We’ll just start off by saying that we always had a weird appreciation for the TPI C4 Corvette. What was once the pinnacle of American sports car performance in the 1980s (as well as the Turbo Buick), has dissolved into a punchline and somewhat of a joke to modern day enthusiasts.
But we loved the way the looked (seriously), the way they handled and their footnote in Corvette history. It brought the hilariously outdated, then C3-based Corvette into the high-tech performance realm, while taking its level of comfort and conveniences and putting them on par with just about anything from Europe at the time (sound familiar, C7 owners?).
We’ll give you the fact that the TPI versions only produced 250 hp at their peak (not including ZR-1), and the Reagan-era Vette has been completely overshadowed by its successors in a big way. Of course, thanks to the aftermarket, there are plenty of ways to turn the tables on today’s coveted Z06.
Take for instance, this killer example built by the crew at Nelson Racing Engines. No longer powered by the limp-wristed, restricted and severely limited 350 TPI, this particular C4 has enough oats under the hood to put a Bugatti Veyron in its place – with power to spare. In fact, it’s putting out almost as much power as a the top of the line Veryron Super Sport – and the LS7 that powered the C6 Z06 – combined!
How they did it is even more amazing, with a 427 cubic-inch small-black stroker, one hellacious “Alien” intake manifold and a spool-happy pair of 72mm turbochargers! We can delve into this build a lot further, but we figure it’s best to lest Mr. Nelson himself lay it all out for you!
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of GMEFI Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.