Corvette — 1984-96 C4 is One of Today’s Best Performance-Car Values

Chevrolet’s brawny plastic-bodied two-seater has long been a dream machine for countless enthusiasts. Today, that dream is more in reach than ever. The fourth generation or “C4” version of these cars are absolute steals on used-car lots.

These potent performers made their debut for 1984, replacing the soft, boulevardier 1968-82 “Shark” design. With vastly improved aerodynamics and extensive use of aluminum in its construction, the C4 was enormously more capable than its predecessor.

Throughout the C4’s long production run, practically every model year brought significant improvements, including revised suspension, higher-quality interiors, and new electronic performance aids. Horsepower for 1984 was a somewhat tame 205, but it went up by 25 hp the next year and continued to steadily climb. A convertible was introduced for 1986, and the following year horsepower reached 240.

For 1990, the C4 got a redesigned dashboard, followed a year later with an exterior facelift that included more rounded front- and rear-fascia styling. For 1992, horsepower jumped to 300. From 1990 to 1995, Chevrolet offered the limited-production ZR-1, which was powered by a 375-405hp Lotus-designed V8. Output of the regular small-block-V8 C4 peaked in 1996, at an optional 330hp.

With strong V8 power and exceptional handling, any C4 is a tremendously potent machine, even against some of today’s pricier new performance cars. Best of all, you can find loads of good C4s practically anywhere in the U.S. for less than $10,000.

When shopping for a C4, it’s best to look for as late a model as you can, to take advantage of the many refinements the design received over the years. The most desirable cars are the 1992 and later ones. Besides having considerably more power, their softer styling is less 1980s “high-tech” and thus doesn’t look as dated at this point.

Early C4 coupes (1984-91) show up by the truckload for less than eight grand, with a fair number of them listing for under $5000. But realistically, you should expect to pay $6000 or more for a decent one. Scrounge up at least another thousand or two on top of that if you have your heart set on a good 1992-96. As for ZR-1s, forget about ’em — they currently sell for about $25-$40k.

Convertibles command about a 30-percent premium over equivalent coupes, which basically puts the 1992-96 ragtops out of our $10k Budget-Speed cap. Earlier convertibles, however, are still within range.

So while the performance-car world is drooling over new C6s or shopping for used C5s, these cars’ fine predecessor is going for clearance-sale prices. And that’s great for you — a good used C4 can offer more thrills per dollar than most performance cars, making them well worth a look.

For more about affordable performance cars, along with drive-test articles on today’s hottest sports cars, sport compacts, and muscle cars, go to http://www.autiv.com/
About the Author

David Bellm is a seasoned test driver and automotive writer. His work has been featured in a wide variety of online and print publications.

