Image credits: © Chevrolet. GM Corp

1996 Chevrolet Corvette

To celebrate the heritage of the Corvette, the ending of the thirteen-year fourth-generation Corvette, and to fill the gap left by the C4 Corvette ZR1 that had ended in 1995, a Grand Sport and Collector Edition became available for 1996. The fourth-generation Corvette was introduced in 1984 and was awarded that year's Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year Award. During its production lifespan, it introduced many technical advances including Tuned Port Injection, Tuned Port Injection, the Lotus-designed DOHC LT5 ZR1 engine, electronic engine, transmission, handling, braking, and air-conditioning controls, and increasing use of onboard diagnostics.

The two special edition Corvettes marked the end of the fourth-generation Corvette, and the Collector Edition was intended more to celebrate the success of the C4 rather than its performance and racing pedigree. 5,412 Collector Edition Corvettes were built in 1996, including 1,381 convertibles, and recalling the 1982 edition, were sharply finished in Sebring Silver in combination with a light gray, black or red leather interior with 'Collector Edition' embroidery on the headrests. Chromed 'Collector Edition' badges were located on the front fenders, hood, and rear decklid, and silver-painted ZR1-style 17-inch 5-spoke wheels with special center caps were wrapped with Goodyear Eagle tires. Collector Editions also included black-painted disc-brake calipers with Corvette lettering.

The Grand Sport Editions were painted Admiral Blue with wide white racing stripes and red has marks above the left front wheel well. At all four corners were the aluminum ZR1-style 5-spoke wheels emphasizing the discs and calipers behind them. Even the engine received a special red intake manifold. To fill the performance vacuum left by the ZR1, Corvette engines modified the LT1 by opening up the valves and installing a revised crankshaft, thus creating the LT4, an engine with an additional 30 HP over the LT1 and a fantastic powerband with a smooth linear torque delivery. The LT4 was only available with the ZF 6-speed manual transmission. Although not as powerful as the ZR1, the Grand Sport had similar performance, with zero-to-sixty mph accomplished in 4.9 seconds, thanks in part to the F45 selective real-time dampening suspension system that allowed drivers to custom tailor their ride. The Grand Sport was also capable of pulling a full G on the skidpad. The total production of the Grand Sport was much more exclusive than the Collection Editions, with a mere 1,000 examples built. 190 were built as convertibles and the remaining 810 were coupes. The Grand Sport moniker was a nod to the original Grand Sport model produced in 1963.

The 1996 model year was also the last instance of the LT1 engine that had powered the Corvette since 1992. This small-block V8 had continued the tradition of compact pushrod Corvette engines and was revised in 1995 with revised fuel injection to accommodate ethanol fuel blends, a quieter cooling fan, and new powdered metal connecting rod. Apart from these changes, the reliable LT1 engine had remained in the same state of tune as it began in 1992, producing 300 horsepower at 5,000 RPM and 330 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 RPM with a 5,700 RPM redline. LT1-powered 1996 Corvettes were backed with the 4L60E electronically controlled 4-speed automatic transmission. The buyer of the Collector Edition opted for the 6-speed transmission, the engine was upgraded to the 330 horsepower LT4, transforming the otherwise subtle Corvette into the performance realm of the Grand Sport. Produced under relatively tight budget constraints, the LT4 revved and pulled with smoothness and refinement, propelling the Corvette from 0-60 MPH in 4.9 seconds, which was ZR1 territory.

All 1996 Corvettes received a new Selective Real Time Damping System that used sensors at each wheel to measure movement. The data was sent to the Powertrain Control Module and processed by an electronic controller that calculated the damping model to achieve optimum control. Standard equipment included leather seats, and a 350 CID V8 with sequential multi-point fuel injection, an aluminum cylinder head, five main bearings, hydraulic valve lifters, and delivered 300 horsepower and 335 lb-feet of torque. An optional OHV 350 CID V8 with higher compression boosted horsepower to 330 and torque to 340 ft-lbs. A six-speed manual transmission was standard and a four-speed automatic was a no-cost extra. The Corvette rested on a separate ladder frame with cross-members, clothed in fiberglass, and used independent SLA forged-aluminum upper and lower controls arms and steering knuckle for the front suspension, along with steel stabilizer bar, spindle offset, and transverse mono leaf springs. In the back were an independent five-link design with two and camber adjustment, tubular U-joint aluminum driveshaft, steel tie rods and stabilizer bar, forged-aluminum control links and steering knuckle, and transverse monoleaf springs. Power four-wheel disc brakes with ABS provided the stopping power, and the steering was handled by a rack-and-pinion setup with power-assist. Body styles included a hatchback coupe that had a base price of $37,225 and the convertible coupe that listed at $45,060. 16,833 examples of the hatchback and 4,185 of the convertible were sold. Hatchbacks had a removable body-color roof panel.

