1986 Corvette

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1986 Corvette
Coupe or reborn convertible? For Corvette fans in 1986, it was a tough choice. New federally mandated high-mount center stoplamp sat between the taillights on the ragtop and in a rear "pod" atop the coupe's roof. See more classic car pictures.
There was quite a jump in price for the 1985 Corvette -- up to an intimidating $27,027, though this was justified in part by the inclusion of several new standard features. Primary among them was Corvette's first anti-lock braking system (ABS), which was the latest ABS II setup from Bosch in Germany. Now common among many of the least-expensive autos, ABS was still relatively new in 1986, and its application was then limited mainly to high-cost luxury cars. Though the car's braking system was otherwise as before, ABS moved the C4 Corvette even closer to being the true world-class sports car Chevy said it was.

Also added as standard equipment in 1986 for additional protection from thieves was VATS (Vehicle Anti-Theft System), a simple yet effective feature designed to augment the existing burglar alarm. A small pellet with a specific electrical resistance was imbedded in the ignition key, and it had to be read by a hidden electronic "decoder" box before the engine could be started. Use the wrong key or try and start the vehicle by other means and the decoder would shut down the starter relay and fuel pump for at least two minutes before allowing another try.

VATS proved itself effective at greatly reducing drive-away theft. Indeed, figures later compiled by the Automobile Club of Michigan would show that while the theft rate for 1984 Corvettes and 1985 Corvettes was better than seven percent, the so-called "pass-key" system reduced it to less than one percent for 1986 models -- and to near zero for 1987 Corvettes and 1988 Corvettes. It was enough to prompt the Michigan AAA and other insurers to reduce their comprehensive premium rates for Corvettes so equipped by 20-25 percent.

Other changes for the 1986 Corvette were relatively minor. A switch from cast-iron to aluminum cylinder heads plus careful weight-paring elsewhere took some 125 pounds off curb weight, making it the first Corvette in about 20 years to weigh in at less than 3,000 pounds. However, Chevy made the new heads a little too thin, and they had to be thickened again when durability testing revealed that cracks could occur around the head attachment bosses under high engine loads.

Though delayed until about the middle of the model year, the new heads were worth waiting for, incorporating centrally located copper-core spark plugs for better combustion, plus larger intake ports and sintered-metal valve seats. The exhaust system was also revised, taking on triple catalytic converters. For all this, though, output of the L98 engine was unchanged.

Elsewhere on the car, a center high-mounted stoplamp was added, per federal regulations, and wheels were given raised hub emblems and a bright brushed finish. Fuel capacity on automatic cars shriveled by two gallons to 18. LCD instruments were re-angled to aid daytime legibility (which remained difficult all the same), and the cluster now contained an upshift indicator light that was there to help drivers achieve maximum mileage by signaling when to shift gears -- it was there to help keep the car's EPA mileage figures above the gas-guzzler level. (Oddly, the indicator light also came with the automatic transmission.) Standard tires were changed to P245/VR5016s; the Z51 package continued with P255s.

1986 Corvette
The first Corvette convertibles in 11 years left Bowling Green starting in early 1986, an exciting, nostalgia-filled occasion for workers and Corvette fans alike.
However, the most significant news for the 1986 Corvette occurred at midyear with the return of the Corvette convertible -- the first such model in 11 years. Engineered with help from American Sunroof Company, it was announced just in time to be chosen as pace car for that year's Indy 500. All convertibles were designated as Pace Car Replicas, regardless of color or equipment (though the actual pace cars were painted a bright yellow).

Chevrolet stated that the C4 had been designed with a topless model in mind, so the transformation from coupe to convertible was straightforward. With an eye to preserving torsional stiffness in the absence of a fixed roof, reinforcement was applied to the frame crossmember ahead of the engine; larger K-shape braces were used to connect the under-engine member to the frame rails; and X-braces were added to tie door-hinge pillars to the rear chassis torque boxes. Cowl structure, including the steering column, its mounts, and the dashboard-mounting beam, were all strengthened, as was the front torque box.

