If you're shopping for parts or accessories for your C4 Corvette, we've got a range of products that will help you add style, swagger, and performance to your classic 'Vette. We've also compiled a brief history of the C4's production run, including hallmarks and statistics, for your education and enjoyment.
C4 Corvette History & Overview
The Chevrolet C4 Corvette was the fourth generation Corvette made by GM, and production of the C4 began in March 1983. Because of its late release date and also because it met all the 1984 Federal requirements, GM decided not to release a 1983 Corvette, and the C4 was not available to the public until 1984. The 1984 release of the C4 heralded a complete redesign for the Corvette, both inside and out. In comparison, the 1982 Corvette was the last of the C3's, which dated their basic body structure to 1968 and their chassis to 1963.
The C4's design criteria specified a new design resulting in more ground clearance but less overall height, a lower center of gravity, and a more favorable front-to-rear weight distribution. The end result was smaller than its predecessor, and hovered low to the ground like no prior 'Vette. From a performance perspective, this made for a sportscar with handling that was heads above the competition; but for some C4 owners, they found themselves describing entering and exiting the car as "falling in, and climbing out."
Stylistically, the C4 reflects the aesthetics of the era, thanks to the work of designer Jerry Palmer. The clear, aggressive, yet functional lines of the C4 proved to be a success in the wind tunnel as well, resulting in a drag coefficient of just 0.34. The flat front windshield sports a rake of 64 degrees, and the dome-shaped rear window is still the largest piece of glass in an American car.
In 1986, exactly 10 years after the last convertible Corvette was offered, GM offered the C4 in a convertible model. Though more expensive than the coupe, the convertible met with immediate popular success. In '86, its first year of production, the convertible was only available as an Indy 500 pace car replica, and customers could still get a T-tops on an '86 'Vette. Also in 1986, the Corvette took another step forward with both safety and performance by offering ABS, and in 1992 traction control was introduced. Also in 1992, a new six-speed manual gearbox increased fuel economy.