RideTech’s Upgrades Bring The C4 Corvette Back To The Forefront

The newest C4 Corvette (1984-1996) is now a quarter-century old and Chevrolet has learned a lot since the last C4 Corvette rolled off the assembly line. Back when the C4 Corvette was first introduced in the early 80s, its super technological suspension took the world by storm. So much so Goodyear was pushed to create a tire capable of handling its 1g lateral acceleration.

This photo of a super-rare 1989 ZR1 Corvette prototype tells the tale of many C4 Corvettes. Being prototypes, the cars were crushed by GM. Thankfully, many of these cars were located years later and preserved.

Prior to the C4’s space-age suspension, Corvette had only one other suspension upgrade during its prior three decades of production, and that lasted for almost twenty years! Prior to that, Corvette’s suspension was based on the 1939 Chevrolet passenger car’s underpinnings!

The C4 Corvette's suspension was space-age and modular. Many were cut out and used under various hot rods. You can see some of the benefits the C4 Corvette brought to the table, such as rack and pinion steering, lightweight control arms, and improved geometry via multi-linked rear suspension. The transverse spring from the previous generation carried over for the rear as well as the front suspension.

While the C4 Corvette still utilized a transverse spring (now on the front as well as the rear) like its predecessor generation, geometry really became the focus for Chevrolet’s engineers. It’s spindly (but lightweight) aluminum upper and lower control arms, coupled with dual trailing rods on each side supplied the necessary anti-dive and anti-squat geometry. Even during the C4 Corvette’s 11-year production run, changes were made to the suspension’s geometry to help improve upon the design.

One of the easiest and quickest ways to improve your C4's handling is by upgrading the shocks. The fact is, your C4 likely needs new ones anyway. RideTech offers both coilover and mono-tube shocks. For those severe track rats, RideTech's TQ-Series coilover shocks are double adjustable and feature an external reservoir.

In 1988, GM moved from its philosophy of stiff springs and shocks to engineering better geometry and bigger sway bars to provide better handling and ride characteristics. 1988 stands as the differentiating year between the early and late designs of C4 suspensions. Many components will not interchange between the two, so make sure those parts on Marketplace or a blue tarp are the right parts for your year/application. The Corvette Action Center has a comprehensive list of suspension changes and RPO codes to help you decipher your C4’s suspension.

That said, your C4’s suspension can still benefit from modern innovations since the last one rolled down the Bowling Green Assembly line. RideTech is firmly planted in improving Corvette suspensions and they offer products for the full range of the C4 era. Rather than the one-size-fits-all design from GM, RideTech offers its HQ Series Shock set which gives you 24 positions of rebound adjustment and a 1,000,001-mile warranty.

RideTech’s single-adjustable HQ-Series allows 24 settings for adjusting the shock’s rebound through easily accessible knobs for each shock.

For the later C4s, RideTech has embraced beefing up the suspension components with its Strongarm Control arms for the 1988 Corvettes and includes complete coil-over packages, as well as individual components for the 1989-1996 Corvettes. The addition of coil-over shocks allows easy adjustments to ride height, as well as tweaking the later ‘Vette’s suspension geometry specifically to your driving style. The fact a complete Coilover or StreetGrip package including shocks, control arms and/or bushings, and RideTech’s front and rear Musclebar sway bars will rebuild your late-C4’s suspension to better than stock is just icing on the cake!

The separate control rods allow for suspension movement but limit squat and dive. RideTech offers rear control rods featuring its R-Link joints, or your suspension can be rebuilt using a bushing upgrade kit to eliminate any unwanted movement at the joints.

How much of a difference do RideTech’s C4 suspension upgrades make? Just ask some of the C4 Corvette’s best competitors. Scott Fraser and his 1989 Corvette were able to win the Street Machine class with a 40.958-seconds run in the autocross event during the Goodguys 34th West Coast Nationals in Pleasanton, California. At the time, his run was the second-fastest of the weekend, just showing how capable and relevant the C4 Corvette’s suspension still can be with the right upgrades and adjustments. Scott’s C4 runs RideTech bits with the TQ-Series coilovers.

We ran a story on Harold Chapman’s 1987 B2K Callaway C4, equipped with a Chevrolet Performance LS9 engine a few months ago which highlighted how capable the car is both on the track as well as the street. A testament to the RideTech adjustability built into the components which make the C4 a force to be reckoned with in the competition.

The Corvette market has moved on and these early, technology-filled Corvettes can be had for a fraction of their MSRP. While their suspensions were forward-thinking enough to keep them relevant today, with the right additions of more modern technology, they can easily be upgraded to match many newer and more expensive designs. Since so many C4 Corvette suspensions are begging today for renewed life through new shocks, bushings, and other components, it makes sense to check out RideTech’s offerings to make your Corvette’s suspension better than it has ever been!

Article Sources

More Sources

About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
Read My Articles

Late Model LS Power in your inbox.

Build your own custom newsletter with the content you love from LSX Magazine, directly to your inbox, absolutely FREE!

Free WordPress Themes
LSX Magazine NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

LSX Magazine - The Late Model GM Magazine for Camaro

We'll send you the most interesting LSX Magazine articles, news, car features, and videos every week.

LSX Magazine - The Late Model GM Magazine for Camaro

LSX Magazine NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

LSX Magazine - The Late Model GM Magazine for Camaro

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...



Classic Chevy Magazine

Drag Racing

Engine Tech

LSX Magazine - The Late Model GM Magazine for Camaro

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...

  • Classic Chevy Magazine
  • Drag Racing
  • Engine Tech

LSX Magazine - The Late Model GM Magazine for Camaro

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

LSX Magazine - The Late Model GM Magazine for Camaro

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Loading