1996 Corvette


With a brand-new Corvette only a year away, Chevrolet marked the end of the C4 generation with two special 1996 Corvette models: The first of them was the Collectors Edition, which included Sebring Silver paint, 5-spoke matching alloy wheels, and special trim. The $1,250 option package, RPO Z15, was ordered on 5,412 coupes and convertibles.

The 1996 Corvette Grand Sport packed excitement with its LT4 V-8, Admiral Blue paint, and unique interior trim.
Of the two special option packages offered for the 1996 Corvette, the Grand Sport
packed more excitement with its included LT4 V-8, vivid Admiral Blue paint,
broad Sixties-style dorsal striping, and unique interior trim.

More exciting was the limited-edition Grand Sport. Priced at $3,250 for the coupe or $2,880 for the convertible, the package included exclusive Admiral Blue paint with a large white stripe and red accents to pay visual homage to the classic Corvette-based racer of the 1960s. The coupe used ZR-1 wheels and tires -- P275/40ZR17s in front and P315/35ZR17s in the rear -- while convertibles rode on P255/45ZR17s in the front and P285/40ZR17s at the back; rear fender flares were added to cover the wider back tires.

The only interior upholstery treatments offered were black or a vivid red/black combination, and the GS was available only with the six-speed manual transmission. Chevy built 1000 Grand Sports, each having a special sequential serial number.

Required on the GS and optional on manual-transmission-equipped coupes and convertibles (at an additional $1,450) was a taste of the next-generation Corvette: a revised 5.7 small-block V-8 called the LT4. The new powerplant came with newly designed aluminum heads, a new throttle body (shared with the '96 LT1), revised camshaft and roller rocker arms, and higher compression, now 10.8:1 compared to 10.4:1 for the LT1.

These and other improvements allowed the LT4 to produce 330 bhp, 30 more than the LT1. Since the new engine redlined at 6,300 rpm (700 more revs than the LT1), models equipped with the LT4 were fitted with 8,000-rpm tachometers instead of the standard 6,000-rpm gauges. When ordered with Grand Sport models, the engine was dressed up with bright red paint and red ignition wires.

Orders for the 1996 Corvette Grand Sport totaled exactly 1,000, with coupes most likely in the majority.
Orders for the 1996 Corvette Grand Sport totaled exactly 1,000,
with coupes most likely in the majority.

Reviewers, however, didn't find that the LT4 added noticeably to the Corvette equation for '96 (clocking similar 0-60 mph times as the LT1), and noted that the beefier tires and revised torque curve made the GS more difficult to launch quickly from a standing start. The tires were also cited for improving cornering abilities, but at the expense of excessive oversteer during extreme handling situations at speed. While the press did appreciate the new engine's higher-revving ability, they also noted that the LT4, lacking an engine oil cooler, tended to overheat at sustained top speeds of around 186 mph. And the GS's garish graphics, especially the optional bright-red upholstery, were considered excessive.

Elsewhere in the line, the standard four-speed automatic transmission was treated to a variety of minor revisions for 1996 -- implemented to further improve shift quality -- and new torque converters promised better durability.

Selective Real Time Damping, RPO F45, replaced the previous Selective Ride suspension option. Similarly priced as the former configuration at $1,695, the F45 suspension calculated the optimal damping mode for its custom shock absorbers to maintain ride and handling quality via data gathered from sensors at all four wheels. The system could alter each shock individually (the former unit governed all four shocks simultaneously) at a rate of once every 10 to 15 milliseconds, or about every foot of roadway traversed at a speed of 60 mph.

What's more, the Z51 Handling Package returned to the options list for coupes after a five-year absence, offering Bilstein shocks, unique front and rear springs, bushings and stabilizers, and 9.5-inch-wide 17-inch wheels with P275/40ZR17 tires. If the $350 package was ordered with the automatic transmission, a 3.07:1 axle ratio was specified. While journalists found that the Z51 package indeed boosted the car's grip and would be ideal for autocross racers, they also judged it to be much too harsh for daily driving, especially in potholed urban areas.