A crossbeam was added atop the rear torque box, and the steel riser behind the seats became a sturdier, double-wall affair. A center stoplamp was neatly integrated into the top of the back panel.

The result was a new drop-top Corvette that weighed only around 50 pounds more than the coupe and actually proved stiffer. It had a stiffer price as well -- just over $5,000 more than the already costly coupe. Unfortunately for Chevrolet, the ragtop's revival didn't do much for 1986 model-year sales, which slipped to 34,937, of which just 7,264 were convertibles.

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.

1986 Corvette Specifications

Several new standard features were introduced for the 1986 Corvette, including an anti-lock braking system (ABS) and a Vehicle Anti-Theft System, or VATS. Here are the specifications for the 1986 Corvette:

1986 Corvette
A gauge cluster re-angled for less glare was one of several interior improvements for 1986.

 

Vehicle Specifications
HatchbackConvertible
Wheelbase, inches
96.2 96.2
Length, inches
176.5176.5
Width, inches
71.071.0
Track, inches
front: 59.6 rear: 60.4
front: 59.6 rear: 60.4
Height, inches
46.7 46.4
Curb weight, pounds
3,1013,279

Mechanical Specifications (2-door hatchback/convertible)

Suspension
front: Independent; unequal length upper and lower A-arms, transverse fiberglass leaf spring, tubular hydraulic shock absorbers, antiroll bar
rear: Independent, upper and lower trailing arms, lateral arms, tie rods, halfshafts,
transverse fiberglass leaf springs, tubular hydraulic shock absorbers, antiroll bar

Wheels/Tires
P225/60VR-16

Brakes
front: anti-lock 11.5-inch disc
rear: anti-lock 11.5-inch disc

Transmission
4-speed automatic
4+3-speed manual (4-speed manual with overdrive in 3rd and 4th gears)

Standard axle ratio
2.59:1 (auto) 3.07:1 (manual)

Engine Specifications

Type ohv V-8
Displacement, liters/cubic inch
5.7/350
Bore X stroke, inches4.00 X 3.48
Fuel management
Tuned Port Injection
Horsepower @ rpm
230 @ 4,000
Torque @ rpm, pound-foot
330 @ 3,200

Vehicle Production and Base Prices

Car Type
Production Price
2-door coupe
27,794 $27,027.00
2-door convertible
7,315
32,032.00

Options and Production

Option Production Price
Power Driver Seat
33,983
$225.00
Sport Seats, leather
13,372
1,025.00
Base Seats, leather
NA
400.00
Power Door Locks
34,215
175.00
Radiator Boost Fan
8,216
75.00
Custom Feature Package
4,832
195.00
Dual Removable Roof Panels
6,242
895.00
Removable Roof Panel, blue tint
12,021
595.00
Removable Roof Panel, bronze tint
7,819
595.00
Electronic Air Conditioning Control
16,646
150.00
Two-Tone Paint (coupe)
3,897
428.00
Delco-Bilstein Shock Absorbers
5,521
189.00
Performance Axle Ratio, 3.07:1
4,879
22.00
Engine Oil Cooler
7,394
110.00
Cruise Control34,197
185.00
4-Speed Manual Transmission
6,835
0.00
California Emission Requirements5,697
99.00
Radio Delete
166
-256.00
AM/FM Radio Stereo Cassette
2,039
122.00
Stereo System, Delco-Bose
32,478
895.00
Heavy Duty Radiator
10,423
40.00
Performance Handling Package (coupe)
12,821
470.00
Rear Window + Side Mirror Defoggers (coupe)
21,837
165.00
Malcolm Konner Special Edition (coupe)
50
500.00

Color Choices and Production

Color Choice
Production
Silver Metallic
1,209
Medium Blue Metallic
128
White
4,176
Gold Metallic
777
Copper Metallic
4
Dark Red Metallic
5,002
Silver/Gray1,049
White/Silver
693
Silver Beige/Black
50
Medium Gray Metallic
1,603
Yellow
1,464
Black
5,464
Silver Beige Metallic
1,383
Medium Brown Metallic
488
Bright Red
9,466
Gray/Black
1,138
Silver Beige/Medium Brown
1,014

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.