C4 Third Generation Corvette circa 1984-1996

The fourth generation Corvette began production in March 1983 as a 1984 model and ended with the 1996 model. 44 prototype 1983 models were completed. The 23rd produced is displayed at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

In 1981, GM's Chevrolet initiated plans to change the Corvette for 1983. Due to engineering problems and technology issues, the redesigned Corvette did not hit showroom floors until 1984, but toymaker Mattel and its Hot Wheels division obtained a picture of the new Corvette design and produced a 1/64 model of the future production 1984 Corvette. A GM executive saw the Hot Wheels version at a Detroit Area toy store and was infuriated, nearly causing GM to end its licensing agreement with Mattel's Hot Wheel division.
The 1984 C4 was a complete and total redesigned Corvette except for its engine, and the emphasis was on handling with the introduction of the front transverse composite leaf spring (still used today). This handling focus came with the penalty of a harsh, uncompromising ride in the 1984 model. This first year C4 carried over the 350 cu in (5.7 L) L83 V8 engine from the 3rd generation Corvette. The L83 had a unique fuel delivery method dubbed "Crossfire": a dual throttle-body injection system. With the first major body, chassis and suspension change since 1963, the new C4 coupe incorporated a rear glass hatch for much improved cargo access, all new brakes with aluminum calipers, an all aluminum suspension for weight savings and rigidity, and the first one piece targa top with no center reinforcement. It came standard with an electronic dashboard with digital liquid crystal displays for the speedometer and tachometer.

1984 through 1988 Corvettes utilized a "4+3" transmission—a 4-speed manual coupled to an automatic overdrive on the top three gears. It was designed to help the Corvette meet U.S. fuel economy standards. The transmission was problematic and was replaced by a modern ZF 6-speed manual gearbox in 1989. Beginning in 1985, the 230 bhp (170 kW) L98 engine with tuned port fuel injection was the standard engine.

In 1986 the 2nd Corvette Indy Pace Car was released. It was the first convertible Corvette since 1975. It was also the first pace car fast enough in stock form to pace the Indianapolis 500.[citation needed] A Center High Mounted Signal Light (CHMSL, a third center brake light) was added in 1986 to comply with federal law. All 1986 convertibles had an Indy 500 emblem mounted on the console making any color a pace car edition. The color of the actual pace car (used in the race) was yellow.

In 1987, the B2K twin-turbo option became available from the factory. The Callaway Corvette was a Regular Production Option (RPO B2K). The B2K option coexisted from 1990 to 1991 with the ZR-1 option, which then replaced it.

Early B2Ks produced 345 bhp (257 kW) and 450 lb·ft (610 N·m);later versions boasted 450 bhp (336 kW) and 613 lb·ft (831 N·m).

1988 saw the 35th Anniversary Edition. Each of these featured a special badge with an identification number mounted next to the gear selector. These Corvettes were easily identified with their white exterior, wheels and interior.

In 1991, all Corvettes received updates to the body, interior, and wheels. The convex rear fascia that set the 1990 ZR-1 apart from the base model was now included on L98 Corvettes, making the styling of the expensive ZR-1 even closer to that of the base cars. The most obvious difference remaining between the base and ZR-1 models besides the wider rear wheels was the location of the CHMSL (center high mounted stop lamp), which was integrated into the new rear fascia used on the base model, but remained at the top of the rear-hatch on the ZR-1's.

For the 1992 model year, the 300 bhp (220 kW) LT1 engine was introduced, an increase of 50 bhp (37 kW) over 1991's L98 engine. Also new for 1992 was Acceleration Slip Regulation (ASR), a form of traction control which utilized the Corvette's brakes, spark retard and throttle close-down to prevent excessive rear wheel spin and possible loss of control. The traction control device could be switched off if desired.

1993 saw a special 40th Anniversary Edition featuring a commemorative Ruby Red color, 40th anniversary badges and embroidered seat backs. The 1993 Corvette also marked the introduction of the Passive Keyless Entry System, the first GM car to feature it. Production of the ZR-1 ended in 1995, after 6,939 cars had been built.
1996 was the final year of C4 production, and featured special models and options, including the Grand Sport and Collector Edition, OBD II (On-Board Diagnostics), run flat tires, and the LT4 engine. The 330 bhp (246 kW) LT4 V8 was available only with a manual transmission, while all 300 bhp (224 kW) LT1 Corvettes used automatic transmissions.

Chevrolet released the Grand Sport (GS) version in 1996 to mark the end of production of the C4 Corvette. The Grand Sport moniker is a nod to the original Grand Sport model produced in 1963. A total of 1,000 GS Corvettes were produced, 810 as coupes and 190 as convertibles. The 1996 GS came with the high-performance LT4 V8 engine, producing 330 bhp (246 kW) and 340 lb·ft (460 N·m). The Grand Sport came only in Admiral Blue with a white stripe down the middle, and black wheels and two red stripes on the front left wheel arch added to its distinctive look.

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