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C4 Corvette (1984-1996)

A Good Starter Corvette


1988 Corvette Coupe

The 1984-1988 C4 coupe has the distinction of being the least expensive Corvette in the world these days. But these cars came with 230 to 250 horsepower and can be fun to autocross or just drive for enjoyment.

Photo courtesy of General Motors
Chevrolet designed an all-new Corvette in the early 1980s, but the prototypes produced for the 1983 model year had serious quality issues and so the fourth generation of Corvettes was not released until the 1984 model year. About 40 prototype C4 Corvettes were produced for 1983, and those were not sold to the public.

Yet 1984 was the second-largest production run in Corvette history, with over 51,000 cars produced. Overall, C4 Corvettes make up the second-largest cohort after the C3, with about 350,000 cars built in the 12-year period. Worthy of note, the convertible Corvette returned in 1986 after an 11-year absence.

Engine Power Increased

Standard engine power in the C4 Corvettes ranges from 205 horsepower in 1984 up to 230 horsepower in 1985 and then variations up to 250 horsepower by 1992. From 1993 to 1996, base Corvettes received the 300 horsepower LT1 engine. Certain special editions such as the Callaway twin-turbo models generated up to 405 horsepower, and these are naturally more expensive and hard to find.

Collectible Value

The 1984-1988 Corvettes are by far the lowest-priced 'Vettes on the market. Base model C4 Corvettes are not generally considered collectible and it's doubtful they ever will be. Therefore, a C4 from the '80s makes a good starting point for an enthusiast ride, but a poor investment.

Next page: Quick facts about C4 Corvettes

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