Collectible C4: 1996 Chevrolet Corvette LT4/6-Speed – Sold?

by | Feb 2023 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Sports Car Saturday

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March 31, 2023, Update – While this “Classifind” expired recently, given the seller’s history, we suspect it may not actually be sold yet.  For now, we’re labeling this ride “Sold?” However, we will keep an eye out for an updated listing. In the interim, please reach out either by email or call Rudy directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

February 23, 2023 Update – Following a one-month pause after their original Craigslist ad expired, the seller of this 47K LT4/6-Speed 1996 Corvette posted a fresh listing. The pictures, description, and $25,900 asking price all remain the same.

January 20, 2023, Update – We confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found, we’re assuming this ride is “Sold?” until we come across a replacement listing.

Considered revolutionary when it launched for the 1984 model year, Chevrolet’s C4 Corvette remains the least desired generation of the brand.  Produced from 1984 through 1996, the pre-1992 examples, in particular, remain the entry-level Corvette with prices continuing to average under ten thousand dollars.  It’s a shame, as C4 Corvettes remain a great value in performance per dollar.

Regarding collectibility, C4 Corvettes will likely never achieve the price appreciation of previous generations.  There are always exceptions to the rule, with ZR1 models and all 1996 LT4-powered Corvettes notable exceptions.  This Competition Yellow over black leather 1996 Corvette convertible, last listed in February 2023 on Craigslist in Alpharetta, Georgia (Atlanta), is arguably more special because it’s an LT4/6-Speed manual-equipped version. Even more impressive is how clean and unmodified this Corvette remains.

Offered for $25,900, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is slightly above the one-year rolling average of this guide’s summary for 1996 Chevrolet Corvettes of all body styles.  By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can navigate to each comparable car sold as a way to help you evaluate the price of the Corvette featured here:

After twelve years of production, the 1996 model year marked the final year of Chevrolet’s C4 Corvette and the Generation II small block V8 that powered it.  Chevrolet commemorated its departure by offering two special edition Corvettes, both of which featured an upgraded version of the LT1 power plant.  Denoted as the LT4, the 330-horsepower engine featured in both the 1996 Collectors Edition limited edition Grand Sport Corvette transformed the C4 from most prior versions, save for the “King of the Hill” ZR1 versions.

The LT4 engine featured a number of enhancements over its LT1 counterpart.  To start, the LT4 received newly designed aluminum heads that featured taller ports and bigger, hollow stem valves.  They each received special oval-wire springs that could handle increased lift without binding.  To help increase the LT4’s valve lift, Chevrolet employed the Crane Company to provide higher ratio roller rocker arms and a higher duration camshaft.  Other improvements developed solely for use on the LT4 included a freer-flowing intake (which featured taller ports to match the heads), a roller-type timing chain, and a compression increase to 10.8:1, which was a noted increase over the 10.4:1 compression found on the LT1.

Additionally, the LT4’s crankshaft, camshaft, water pump, drive gear, and main bearing gaskets were all improved upon to bolster horsepower. While the LT4 shared distinct components with the LT1 – such as a newly designed throttle body, the LT4’s 330 horsepower was a marked improvement of 30 horsepower over the LT1.

While the LT4 engine came standard on every special edition 1996 Corvette, any C4 built that year could be ordered with the LT4 engine for an additional $1450, as long as the buyer also ordered the six-speed manual transmission.  Since the new LT4 engine redlined at 6,300 rpm (700 rpm more than the LT1 engine), models equipped with the LT4 engine included a special 8,000 rpm tachometer instead of the standard 6,000 rpm tachometer.

Despite its improved horsepower over the LT1 engine, the LT4 was not considered a showstopper by many automotive reviewers that year.  The fact remained that while the LT4 produced an extra 30 horsepower than the LT1, there was no notable difference in acceleration.  In fact, both the LT1 and LT4 equipped Corvettes ran similar 0-60mph times.  Another noted complaint of the LT4 engine was the fact that, because it lacked an engine oil cooler, it tended to overheat at sustained top speeds of around 186 miles per hour.

The Retro Cars Forever YouTube Channel features this C4 Corvette Buyers Guide:

It’s not that often we come across an LT4-powered 1996 Chevrolet Corvette for sale that isn’t either a silver Collector’s Edition or a blue Grand Sport model.  Additionally, this is a very clean, low-mileage, and unmodified example that has the potential to be judged at National Corvette Restoration Society (“NCRS”) events should the next caretaker choose to go down that path.  The sticking point for many might be the asking price, as twenty-six large can now buy a very nice C5 or C6 Corvette that many consumers find to be more comfortable.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Thank you for looking at my 1996 Competition Yellow, LT4 (manual) Convertible Corvette. The car has just over 47K original miles on the car.
Vette runs great and is a blast to drive. This color, engine, 6-spd. and drop-top make this a very desirable Corvette. Clean car fax, original window sticker, and service receipts
Take a look and see for yourself.
Please, no tire kickers, scammers, or joy riders. If the listing is still online, then the car is available. I also do not need help selling.
Thanks, Frank

Show or go: What would you do with this 1996 Corvette?  Please comment below and let us know!

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