The most successful Corvette to date, the C3, ended production in 1982, completing an unheard of 14 year model run and opening the door for the long overdue C4. The C3′s chassis is even older dating to 1963, the beginning of the second generation Corvette. The all new fourth generation Corvette was originally scheduled to be released in October of 1982, as a 1983 model, but the technologically advanced car encountered quality issues, part delays, and production problems. Then the knockout punch was delivered to the 1983 model when California passed some stringent late emissions regulations which the 1983 design was not prepared to meet. So to allow time to address the quality, supplier and emission issues the production of the new C4 was delayed until January of 1983 with customer delivery due in late March; and as a result GM decided to serialize the cars as 1984 models. There were 43 pilot model Corvettes produced in 1983 for testing purposes and all were destroyed with the exception of one.
Since General Motors was still struggling with federal and state emissions regulations which had virtually gutted the Corvette engine’s performance throughout most of the third generation’s life cycle, Dave McLellan, chief Corvette engineer, wisely shifted the emphasis in the new generation Corvettes to handling, suspension tuning and chassis development. When the new car was ready to meet the public Chevrolet introduced it with television ads that proclaimed the car to be the most technologically advanced car in history and then went on to say that “You’ve never seen anything like this before. You’ve never felt anything like this before. You’ve never heard anything like this before. The most advanced production car on the planet is now taking charge!”
And the hungry public obviously agreed as the fourth generation Corvette received outstanding reviews both from the press and enthusiasts. MotorTrend® chose the 1984 Corvette as “Car of the Year.” Road & Track® praised the car and said it was “bristling with fascinating technicalities and deserving a dedicated portion of any enthusiast’s memory bank.” Then went on to ask, “Is it now the best exotic car in the world? The best exotic car value?”
Watch the commercial here: