1991 Chevrolet Corvette is Time Capsule to a Simpler Era

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Radwood C4 Corvette Unicorn Corvetteforum.com

This C4 Corvette represents a little bit of luck and things coming around full circle for its owner. 

Just a little less than a year ago at Radwood 2 in Anaheim, CA, I came across what appeared to be the most immaculate 1991 C4 Corvette my eyes had laid on in the 30 years I’ve been living on this planet. If the photos don’t convince you, you simply have to see it in person with your own two eyes to fully appreciate the miracle that is closest thing to a C4 that had just come off the dealer lot. It was one of my favorite cars at the show and knew I just had to talk to the owner. I was expecting an older gentleman, but I was shocked to discover that it was a 23-year-old college student named Darrell Nielsen.

Months later, we connected on Instagram and chatted back and forth about our love for Corvettes and other automobiles. We met up for a nice cruise up Glendora Mountain Road on a Monday afternoon. Clear skies and virtually no traffic made for quite the perfect day for a drive and to shoot photos. While on the driving, Darrell told me his origin story and what a fantastic one it was.

To put things quite simply, Darrell pretty much grew up with the C4. Not the one that he owns now, but the one his father owns and still has to this day. To make it even sweeter, his father’s is white just like his. Like father like son, right? Darrell always knew he wanted a C4 of his own, but didn’t think he’d get one as quickly as he did. Back in August 2016, while casually browsing around for C4s, came across one located in Pleasanton, CA, up in Northern California, with just 24,000 miles on the odometer going for $10,000. It was a no-brainer. He swooped it up quicker than a seagull eying an unattended hot dog at the beach.

Radwood C4 Corvette Unicorn Corvetteforum.com

The joy of driving comes in the form of a white 1991 C4.

Having acquired such a rare gem of a C4, one would think that the owner would make it a garage queen. You know, drive it on the weekends here and there, but mostly sitting indoors like a prized trophy. Darrell had different plans up his sleeve for his beloved Corvette. Since day one, he has been daily driving it to school and work, never skipping a beat.

 

“Once I discovered that it was his daily driver, I told him how much I appreciated that because cars are meant to be driven. We both nodded and gave each other a thumbs up in agreement.”

 

In addition to it being his daily driver, he goes on occasional canyon runs and has also taken his baby to the track a few times. The majority of the car is bone stock with the exception of EBC Green Stuff brake pads and an early 2000’s Kenwood head unit. Other than those two things, looking at the exterior and sitting inside the cockpit will take you directly back to 1991. No need for a DeLorean for time travel, Darrell’s C4 made me feel a 4-year-old again. A feeling that not too many cars can give you. Complete and utter nostalgia.

Father time hasn’t slowed this C4 down at all. 

Being 27-years-old, you’d think that Darrell’s Corvette would show some signs of aging, but that’s clearly not the case here. Like the previous owners, he takes the maintenance very seriously and it shows inside and out. Being a 1991 model, it was the last year the L98 was used before switching to the LT1 for the 1992 model. After almost 30 years, the L98 accelerates with ease and swiftness, pulling hard at almost any RPM when needed. It was almost hard to believe how quickly the C4 can get up to speed while driving through the mountains, especially going uphill.

Older Corvettes aren’t exactly you’d expect to see on your local mountain road with their roaring V8s, but wow did Darrell’s C4 seem right at home on the twisties. This particular C4 is a base model, but the owner opted to upgrade to the Z51 suspension package. This optional suspension package came with stiffer springs and bespoke Bilstein shocks. With the addition of more aggressive brake pads and a set of fairly sticky BGF Sport Comp 2 tires, driving the car hard was absolutely delightful. Heck, and I was in the driver seat with the biggest smile on my face.

“While holding on my body in place in the passenger seat, I was truly speechless at how well Darrell’s C4 performed on a winding road at the limit. With my heart racing, it was then and there when I realized that I would become a future C4 owner.”

Radwood C4 Corvette Unicorn Corvetteforum.com

What year is it again?

If I told you that the paint was original, you’d probably scoff and call me a liar. Walking around the car, you’d think it had just come off the factory floor. It’s truly that flawless, I promise you. For a 1991, the exterior design still holds up especially more than the earlier C4s of the 80’s. Sitting inside, it’s pretty much a love letter to the cars of the 90’s. The light and dark gray interior is as mint as can be and everything works as they did almost 30 years ago. It’s amazing how low the seats sit, yet keeping you comfortable and planted while attacking corners.

No crack on the dash or even scratches on the steering wheel. I had to ask Darrell if he really drove his car every day. The attention to detail is truly on another level here. My daily driven 2012 Honda Civic doesn’t even look this great and I should be ashamed of myself. I’m telling you folks, that’s how impeccable the automobile is.

If seeing is believing, then I have truly found a unicorn C4 Corvette. More than just a demonstration of GM’s engineering back in the day, spending time with this particular C4 was an experience that I’ll never forget. I always liked the C4, but now I’ve fallen in love. Anyone selling one?

What do you think about Darrell’s unicorn C4? Let us know on the forum!

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Matt Eugenio contributes to Corvette Forum, Honda-Tech, 6SpeedOnline, and Rennlist, among other sites.

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