never go back to driving a boring car again.
Boring cars make for boring drives, bro.
Mike hits the nail on the head with this one. Technology has enabled a whole new level of Keeping-up-with-the-Joneses extremism. The badge on the hood either makes or breaks any amount of personalization, while a never-ending arms race for dyno slips and lap times makes it harder and harder for us to just sit back and enjoy what we’ve got.
To this gearhead, the Corvette will always be special. The C1-C3 represent the early, classic car days of the platform. The C7-C8 represent the future. The C4-C6, however, represent the ideal. Big V8 out front. Fat meats out back. Seating for two. Practical technology. All wrapped in unmistakable plastic. This is the way.
The Corvette, like the United States of America, is a work in progress. It’s a testament to real, attainable performance and style for any who would seek it. Each generation has its bright spots and its flaws, but considered with the lens of the larger whole, on a larger, global stage, it works. And it works in ways any gearhead, anywhere in the world can appreciate.
These aren’t the cars for everyone—but what car is the car for everyone? The Volkswagen Beetle? We gearheads can see both sides of this equation. The point is, I see a Corvette, I like a Corvette. It really is America’s Sports Car.
Special thanks to Mike for taking the time to share his story with us today!