The C4 Corvette was introduced in March 1984 and ran through 1996. With a larger interior, fully digital instrumentation, and sleek modern look the C4 Corvette was the most dramatically different Corvette since the 1963 Sting Ray. The T-top roof of the previous model were replaced by a full Targa roof and the hatchback opening became a part of all C4 Corvettes.
Everything mechanical about the C4 Corvette was significantly better. The suspension system used composite transverse leaf springs, the steering was by rack-and-pinion for the first time, the brakes were oversized discs, and the frame featured a large aluminum C-section beam that made for a stiffer structure. Initially all C4 Corvettes came with an automatic transmission, the same four speed that was first introduced in 1982. In a later run of the C4 a Borg-Warner t-10 four speed manual transmission was available. The manual transmission of the C4 Corvette featured an overdrive unit between the transmission and the driveshaft and would engage in gears 2, 3 and 4.
In late 1986 a C4 convertible was introduced, the first Corvette Convertible seen for 10 years. Although the open air driving of the C4 convertible was welcomed by Corvette enthusiasts it carried a $5000 premium over the coupe. This model had the honor of being the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 and decals commemorating the event were shipped with each C4.
During the C4 years, improvements in engine performance retuned Covettes to the heart pounding speed and acceleration of the late 60’s big blocks. The 1990 Corvette ZR-1 coupe (the ZR-1 was never available as a convertible). Nicknamed "King of the Hill," the ZR-1 was built around the Lotus-designed, Mercury Marine-built, all-aluminum, 5.7-liter, DOHC, 32-valve LT5 V8 making an astounding 375 horsepower.
The C4 Corvette saw 2 anniversary editions, the first in 1988. The 35th Anniversary Edition, a white themed Corvette including white wheels, door handles and side strip. And then in 1993 a special 40th Anniversary Edition, featuring Ruby Red paint and Ruby Red leather seats.
A special run 0f 1000 Grand Sport Corvettes, 810 coupes and 190 convertibles painted Admiral Blue with a distinctive white strip were produced in 1996 to mark the end of the C4 Corvette.
Upgrading, modifying or restoring your C4 Corvette? Our extensive line of products for the C4 along with our friendly and knowledgeable staff makes Eckler’s the obvious source for anything for your C4 Corvette. Whether you are looking for C4 Corvette parts or C4 Corvette accessories, Eckler’s has just the item you need.
Like the 1982 Corvettes, all 1984 Corvettes came equipped with the Cross-Fire factory fuel injection system.
1984 was the first year of the Z-51 performance package which included better steering, suspension, brakes, and tires.
In 1986, manual equipped Corvettes came with the C.A.G.S. (computer aided gear selection). Designed to improve corporate average fuel economy standards (C.A.F.E), this annoying feature forced drivers to shift from 1st to 4th below certain driving conditions.
A.B.S. brakes became standard on 1986 Corvettes as did center bolt cylinder heads (both in iron or cast aluminum) & VATS (Vehicle Anti-Theft System) ignition key
The 1987 Callaway Twin Turbo option was the first time a forced induction engine was optional on Corvette. It was available from 1987 through 1991 model years.
The 4th Generation (C4) 1984 model was all new except for the driveline. This was the most dramatic Corvette change since the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray. The new body, new full Targa roof, the hatchback opening, new interior, chassis, 4+3 manual transmission, disc brakes, etc, earned the new 4th generation Corvette high praise. 1984 was the first year of the Z-51 performance package for the Corvette.
The 1985 Corvette was upgraded with a new L98 230 horsepower engine with Bosch tuned port fuel injection. Spring rates were decreased by 25% in the rear and 26% in the front to give it a smoother ride. On the outside, the “Tuned Port Injection” badge was added. An improved instrument cluster as added to the dash.
Chevrolet brought back the Corvette convertible in 1986. The 1986 Corvette also had new aluminum heads and Anti-Lock (ABS) brakes were made standard, as were center bolt cylinder heads (both in iron or cast aluminum) & VATS (Vehicle Anti-Theft System) ignition key. This model had the honor of being the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 and decals commemorating the event were shipped with each C4. Manual equipped 1986 Chevy Corvettes came with the C.A.G.S. (computer aided gear selection). Designed to improve corporate average fuel economy standards (C.A.F.E), this feature forced drivers to shift from 1st to 4th below certain driving conditions.
Total Production: 35,109 (27,794 Coupe, 7,315 Convertible)
For the 1987 Corvette new roller valve lifters were made standard equipment, upping engine output to 240 hp. The new Z52 sport handling package offered good control but a less harsh ride than the Z51 performance handling package. The 1987 Callaway Twin Turbo option was the first time a forced induction engine was optional on Corvette. It was available from 1987 through 1991 model years.
Total Production: 30,632 (20,007 Coupes, 10,625 Convertibles)
In 1988, the Chevy Corvette celebrated its 35th anniversary with a special anniversary edition available with white paint, wheels, leather interior and special emblems. The 1988 Corvette also had new carpeted door sills, improved ventilation and a new muffler system was now standard on the coupes with the 3.07:1 rear axle ratio. The new muffler was system was too loud for the convertibles. The 1988 Vette was the last C4 available with the 4+3 manual transmission.
