1984-1996 C4 Chevrolet Corvette: ZR1, LT1 Engine, Performance, and Features

Brand Development, Growth & Expansion
The 4th generation Chevrolet C4 Corvette had a rocky beginning with production problems in 1983, delaying its debut until the following year. Almost 50 prototypes completed never went into production; all except for # 23, which is on display at the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The official beginning of the Corvette C4 was in 1984, production running through 1996. The Corvette C4 was offered as a 2-door coupe or convertible.


The Corvette C4 utilized a compilation of features that were
manufactured in earlier models including opposing windshield wipers,
fiberglass body panels, distributor ignition and a cast iron engine
block from the 1953 Corvette, four round taillights from the 1963 model
and a centrally located fuel filter form the 1963 Corvette.

There were a total of 366,227 Corvette C4s manufactured between 1984
and 1996 and they were assembled at the Corvette plant in Bowling
Green, Kentucky.

Design & Technology
The Corvette C4 saw a complete redesign and overhaul except for the L83
engine which was carried over from the 3rd generation Corvette. The
1984 Corvette was designed with more emphasis on handling than its
predecessors. A front transverse composite leaf spring that is still
used today was integrated into the line. In 1984 the Corvette was
offered with a 5.7L, 327 inch L83 V8, with a dual throttle-body
injection system and 305 hp with 290 pound-feet of torque which was
dubbed the Crossfire. From 1985 through 1991 the Corvette was offered
with 5.7L 350 inch L98 V8 engine with 230, 240, 245, 250, 345, 382   or
403 hp with 330, 345, 465, 562, or 575 pound-feet of torque. From 1990
through 1995 Corvette manufactured a 5.7L, 350-inch LT5 V8 engine with
375 or 405 hp and 370 or 385 pound-feet of torque, respectfully.    

From 1992 through 1996 The Corvette was offered with a 5.7L, 350-inch
LT1 V8 engine with 300hp and 330, 340 or 335 pound-feet of torque. The
last of the generation C4s had a 5.7L, 350-inch LT4 V8 engine with 300
hp and 340 pound-feet of torque. The Corvette C4 was offered in a
4-speed automatic, a 4+3 overdrive manual and a 6-speed manual
transmission.

In 1985 the L98 engine was introduced in to the Corvette. The
convertible was reintroduced for the first time since 1975 in the 1986
Corvette, which is a 2nd Indy Pace Car version. Anti-lock brakes, a
third brake light and a key-code anti-theft system were introduced in
1986. A General Motors warranted Callaway twin-turbo engine was
introduced in the 1987 Corvette. The Corvette 35th Anniversary Special
Edition was manufactured in 1988 along with a new wheel design. The ZF
6-speed manual transmission replaced the Doug Nash 4+3 engine in 1989.

In 1990 the Corvette ZR-1 was introduced with a double-overhead cam LT5
engine. The 1990 Corvette also sported a redesigned interior with a
drivers-side air bag. The last year for the Callaway B2K twin-turbo
engine was 1991 and the exterior was redesigned. In 1992 the LT1 engine
replaced the L98 engine and a switchable Acceleration Slip Regulation
(ASR) traction control was now standard equipment.

The ruby red Corvette 40th Anniversary Special Edition debuted in 1993
and keyless entry was standard equipment. A new redesigned interior
including a passenger airbag was introduced in the 1994 Corvette. 1995
was the last year for the Corvette ZR 1 and a Special Edition Indy Pace
Car was manufactured. The last of the C4 generation introduced a
totally white Collector’s Edition and a Grand Sport Special Edition
Corvette. The Lt 4 engine with 330 hp was optional. 186 was also the
first year with OBD (On-board) II diagnostics.

Standard features of the Corvette C4 included new brakes with aluminum
calipers, a one-piece targa top, an electric dashboard with digital
display, airbags, a rear glass hatch for improved cargo access and an
all aluminum frame.