The Chevy Corvette C4 Is the Best Used Sports Car Bargain

The kids of the ’80s and ’90s are growing up. As a result, the cars they idolized are going up in value. I mean, have you seen Toyota Supra values on Bring a Trailer recently? There’s precious little nostalgic metal left for people my age, at least at any reasonable price. That’s where the Chevy Corvette C4 generation comes in.

Regular Car Reviews makes an effort to address some of the stigma around Chevy C4 Corvette ownership | RCR

It’s small, cheap, RWD, and has some truly iconic styling. Plus, these Corvettes are generally held to be one of the more reliable cheap sports car choices.

Are C4 Corvettes collectible?

A blue and white-striped Chevy Corvette C4 Grand Sport shot from the front 3/4 angle
The Chevy Corvette C4 Grand Sport was peak ‘Vette in the mid-’90s | Chevy

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Of course, one of the things that keeps the Chevy Corvette C4 generation so cheap is its production numbers. You wouldn’t be able to find these things so cheap if they weren’t made in the hundreds of thousands, now would you? Production figures are a little hard to come by, but my digging turned up around 350,000 units from 1984-1996. In short, don’t expect your run-of-the-mill C4 Corvette to sell for six figures anytime soon.

But who cares if the Chevy Corvette C4 generation isn’t collectible? Are you seriously going to stick a sports car in a garage, with your own hard-earned paper, and then not drive it?? Save that kind of talk for the Ferrari forums. These cars are meant to be used. Parts are literally everywhere. Last weekend, I swear I saw some C4 spark plugs fall out of the sky. So drive it till it breaks.

The C4 was the biggest change to a Corvette until the C8

A maroon C4 Corvette was the American sports car of the '90s, seen here at the front 3/4 angle
Convertible Corvettes will forever conjure a certain image in my mind | Chevy

With that in mind, let’s talk about the cost of driving one of these. The big determining factors here are two things: mileage, transmission, and whether or not you’ve got a coupe. The convertibles are cool, but a Chevy Corvette C4 generation coupe will always have more appeal. Let’s assume you find the perfect C4. A Corvette Grand Sport with low miles and a stick. Expect that to run you north of $50,000. Thankfully, prices go down from there.

I found multiple stick-shift, coupe C4 Corvettes with under 50,000 miles on them within minutes over on AutoTempest. For a pretty standard one, expect to pay about $18,000. You’re getting a lot for that money too. With 340 hp going to the rear wheels, you’ll get in trouble with the law before you leave second gear. Forget the New Balance and ball caps stereotype, these things rock.

The ‘Vette of the ’90s is a product of its time

Olympic runner Michael Johnson stands in front of his white C4 convertible with BBS gold wheels
Olympian Michael Johnson alongside his Chevy Corvette C4 convertible just screams | Mike Powell via Getty Images

Obviously, the styling of the C4 is a product of its time. Whether that’s good or bad is up to you. Unfortunately, so is the handling. I’d recommend adding another few grand to your budget for some good coilovers and tires. That said, it’s hard to go wrong with the C4, and plastic explosive puns aside, this car really is the bomb for under $20,000.

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