With not one, but two special editions to help bring buyers into dealers' showrooms, Corvette sales rose somewhat for 1996, totaling 21,536. Still, this was a far cry from the C4's 1984 introductory model year, when it racked up sales of more than 51,000 units. But then the Corvette's price had risen by over 70 percent during the C4's run, from $21,800 in 1984 to $37,225 in 1996, which certainly helped to maintain the car's profitability despite the lower volume.

In its 43-year history, the Corvette had evolved from its origins as a garish plastic-bodied toy in the early 1950s into a bona fide sports car in the '60s and '70s. In the '80s and '90s it would become a well-equipped and increasingly sophisticated -- and costly -- touring car epitomized by the final 1996 C4.

Learn about other Corvettes in this generation:

1984 Corvette
1985 Corvette
1986 Corvette
1987 Corvette
1988 Corvette
1989 Corvette
1990 Corvette1991 Corvette1992 Corvette
1993 Corvette1994 Corvette1995 Corvette
1996 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.

1996 Corvette Specifications

For the final year of the C4 generation, the 1996 Corvette pulled out all the stops with two exciting special models, the Grand Sport and Collectors Edition. Each of these limited editions featured special options, and they were offered only in 1996. Here are the specifications for the 1996 Corvette:

The Grand Sport was available only with a six-speed manual transmission.
The Grand Sport was available only with a six-speed manual transmission,
but offered a choice of black or black/red interior upholstery treatments.

Vehicle Specifications
HatchbackConvertible
Wheelbase, inches
96.2
96.2
Length, inches
178.5
178.6
Width, inches
70.7
70.7
Track, inches
front: 57.7 rear: 59.0
front: 57.7 rear: 59.0
Height, inches
46.3
47.3
Curb weight, pounds
3,298
3,360

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
front: P255/45ZR-17
rear: P285/40ZR-17

Brakes
front: anti-lock 12.9-inch disc
rear: anti-lock 11.9-inch disc

Transmission
4-speed automatic
6-speed manual

Standard axle ratio
3.45:1

Engine Specifications

Typeohv V-8ohv V-8
Displacement, liters/cu inch
5.7/350
5.7/350
Bore × Stroke, inches
4.00 x 3.48
4.00 x 3.48
Fuel ManagementSequential Injection
Sequential Injection
Horsepower @ rpm300 @ 5,000330 @ 5,800
Torque @ rpm, pound-foot335 @ 3,600340 @ 4,500

Published Performance Numbers

Acceleration300 hp, 6-speed manual
0-60 mph, sec
5.1
0-100 mph, sec
12.7
1/4-mile, sec @ mph13.7 @ 104.0

Source: Car and Driver

Vehicle Production and Base Prices

Car Type
Production Price
2-door coupe
17,167
$37,225.00
2-door convertible
4,369
45,060.00

Options and Production

Option Production Price
Power Driver Seat
19,798
$305.00
Power Passenger Seat
17,060
305.00
Sport Seats12,016
625.00
Auxiliary Hardtop
429
1,995.00
Dual Removable Roof Panels
3,983
950.00
Removable Roof Panel, blue tint
6,626
650.00
Removable Roof Panel, bronze tint
2,492
650.00
Selective Real Time Damping, electronic
2,896
1,695.00
Performance Axle Ratio
9,801
50.00
330 hp Engine
6,359
1,450.00
6-Speed Manual Transmission
6,359
0.00
Spare Tire Delete
986
-100.00
Low Tire Pressure Warning Indicator
6,865
325.00
Compact Disc, Delco-Bose (reqs PEG 1)
17,037
396.00
Tires, Extended Mobility
4,945
70.00
Collector Edition
5,412
1,250.00
Grand Sport Package ($2,880 w/convertible)
1,000
3,250.00
Performance Handling Package
1,869
350.00

Color Choices and Production

Color Choice
Production Color Choice
Production
Dark Purple Metallic
320
Arctic White3,210
Sebring Silver Metallic
5,412
Admiral Blue
1,000
Black3,917
Bright Aqua Metallic357
Polo Green Metallic2,414
Competition Yellow488
Torch Red4,418


Learn about other Corvettes in this generation:

1984 Corvette
1985 Corvette
1986 Corvette
1987 Corvette
1988 Corvette
1989 Corvette
1990 Corvette1991 Corvette1992 Corvette
1993 Corvette1994 Corvette1995 Corvette
1996 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.