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The fourth-generation Chevrolet Corvette, or C4, is one of the cheapest iterations of the historic American sports car in 2023. Fans can find C4 Corvettes for under $10,000 with a fuel-injected V8 or a fire-breather with the ZR-1. Still, is a C4 worth it? Or are ‘Vette aficionados better off opting for a more classic C3 or newer C5?

What years did Chevrolet produce the C4 Corvette?

A Chevrolet Corvette C4, today's cheapest Corvette generation, looks at home on a race track.
1989 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 | General Motors

Chevrolet produced the fourth-generation Corvette, or C4, from 1984 to 1996. A stark departure from the curvacious, Batmobile-esque lines of the C3 model, the C4 incorporated the nameplate’s first wedge-shaped body. 

However, the C4 isn’t just a base model; the fourth-generation Corvette hosted a series of naturally-aspirated, fuel-injected V8s, from the relatively anemic Cross-Fire 350 V8 to the tire-shredding LT5 in the ZR-1

Moreover, the C4 is an automotive microcosm of the 1980s’ changing aesthetic. Gone were the raised fenders and quad-lights of the 1970s C3 models. Instead, the C4’s design language is much sharper and boxier, inside and out. Dipping into the C4’s cabin reveals a proper 1980s look with an LCD gauge cluster, unlike any other Corvette generation.  

How much is a Corvette C4 worth?

Fortunately, many C4 Corvette iterations are affordable enough to make it one of the cheapest Chevrolet Corvette generations. For instance, MotorTrend says the sports car bargain’s early model years average $6,100 to $9,000. 

Later model C4s skirt the $10,000 mark, with average values of around $7,200 to $11,400. Moreover, the 1992 Corvette’s 300-horsepower LT1 makes it a performance bargain. Better yet, the fourth-gen Corvette models offer manual transmissions for spirited driving.  

However, values rise explosively when considering sought-after models like the ZR-1. Specifically, the 1995 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1, the last year of the C4 ZR-1, has a fair value of around $19,000 to $22,800.   

What is the horsepower of a C4 Corvette?

A Chevrolet Corvette C4 shows off its wide tires.
Fourth-gen Corvette | General Motors

Although the fourth-generation Chevrolet Corvette started with the 205-horsepower Cross-Fire injected 350 V8 engines, power figures quickly rose to 230 with the Tuned Port Injected (TPI) 350 mill. Moreover, by 1992, the C4 produced 300 horsepower with its LT1 V8. 

By 1996, the final C4 produced a respectable 330 horsepower, just 15 fewer than the C5 base that would replace it.   

Is a C4 Corvette worth it?

The fourth-gen Chevrolet Corvette is an absolute performance bargain. Also, with average values as low as $6,100, it’s one of the most affordable ways to get into a Plastic Fantastic. As a result, a manual-equipped C4, especially an LT1 model, is a bona fide sports car treasure.

However, the much faster, more refined C5 Corvette isn’t much more expensive than the late-model C4s. For instance, Kelley Blue Book (KBB) says a 1997 Chevy Corvette in good condition with average mileage has a fair value of $11,341. Consequently, the C5 is an even better performance option than its predecessor.

What do you think of the fourth-generation Corvette? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!


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