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1984 Corvette
Handsome from any angle, the 1984 Corvette was deliberately less flamboyant than the Shark. It was also more aerodynamically efficient, thanks to extensive wind-tunnel testing. See more pictures of classic cars.

In 1984, after many years of rumors and false starts, the Corvette's rabid legions of fans were more than eager to see an all-new model roll off the Bowling Green assembly line. Few cars have been more eagerly anticipated. This would not be just another freshened carryover model, but a completely new Corvette that was recast from top to bottom as a thoroughly modern interpretation of the classic American sports car. And the faithful would finally get their wish. Sure, it wouldn't be the swoopy mid- or rear-engine "car-of-the-future-here-today" that some may have hoped for, but it was to be a brand-new Corvette just the same, and that was reason enough to celebrate. The car was set to debut as an early 1984 model and not an '83 as had been widely predicted. This was because the mid-model-year introduction made certifying the car as an early '84 more convenient (if tougher) in terms of meeting emissions and fuel-economy standards. Unfortunately this meant the car wouldn't technically be in production for 1983, which would have been its 30th anniversary year -- thereby denying collectors and historians another special commemorative edition to mark the event.

Nevertheless, the new Corvette was finally at hand. It had been a very long time coming, so great things were expected of it.

But the automotive world had seen sweeping changes since the last generation Corvette was born. Fuel economy standards were now a fact of life -- and law -- and materials, labor, and petroleum products had become much more expensive. The marketplace was now ruled by imports, such as the Porsche 928, Ferrari 308, and Lotus Esprit, along with a raft of lower-priced performance machines like the Datsun Z and Mazda RX-7. Critics wondered how a new Corvette would fare against not only its contemporary rivals but its illustrious predecessors as well.

Work toward the C4 had begun in earnest in mid-1978, shortly after General Motors management canceled plans to replace the existing Shark with a production version of the mid-engine Aerovette show car. This development program involved the closest cooperation between the engineering and design departments ever seen at GM. The primary collaborators were Corvette chief engineer David R. McLellan and designer Jerry Palmer, then head of Chevrolet Production Studio Three. Their close working relationship was vital if the new model was to be built with a high level of quality -- which was important, because the new Corvette would sell for considerably more money than ever before.

To find out more about the engineering behind the 1984 Corvette, see the next section.

Learn about other Corvettes in this generation:

1984 Corvette
1985 Corvette 1986 Corvette
1987 Corvette 1988 Corvette 1989 Corvette
1990 Corvette


Looking for more information on Corvettes and other cars? See:

  • Corvettes: Learn about the history behind each model year and see Corvette photographs.
  • Corvette Specifications: Get key specifications, engine and transmission types, prices, and production totals.
  • Corvette Museum: The National Corvette Museum draws Corvette lovers from all over the world. Learn more about the museum.
  • Corvette Pictures: Find pictures of the hottest classic and current-year Corvettes.
  • Muscle Cars: Get information on more than 100 tough-guy rides.
  • Consumer Guide Corvette Reviews: Considering a Corvette purchase? See what Consumer Guide has to say.