1985 Corvette


 

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1985 Corvette
Styling was unchanged on the sophomore '85 save "Tuned Port Injection" badges on the front fenders.See more classic car pictures.

The C4 arrived at about the time the U.S. economy began recovering from its early-Eighties doldrums. What had been an oil shortage was unexpectedly replaced by an oil glut that caused gas prices to plunge, and buyers soon shopped for big and powerful Detroit cars once again. The Reagan Administration had also been helping out, convincing Japanese automakers to voluntarily limit their car exports to the U.S. via the Voluntary Restraint Agreement (VRA). In this new, more hospitable climate, American performance was flourishing anew by mid-decade, and Chevy wasted no time in turning up the Corvette's volume.

Thus, the 1985 Corvette received a new "Tuned Port Injection" system, which was basically the German Bosch fuel-injection system with a revised intake manifold. Although the time-honored Corvette small-block still measured 350 cubes, the substitution of the new multi-port fuel-injection with tuned intake runners, along with a half-point compression increase to 9.5:1, lifted output by 25 horses, to reach 230 bhp at 4,000 rpm; torque improved by 40 lbs/ft, going from 290 at 2,800 rpm to a meaty 330 lbs/ft at 3,200. So extensive were the changes that Chevy was moved to use a new engine designation: L98.

Responding to all the complaints about the corvette's harsh ride, Chevy softened up both spring and shock rates on both the standard and performance Z51 suspensions for '85. The latter now came with larger-diameter fore and aft stabilizer bars to maintain total roll stiffness with the softer calibrations, plus 9.5-inch-wide wheels at the front as well as the rear. Also included were Delco-Bilstein gas-pressurized shocks -- available as a separate option with the base suspension -- and a revised heavy-duty cooling system.

Of course, engineers were still interested in handling. The Z51 package was fine-tuned by Corvette development engineer John Heinricy to be a "showroom stock GT car," according to Corvette chief engineer David R. McLellan, referring to a hotly contested class in SCCA racing. Intriguingly, the suspension changes lowered ride height on the 1985 Corvette by an imperceptible 3/4 inch, which was just enough to drop the drag coefficient to 0.33 and, with the 3.07:1 axle, raise top speed to a genuine 150 mph. This year's standard axle was an even taller 2.73:1, which proved to be too tall for the car to reach 150 mph.

For better straight-line stability at top speeds, the steering caster angle was increased one degree (to four). For better stopping ability from high speeds, the brake system was fortified with a larger master cylinder and booster, as well as different pads imparting more braking power and improved feel.

1985 Corvette
The 1985 Corvette arrived with this dazzling array of digital and graphic instruments. Some critics thought the ensemble rather too busy, though.

Transmission-wise, the 4+3 Overdrive manual received a heavy-duty 8.5-inch differential ring gear (up from 7.9 inches) for extra longevity, as well as an override button that was more conveniently placed atop the shift knob. What's more, the unit's computer was reprogrammed to make the overdrive function less intrusive. Toward the same end, the electronics governing the lockup torque converter clutch in the automatic transmission were also revised.

Cosmetic and convenience improvements on the 1985 Corvette included revised instrument graphics for improved legibility and newly optional leather upholstery for the extra-cost Lear-Siegler seats. Finally, Chevy began eliminating the sources of the rattles and squeaks that had so plagued the car in its first year via an extensive series of minor structural changes.

Car and Driver was among the media celebrating the new model's added refinement. The magazine sampled two cars -- an automatic with the base suspension and a Z51 manual -- and found both to be "tight and solid." The former ran 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds and the standing quarter-mile in 14.1 seconds at 97 mph. The manual version raced to 60 mph in six seconds flat and hit the quarter-mile in 14.4 seconds at 95 mph, reaching a top speed of 150 mph.

Roadholding and braking characteristics for the 1985 Corvette were also praised in the media, though testers still groused about an unnecessarily harsh ride with steering that was judged as being too quick for around-town use. The digital dashboard continued to be dismissed as being excessively gimmicky.

Sales for the C4's sophomore year took a steep plunge, dropping to 39,729, the lowest annual total since 1975. This downturn was at least partly due to 1985's whopping price increase -- the car's base price was now $24,403.

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.

1985 Corvette Specifications

Quality continued taking big strides for the 1985 Corvettes, which were produced in the recently opened Corvette-only plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Extensive automation allowed workers to lavish more time and care on each car. Here are the specifications for the 1985 Corvette:

1985 Corvette
Chevy still documented Corvette "body drops" in 1985, but a C4 "chassis" was welded to the "birdcage" body structure at this point on the assembly line.

Vehicle Specifications
Hatchback
Wheelbase, inches
96.2
Length, inches
176.5
Width, inches
71.0
Track, inches
front: 59.6 rear: 60.4
Height, inches
46.7
Curb weight, pounds
3,230

Mechanical Specifications (2-door hatchback)

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
P225/50VR-16

Brakes
front: 11.5-inch disc
rear: 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
2.73:1 (auto) 3.07:1 (manual)

Engine Specifications

Type ohv V-8
Displacement, liters/cubic inch
5.7/350
Bore X stroke, inches 4.00 X 3.48
Fuel management
Tuned Port Injection
Horsepower @ rpm
230 @ 4,000
Torque @ rpm, pound-foot
330 @ 3,200

Published Performance Numbers

Acceleration 230 hp, 4-speed manual
0-60 mph, second
5.7
0-100 mph, second
NA
1/4-mile, second @ mph
14.1 @ 97

(Source: Car and Driver)

Vehicle Production and Base Prices

Car Type
Production Price
2-door coupe
39,729 $24,403.00

Options and Production

Option Production Price
Power Driver Seat
37,856
$215.00
Sport Seats, leather
NA
1,025.00
Base Seats, leather
NA
400.00
Sport Seats, cloth
5,661
625.00
Power Door Locks
38,294
170.00
Removable Transparent Glass Roof Panels
28,143
595.00
Two-Tone Paint
6,033
428.00
Delco-Bilstein Shock Absorbers
9,333
189.00
Performance Axle Ratio
5,447
22.00
Cruise Control 38,369
185.00
4-Speed Manual Transmission
9,576
0.00
California Emission Requirements 6,583
99.00
Radio Delete
172
-256.00
AM/FM Radio Stereo, Cassette
2,958
122.00
AM/FM Radio, Stereo, CB
16
215.00
Stereo System, Delco-Bose
35,998
895.00
Heavy Duty Cooling
17,539
225.00
Performance Handling Package
14,802
470.00
Rear Window + Side Mirror Defoggers
37,720
160.00

Color Choices and Production

Color Choice
Production
Silver Metallic
1,752
Light Blue Metallic
1,021
White
4,455
Gold Metallic
1,411
Dark Bronze Metallic
1,030
Silver/Gray
2,170
Light Bronze/Dark Bronze 2,393
Medium Gray Metallic
2,519
Medium Blue Metallic
2,041
Black
7,603
Light Bronze Metallic
1,440
Bright Red
10,424
Light Blue/Medium Blue
1,470

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.