Total Production: 22,789 (15,382 Coupes, 7,407 Convertible)
While Chevy Corvette owners held their breath waiting for the new ZR-1 super model Corvette, the 1989 Corvette was available as a convertible or a hatchback coupe. Introduced for the 1989 Vette was the ZF 6-speed manual transmission along with a state-of-the-art FX3 adjustable suspension option which permitted shock valving changes via a rotary dial mounted on the interior console between the seats. Corvette Challenge race cars totaled 60 while 69 Callaway twin-turbos were produced. VIN numbers for classic 1989 Corvettes are between 1G1YY3186K5100001 to 1G1YY3186K5126328. The Corvettes were available in nine different exterior colors. 33 1989 Corvettes were painted in non-standard colors; 6 Yellow and 27 in Arctic Pearl. There were six different exterior trim colors available as well.
Total Production: 26,412 (16,663 Coupe, 9,749 Convertible)
Chevy Corvette fans finally got their first glimpse of the high performance ZR-1 option package ($27,016 for coupes, only) which made its appearance in 1989. This Vette included special rear body panels and an all-aluminum block designated the LT5, producing 375 hp. Available only as a fastback coupe, it had a wider back end and 11” wide rear wheels and convex rear fascia with square taillights. Airbags were now available for the drivers and an oil change monitoring system came with all engines. It’s worth mentioning the ZR-1 Active Suspension Prototype had a limited edition run in the 1990 model year and included active hydraulic suspension that was also in the GTP Corvette race car.
Total Production: 23,646 (16,016 Coupe, 7,630 Convertible)
In 1991 the Corvette ZR-1 and the base models were updated with improved interior and wheels, as well as streamlined front body panels. All Corvettes shared the matching ZR-1 styled rear panels. 1991 was the last year for the Callaway twin turbo option. This option cost $33,000 and only sold 62 unities, compared to the ZR-1 option which sold for $31,683.
Total Production: 20,639 (14,967 Coupe, 5,672 Convertible)
The 1992 Corvette saw the ZR-1 special performance package return for a third year. New was the 350-CID V8 engine, known as the LT1, with 300 hp, reverse flow cooling, and two valves per cylinder. Accelerated Slip Regulation (ASR) traction control was made standard on all models. Goodyear Eagle GS-C high-performance tires were a 1992 Corvette exclusive, meant to give outstanding handling and performance in all kinds of weather. Inside the 1992 Vette had a better located speedometer in the display area and an improved instrument panel appearance. There were 4 new exterior colors, three leather interior colors and a new deep blue cloth convertible top color available. The ZR-1 option cost $31,683.
Total Production: 20,479 (14,604 Coupe, 5,875 Convertible)
A special 40th anniversary model was released with one year only Ruby Red exterior and interior colors for an additional $1,445 on all 1993 Corvette coupes, convertibles and ZR-1. The ZR-1 horsepower rating rose to 405 hp, but the option cost was held to 1992's $31,683. 1993 Corvettes had fully independent suspension with aluminum components, all-disc four-wheel anti-lock brake system and a traction control system. The LT1 was called “America’s Most Respected 8” in the 1993 Chevrolet Corvette sales brochure. It was the most powerful V8 in a production Corvette.
Total Production: 21,590 (15,898 Coupe, 5,692 Convertible)
The 1994 Corvette had a new instrument panel and easy to reach controls. Both drivers and passengers got their own airbags as standard. In-door storage areas, new carpeting and wider cushions on new leather trimmed sports seats made for a more luxurious and comfortable interior. Run flat tires were made an option and convertible tops got a real glass window. 1994 Vette buyers had the option between a 6-speed manual transmission or a new electronic 4-speed automatic.
Total Production: 23,330 (17,984 Coupe, 5,346 Convertible)
1995 marked the end of the ZR-1 production run. The ZR-1's larger brakes, were made standard for all models. The 1995 Corvette convertible was the pace car for the Indy 500. 527 Corvette Indy Pace Car replicas, convertible with dark purple over Arctic White paint with race decals, were produced as an extra $2,816 option. New front fender gills and an updated windshield wiper set were added.
Total Production: 20,742 (15,771 Coupe, 4,971 Convertible)
The 1996 Corvette marked the end of the 4th generation. There were two special editions – the "Collector Edition" in Sebring Silver trim and a "Grand Sport" in Admiral Blue with white racing stripe. The 1996 Vette had the new 330 hp LT4 engine, and came with a 6-speed manual transmission. The LT1 had the automatic transmission. The 1996 Corvette Grand Sport Coupe is the highest performance regular production Chevy Corvette, and is a collector’s dream, with a 330 hp, LT4 V8 engine, F45 suspension, Selective Real Time Damping and Acceleration Slip Regulation.
Total Production: 21,536 (17,167 Coupe, 4,369 Convertible)