Standard Corvette colors included Admiral Blue, Black, Bright Aqua Metallic, Dark purple, metallic, artic white, Sebring Silver Metallic, Polo Green Metallic, Torch Red, and Competition Yellow. Standard interior colors included black, red, light gray, beige, and white. Corvette convertibles, except those with code 13, 28, or 45 paint colors, could be purchased with cloth colors of white, black, or beige. The Sebring Silver Metallic (code 13) cars came only with black cloth tops. The Polo Green Metallic (code 45) cars came with Beige or Black cloth tops, but not White. The Admiral Blue (code 28) Grand Sports came only with White cloth tops.

by Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2003
1996 is going to be a vintage year for Corvette afficionados and Chevrolet performance enthusiasts. Two very special Corvettes - the Grand Sport and Collector Edition - will add to the marque's legendary mystique. A new optional 330-horsepower 5.7 Liter LT4 engine, available on all Corvette models, raises the revered small block's performance level to a sensational new height.

The return of the Grand Sport evokes memories of the five special lightweight Corvette race cars constructed from 1962-63 under the direction of Zora Arkus-Duntov. This handful of ultralight machines - three coupes and two roadsters - became the most recognizable Corvette race cars of that era. With their special tubular frames, thin fiberglass skins, wheel flares, louvered hoods, and all-aluminum 377-cu.-in. small block engines, the Grand Sport earned a place in Corvette history. Legendary racers such as Roger Penske, Jim Hall, **** Guldstrand, **** Thompson, Augie Pabst and A. J. Foyt drove the Grand Sport in competition.

The 1996 version of the Grand Sport evokes memories of its predecessors with its exclusive Admiral Blue Metallic paint, white stripe, and red 'hash marks' on the left front fender. Chromed 'Corvette' emblems on hood and fuel door, 17' five-spoke black aluminum wheels, black brake calipers with raised bright aluminum 'Corvette' lettering, and perforated Sport bucket seats available in Red/Black combination or Black options with emroidered 'Grand Sport', distinguish the Grand Sport for 1996. Grand Sport Coupes are outfitted with P275/40ZR- 17 (front) and P315/35ZR-17 (rear) tires, and special rear fender flares cover the extra-wide rear rubber. Convertibles roll on P255/45ZR-17 (front) and P285/40ZR-17 (rear) tires. There will be limited production for Grand Sport models, each carrying a unique serial number.

The 1996 Corvette Grand Sport has the horsepower to support its racing heritage. A new 330-horsepower LT4 small block V8 is standard on Grand Sport (optional on all other Corvette models). A further development of the powertrain technology introduced on the LT1 V8 for 1992, the muscular new LT4 has the performance advantages of high-flow aluminum cylinder heads, larger hollow-stem valves and higher load springs, a more aggressive camshaft profile, revised pistons with a 10.8:1 compression ratio, a new fuel injector that increases fuel flow, and friction-reducing roller rocker arms. The LT4 engine assembly is bolstered with an undercut and rolled fillet cast iron crankshaft, steel camshaft and water pump gears driven by a roller chain and premium head gaskets.

The LT4 stands out from its small block siblings with unique appearance features, including a red inlet manifold, red spark plug and coil wires, red 'Corvette' lettering on the manifold covers and red 'Grand Sport' lettering on the throttle-body cover. Models equipped with the LT4 engine have an 8000-rpm tachometer with a 6300-rpm redline. The High Output LT4 is available only with a 6-speed manual transmission.

The new 'Collector Edition' model celebrates the final year of production for the fourth-generation Corvette. This eminently collectible Corvette model is distinguished by its exclusive Sebring Silver paint, chromed 'Collector Edition' emblems, 17' five-spoke aluminum wheels painted silver, P255/45ZR-17 (front) and P285/40ZR-17 (rear) tires, and black brake calipers with raised bright aluminum 'Corvette' lettering. The cockpit-style interior features perforated Sport seats with 'Collector Edition' embroidery available in Torch Red, Black or Light Gray. Coupe and Convertible Collector Edition models are available with either the standard 300-horsepower 5.7 Liter LT1 V8 (with 4-speed electronically controlled automatic overdrive transmission) or the optional 330-horsepower LT4 (with 6-speed manual transmission).

