Why The Corvette C4 Is The Best Value In Chevrolet's Pony Stable

The fourth-generation Corvette, also called the C4, has been referred to as the worst Corvette. When it first launched in 1984, the 350 cubic-inch V8 it came with wasn't doing it too much favors and was severely lacking in the power department with only about 205 horsepower on tap. As the years went on, Chevy slowly came to its senses, and the C4 got more competent as it got older. The ZR-1 came along in 1990 and corrected about every initial mistake with the Corvette.

By the early 90s, the 'Vettes were making 300 horsepower from a base model and all was right with the world. However, the stigma attached to the C4 nearly 40 years ago still hangs around and the cars still don't attract much of the same premium price as other Corvettes. Fortunately for fans of classic 1980s to 1990s GM cars or for people who want a car shaped like a fiberglass wedge without having to buy a Lamborghini Countach, the C4 might be one of the best values of any big V8 GM sportscar.

As with just about any car for sale, condition and options matter just about as much as the car itself, so price varies across the C4 spectrum and special editions, like the aforementioned ZR-1 still carry a hefty price tag. But, bone stock C4s from most model years can still be attained for less than $20,000 on sites like Bring a Trailer, and even less than $10,000 if its an earlier, less powerful model.

The value 'Vette

For the C4, you get a lot for your money if you get your hands on a well preserved one. There's not a lot than can go wrong with an American V8 rear-wheel drive sportscar that only weighs a little over 3,300 pounds. The C4 was powered by a variation of Chevy's time-tested small block, a recipe for success, and the engine itself is practically endlessly configurable. Even if you buy one of the less powerful 1984 or 1985 models, it's a fairly straightforward process to swap out the restrictive parts of the engine or replace the entire powerplant, if you have the right tools and parts handy. 

The Fox body Mustang, also a rear-wheel drive V8 powered American car from the same era, has enjoyed a huge Renaissance period. As a result, prices are through the roof, regularly hovering around $20,000 at auction. If it's a special edition, like an SVT Cobra, the price jumps dramatically. If you're shopping for the best V8 value, you might want to take a moment and consider the fourth generation Corvette.