Interested in getting into an automotive hobby? Why not look at buying a used C4 Corvette? In this post, I give some great reasons why it’s a really good time to buy a C4 Corvette. Although not the fastest car on the road these days these cars are a great value with good performance, even by today’s standards, and most likely will only go up in value. Parts in general are easy to find and they are a blast to drive. Let’s break down the reasons a little more.
The C4 Corvette is a great way to get involved in the car hobby these days whether it’s just to get started with a Corvette or to own a good old fashion American V8. Depending on which one you are looking at and the condition, they are available in prices anywhere from a few hundred dollars for one that needs a lot of work to $20k plus for low mileage special edition models.
For instance, I purchased my 1985 4+3 with the Z51 suspension for $4,700. It had roughly 100k miles, purred like a kitten, and had a very good recent paint job. For the most part, it was road-ready and a great driver. It needed a few minor things, just about any 30+-year-old car will, but nothing major. The interior was an 8/10, with an intact dashboard and working dash lights, and interestingly had cloth seats. The power antenna and cruise control even worked.
Doing a quick search on-line the 1984-1990 Corvettes, $6,000-9,000 seems to be average. The 1984 model is the only C4 year with the Cross-Fire Injection. Some consider this a drawback and others see the first year of the C4 as more of a collectible car. The 1985-1990 have the L98 Tune Port Injection (TPI).
The 1991-1996 C4’s average anywhere from $7,000-12,000. These years had the higher horse power LT-1 engines.
There are other options that are more expensive like the famed ZR-1 built from 1990-1995 that averages anywhere from $19,000-23,000 and the very limited 1996 Grand Sport which averages $24,000.
Prices are only going to go up from here, probably the best reason now is a great time to buy a C4 Corvette. Looking for the latest prices C4 Corvettes, check them out here.
Lots of parts available
The front flip clamshell hood makes it easy to access the engine compartment for any kind or work you’re looking to do.
If your interest is getting your vehicle back to new several companies still sell brand new parts for almost everything you need to update or repair the C4 Corvette. There is Corvette Central, ZIP Corvette, and many others. I’ve had luck in the past getting parts from Summit Racing, Jegs as well as Rock Auto. One drawback is what I call the Corvette parts markup because, well, it’s a Corvette. The nice thing about some parts from the early C4’s, that they were shared with other Chevy cars and trucks. I’ve found a part I needed online, but the price seemed a little high, searched for a part number instead of a “Corvette part” and saved myself quite a bit of money.
Used parts are in abundance too. There were approximately 368k C4 Corvettes sold over the 12 years (1984-1996) so lots of broken down or damaged Corvettes to salvage from. In addition, there are lots of companies online that sell used parts or you can even find parts for cars at your local salvage yard occasionally.
Looking to do some performance enhancements? Lots of aftermarket parts are available to improve the performance of your C4 Corvette. There are unlimited options to make your Corvette unique. Whether you’re improving the exhaust, putting on headers, or improving your intake. Depending on the state you live in you might also be able to remove some emissions equipment which can help performance. Whether talking about the L98, the LT-1 or the LT-4 the 350 cubic inch Chevy small block has a ton of available aftermarket parts. Plus there is the popular upgrading to an LS motor.
Lots of fun to drive
C4 Corvettes are lots of fun to drive. They are not the fastest cars on the road but are very capable street performers even by today’s standards. During the mid to late 1980s C4 Corvettes dominated the road course races division and were banned by its competitors for beating them constantly. A separate division called the Corvette Challenge Series was created where only C4 Corvettes competed against other C4 Corvettes.
Looking for information on how much horsepower and torque C4 Corvettes had from the factory? Check out the C4 Corvette performance numbers here.
Another fun thing about the C4 Corvette are the open-top cruising. Whether it’s a convertible or a Targa Top coupe there is nothing like driving with only the sky above you. There is the Corvette wave, most people who drive Corvettes like to acknowledge other Corvette drivers with a simple wave, not all Corvette owners do, I lot depends on why a person buys a Corvette in the first place. I’d like to think people interested in the history of Corvettes learn about the wave but others who’ve bought one for other reasons, just like the way it looks, probably have no idea of the “wave”. I’ve had guys from all generations’ wave and others from all the generations look at you like you’re crazy.
For me nothing beats driving a manual transmission car. Ripping through the gears from a stoplight it’s always fun. C4 Corvettes with automatics are fun to drive too but nothing beats a manual transmission for driving fun in my opinion.
Hey, it’s a Corvette
Yes, it’s a Corvette. Not everyone feels the same way as I do about Corvettes. To me, they are the ultimate sports car and I’ve always wanted to own one. There might be other reasons for you and it’s different for everyone. The Corvette name has been around since 1953 and has been considered “America’s” sports car. With the introduction of the C8 Corvette in 2020 a renewed interest in all Corvette years is occurring. Just one more reason now is the time to buy a C4 Corvette.
A couple other things to consider
When buying a C4 Corvette, it’s important to do some research and consider lots of things such as the car’s condition, how many miles, history and if there is invoices showing work that has been done, and of course market value. Its also a good idea to have the Corvette inspected by someone you trust to ensure that it’s a good deal.
Also consider your own budget and whether you can afford any repairs or maintenance that may be needed. C4 Corvettes can be costly to maintain, and parts may be harder to find than for newer cars.
Also consider whether you can do the work yourself. Buying new parts is one thing but having someone else do the work for you will cost a whole lot more. Most of the cost for repair will be due to labor.
In conclusion, and I think its pretty clear, now is the best time to purchase a C4 Corvette. I believe prices will only go up from here and it’s an inexpensive way to try out the car hobby if that is something you’re interested in. There are lots of options available to meet just about anybody’s budgetary requirements. Whether you are looking for a car to buy and instantly drive around or you want a fixer-upper work on yourself. It’s a very gratifying feeling to do work yourself in my opinion.
I love all cars, not just Corvettes, and yes there are a lot of other great options to get into the hobby, Mustangs, Cobras, Camaros, Firebirds, Chargers and Challengers just to name a few, but to me, nothing beats the value, performance, potential and looks of a C4 Corvette.
Disagree that the C4 Corvette is a great performance bargin? Leave a comment and let me know what you think would be a better choice. Lots of cars to choose from.