Blog

Chevrolet Corvette C4 (1983)

Chevrolet-Corvette_C4_1983

The Chevrolet Corvette C4 is a sports car introduced at the close of 1982 production as a 1984 model and ended in 1996, meaning that there’s no such thing as a “1983 Corvette” (though 44 prototype 1983s were built, of which #23 surivives today and is housed at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green). It is the fourth generation of Chevrolet Corvettes built and marketed by Chevrolet.

The C4 Corvette is known for its sleek look. Instead of fiberglass, it was made from reaction injected molding plastics, a sheet molding compound. The C4 coupe also is the first Corvette to have a glass hatchback (except for the 1982 Collector’s Edition) for better storage access. It also had all new brakes with aluminum calipers. The Corvette C4 came standard with an electronic dashboard with digital liquid crystal displays for speed and RPM. The C4 was a complete redesign of the previous generation, and the emphasis was on handling. The C4 Corvette was proclaimed the best handling car ever when it was released. This handling came with the benefit of a solid, uncompromising ride. The unit-body frame used in the C4 was prone to rattles and squeaks due to minimal sound deadening. Also due to the external unit-body frame, the door sills were quite deep and entry and exit have been likened to a “fall in and climb out” experience. The emergency brake was relocated in 1988 for easier entry and exit.

From 1984 through 1988, the Corvette was available with a Doug Nash “4+3” transmission – a 4-speed manual coupled to an automatic overdrive on the top three gears. This unusual transmission was a synergy that allowed corvette to keep a stout 4 speed, but add an overdrive. As technology progressed, it was replaced by a modern ZF 6-speed manual. However, the C4 performance was hampered by its L98 250 hp (186 kW) engine until 1992, when the second-generation LT1 was installed, markedly improving the C4s performance. 1996 was a high point of small block Chevrolet development and the 330 hp (246 kW) LT4 was installed in all manual transmission cars.

The 1986 Corvette is notable for being the first car with an electronic anti-theft system. GM had created the Pass Key I, where each key contained a special pellet that could be detected and identifed by the car’s computer system by detecting electrical resistance. Being early in the rollout of this new technology, there were only 15 different resistance values available.


November 23, 2015