Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chevrolet C4 - the 'Whorevette'

My good buddy Juan is kind of a degenerate.  He's a bit too slick for comfort, dates a lot of women, dresses like a Croatian gangster and just generally exudes a strong aura of pervishness.  He's also super-smart, wickedly funny, big-hearted, loyal, and full of incredible stories hard-earned through a life as James Bond's creepy Chicano half-brother.

Juan's been on my mind for a few days now, ever since I wrote this Bring a Trailer piece on a '90 Corvette ZR-1.  You see, back when I met him about 13 years ago, he had a visually identical black on black '87 C4 with updated square taillight rear valance.  Juan's car was a base L98 model with an automatic, but it looked and sounded the business.  I remember once teasing him about not driving a manual, and the car being a big poser-mobile - his reply was "sticks aren't good for road head, though!".  I'm paraphrasing, actually, as he went into quite a bit more graphic detail on the presumed incompatibility of gear changing and moving sex acts.

ergonomics optimized for road head

C4's are trashy, sleazy things.  I've read that even hardtops will banana with both doors open while on a lift, making it impossible for them to shut until lowered back onto solid ground.  They have interiors, as aptly described by one BaT commenter, with "fit and finish suggesting that they were assembled by blind children in UNICEF hospitals."  They have notoriously bad electrical systems, weak brakes, insufficient engine cooling, and aren't all that powerful in base form.  They place grip and grunt over delicacy and adjustability, flash over substance.  They're rude, crude and obviously built to a price.

Yet despite all these glaring shortcomings, the C4 somehow remains a charming, unique and cool car.  I'd love to own one, but I can't really say why.  Perhaps flawed cars, like the flawed people in our lives, are simply the most interesting.  If the soul is nourished through struggle, and character defined by the personal challenges and limitations one overcomes, then by those measures their can't be many cars more soulful or full of character than a C4 Corvette.

Juan proudly called his the "Whorevette", and it was as if God himself had designed and built that car just for him.

Love you man, hope all is well up in ol' East L.A.

in reality, quite a sophisticated car for its time


  1. And lets not forget it also gave us the Callaway Sledgehammer, which is probably one of my most favorite cars of all time.

  2. What makes such a sophisticated car for its time such apparent garbage?

    Also, the C5 is AMAZING and has a very rigid chassis. How is it that the C4 was so much lesser than its successor?

  3. Great piece of writing. Very amusing to read.

    A friend of mine owns the most decadent C4 I have ever seen: it's a square taillighted red on red convertible with white hood!!!! Oh dear god! Here in modest Portugal, a car like that would scare all but professional lovers, so he went for the manual gearshift. But the damned car sounds amazing!

    Congrats on your blog!


    1. Thanks for the nice words, Hugo! Your friend sounds like a real shrinking violet.