How Much Is a C4 Corvette in 2023?
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The fourth-generation Chevrolet Corvette, or C4 Corvette, is a perfectly 1980s adaptation of the beloved American nameplate. It featured a wedge shape, pop-up headlights, and an interior that would make you question the design team’s sanity. Still, the last C4 Corvettes rolled off the line years ago, which should be reasonable prices. So, is the C4 Corvette an affordable sports car option in 2023? More importantly, is it worth it?
How much is a C4 Corvette worth today?
The Chevrolet Corvette C4, which ran from 1984 to 1996, is one of the most affordable cars in the model’s history. On average, models from the C4 generation have an average sales value of $21,124, per Classic.com. However, higher-mileage examples routinely sell for under $10,000.
That puts the C4 in an interesting place among Corvette generations. Currently, the C4 is the only Corvette generation worth less on average than its predecessor and successor, the C3 and revolutionary C5, respectively. Of course, special editions, like the Grand Sport or the highly sought-after Indy Pace Car, will demand a higher price than the base model. Furthermore, the revolutionary ZR-1 has an average price of $35,665.
The C4 Corvette is one of the best sports car bargains on the market if you can live with it
There’s no getting around it: the fourth-generation Chevrolet Corvette’s price tag is an attractive proposition. After all, many solid examples with sub-100,000-mile odometers sell for under $15,000. What’s more, the fourth-gen car introduced the Gen II SBC engine into the ‘Vette mix, a capable, fuel-injected LT-family V8.
However, fans who want the LT1, LT4, or LT5 will have to skip beyond the early C4 Corvette years and contend with the higher prices of the 1992 and up models. It’s a prudent move, though; the LT engines kept the 350 cubic-inch displacement but incorporated higher top-end power (250 hp in the L98 versus 300 hp in the LT1).
Unfortunately, drivers will have to contend with some of the ‘Vette’s foibles. First, the 1992 and 1993 Corvettes had an unvented Optispark ignition, and any moisture that penetrated the unit would cause issues, per Hemmings. Further, on an admittedly nitpicky note, the C4 Corvette’s interior is the least handsome cockpit in the model’s history. Instead of the attractive analog dials of the C3 and C5, the C4 packs dated displays devoid of classic style.
While the C4 base is docile by today’s standards, the C4 ZR-1 is an early 1990s brawler
The C4 base, especially the post-1992 cars, is a performance bargain. At the time of its release, it was one of the fastest American production cars. However, the C4 ZR-1 is another animal entirely. With a Lotus-derived DOHC 5.7L LT5 V8 and adaptive Bilstein suspension, the 375-horsepower ZR-1 could sprint and corner with some of the fastest sports cars in the world at the time.
In fact, the C4 ZR-1 could hit 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds on its way to a 12.8-second quarter mile. Those figures put the ZR-1 in close-shave competition with the Porsche 911 Turbo of the time. It’s a prime example of the best of ‘Vette going to fisticuffs with a European rival for nearly half the cost.
Is a C4 Corvette worth it in 2023?
The fourth-generation Chevrolet Corvette is a bona fide driver’s car bargain. With a V8 up front, a bleeding-edge performance variant, and a compliant manual transmission, a C4 has the potential to inspire. However, with rising pricing trends closing the gap to the C5 Corvette, it might be worth it for fans to consider the LS-powered fifth-gen instead.
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