Written by: David Bellm


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Related Posts

  • 100
    Chevrolet's brawny plastic-bodied two-seater has long been a dream machine for countless enthusiasts. Today, that dream is more in reach than ever. The fourth generation or "C4" version of these cars are absolute steals on used-car lots. These potent performers made their debut for 1984, replacing the soft, boulevardier 1968-82…
  • 59
    The Chevrolet Camaro was a "pony car" introduced by General Motors in 1967 to compete with the Ford Mustang, which by the way was conceived to compete with the Chevrolet Corvair Monza. There are four distinctive generations of Camaro's, 1967-1970, 1970 1/2 - 1980, 1982-1992, and the fourth and final…
  • 58
    It may be that you have been looking for a new car for a while. Maybe you have succumbed to impulse and just ordered that new ferrari. If you have you really thought about how you are going to shift your current car. Advertising it is the simple answer and…
  • 57
    The cost of a new car nowadays equals about what my parents paid for their first home. It's not a purchase to be taken lightly. You want to do everything possible to ensure you get a great deal. Never rush your decision. If you are completely without transportation, rent a…
  • 57
    Mystery shopping is a long time and very easy to understand concept. In this very competitive age customer service is paramount to retailers. These retailers hire mystery shoppers, also known as secret shoppers to evaluate staff performance, check on customer service and evaluate front line cashier staff. Retail managers use…
  • 57
    Ever since the first car was produced, it's been an art object as well as a practical device. We love to look at all sorts of cars. We care about our own cars and we are very aware of what they say about us and our tastes. A red sports…
  • 55
    Taking care of your car maintenance can be very rewarding if done properly so here's a list of seven tips that can help you save money on your car parts and service. 1. A well tuned car can has a fuel consumption from 25% to 33% lower than a poorly…
  • 55
    Looking for sports-car kicks, but with the abundance of speed parts and vast modification potential of a Civic? Look no further than Honda's feisty little CRX. These pocket-size coupes made their debut for 1984. Essentially a two-seat version of the redesigned Civic also introduced that year, the CRX was initially…
  • 55
    This article shows how doing it online, enhances your overall Christmas experience!   Christmas shopping online is not for you? If you are one of those that share this thought, you probably like to enjoy the atmosphere of physical shopping. Doing your Christmas shopping online despite all its convenience, lack…
  • 55
      Are you a website owner or a web designer/developer?  If either applies, I would venture to say that eventually you'll need an online shopping cart for one of your websites. In fact, almost all new websites today need some sort of ecommerce built-in, for the purpose of selling goods…
  • 54
    The internet can help you become a smarter shopper by introducing you to some of the best online shopping deals you'll find anywhere. And there's certainly nothing more convenient than online shopping from your bedroom, living room, rv, boat, hotel or office. With a few mouse clicks, you wiil find…
  • 54
    More and more people are shopping on-line today than ever before, especially with the holidays just around the corner. We're looking for gifts for our kids, gifts for our family, and gifts for our friends. But is shopping on-line safe? Is our information secure? Is it convenient? For as many…
  • 54
      When you need to buy your next automobile make sure that fuel economy doesn't get lost in the shuffle. Buying a compact car with good gas mileage is both friendly to the environment and your pocket book. You will enjoy the savings throughout the life of the vehicle.  …
  • 54
    Why shop online in the first place? When you decide to go online for shopping there is a reason for that. Of course there is reason you think. But really; why not just go down town and buy the product you need? It's probably only a street or block away. Because…
  • 53
      Car loans are a tempting way to purchase a new car. While they provide for easy access to a car, these loans can get quite expensive if you do not know enough about what you are getting into. Simple research will provide you with information that can save you…
  • 53
    AutosBargain.com New Car Pricing 101: Autosbargain.com provides the "best price" found for new car deals from both franchised dealerships and consumer feedbacks. The "best new car price" is in comparison to dealer's invoice price as most buyers' club does. (Such as AAA or Costco) And yes, the "best price'' does…
  • 53
    We all dream about the car we’d like, Maybe we see one in the street and think “that’s the one for me” then, being fickle, will see another a little further along the street and say “No, that’s the car I want!”. Don’t worry, this is quite normal, very few…
  • 53
    Discount Online Shopping Wednesday, April 27, 2009 - - Discount online shopping is a welcome reality of modern life, combining the convenience of purchasing over the Internet with considerable cost savings. And for the very best of discount online shopping in the United States and Canada, there is only one…
  • 53
    Car manufacturers are incorporating an inordinate amount of technology into their vehicles nowadays. Despite their best efforts, however, there are a number of things you can do to geek your ride. From one little gadget to a full-fledged car mod, there's always something else that makes your car one step…
  • 53
    Imagine getting paid to drive some of the world's greatest cars -- Mercedes, Corvette, Porsche, Viper, and others. Sounds great? Now picture doing that on luxurious all-expense-paid trips to exotic locations, where you hang out with some of the biggest names in the auto industry. That's everyday life for car-magazine…

Share Your Thoughts

Make A comment

Leave a Reply

Subscribe By Email for Updates.
Copied!