1996 also marks the introduction of a new Selective Real Time Damping system, which is optional on all Corvette models. Selective Real Time Damping employs sensors at each wheel, to measure movement. The data retrieved from each individual wheel and the PCM (Powertrain Control Module) are processed by a special electronic controller which calculates the damping mode that will provide optimum control of the vehicle. This sophisticated driver-adjustable Delco ride control system adjusts the shock absorbers in 'real time' - 10 to 15 milliseconds.

A new optional Z51 Performance Handling Package, available exclusively on Corvette Coupe, is tuned for the autocross and gymkhana enthusiasts. The package features Sport Suspension ride and handling, new Bilstein shock absorbers, stiffer springs, front and rear stabilizer bars, high-rate bushings, 17' x 9.5' wheels, and P275/40ZR-17/N tires. (Grand Sports have 17' x 11' wheels and P315/35ZR-17 tires in the rear.)

Corvette has long been a showcase for leading-edge technology. Its sophisticated standard systems include Passive Keyless Entry (PKE), PASS-Key II theft-deterrent system, and Bosch ABS/ASR anti-lock braking and Acceleration Slip regulation. Goodyear Extended Mobility Tires (EMT) which permit the vehicle to be operated with out air at 55 mph for up to 200 miles, as well as a low-tire-pressure warning system are available on Corvette Coupe and Convertible. Corvettes equipped with EMT tires can be ordered without a spare tire.

Corvette has a lengthy list of standard equipment, including dual air bags, 4-wheel independent suspension, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, power windows with driver's Express-Down and door locks, dual electric heated outside rearview mirrors, cruise control, rear-window defogger, 17-inch aluminum wheels and high-performance Goodyear Eagle GS-C tires.

Corvette isn't just an automobile - it's an American institution. Corvette doesn't simply compete in the sports car market, it defines it. With two new special edition models and a more powerful small block V8 option, Corvette continues its reign as America's favorite sports car.

Source - GM Corporation

New Collector Edition and Grand Sport embroidery
New tachometer (LT4 only).

Fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP) body panels
The clam shell front-end assembly tilts forward
Corvette Coupe's glass rear hatch has two interior remote releases and a roller shade cargo cover
A one-piece removable roof panel (Coupe only)
The convertible top has a heated glass rear window
A convertible hardtop is available (not available on Grand Sport)
Standard Solar-Ray tinted glass
Retractable, power-operated halogen headlamps offer aerodynamic styling, a high-level of illumination and easy servicing.

New 330-horsepower LT4 engine option
New OBD II (On-Board Diagnostics Second Generation)
New Selective Real Time Damping suspension option
New available tuned Z51 Performance Handling Suspension Package
New long-life coolant good for 5 years/100,000 miles.*

Source - Chevrolet

Related Reading : Chevrolet Corvette History

Very few vehicles elicit the same kind of satisfaction as the Chevrolet Corvette. The Vette is a symbol of childhood dreams and grown-up triumph. The only true American Sports car, this car stands for excellence and became an icon as a high-performance and dynamic sports vehicle. First introduced in January of 1953, the Corvette has only become more renowned as the years drift by. Undergoing many....
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Chevrolet Corvette Roars Into Its 60th Year

On June 30, 1953, the first of a new kind of Chevrolet – indeed, a new kind of American car – rolled off an assembly line in Flint, Mich. The car had only two seats. There were no roll-up windows, or exterior door handles, for that matter. Its body wasnt stamped from steel but, rather, molded from reinforced fiberglass. While the postwar Baby Boom was in full swing, this was definitely not....
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Corvette's Chassis Innovations Refined on the Race Track

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Hot summer day… roof top down… wind in your hair … smile in your face… and Little Red Corvette cranked up to its loudest setting. Theres nothing like music in the car to make a journey really fly by. But, did you know that, aside from Princes classic hit, more than 600 songs across all genres and multiple generations mention Chevrolet, Chevy or the name of a Chevrolet vehicle in their....
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1996 Vehicle Profiles

1996 Chevrolet Corvette vehicle information

Hatchback Coupe

This car, currently on display at the National Corvette Museum, was manufactured on December 6th of 1995 at the GM Bowling Green Assembly Plant. It features a LT4 engine with 330 horsepower and 350 CID. It has a 6-speed manual transmission, dual remo....[continue reading]

Hatchback Coupe

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1996 Corvette
1996 Chevrolet Corvette Price Range: $37,200 - $45,000

$13,490 - $16,690
$15,000 - $25,000
$24,400 - $24,450

Model Year Production

2001Jeep (455,417)Ferrari (792)
2000Ford (965,029)Pontiac (573,805)Chevrolet (547,294)547,294
1999Ford (918,040)Honda (733,878)Chevrolet (609,100)609,100
1998Ford (878,405)Honda (751,032)Chevrolet (561,218)561,218
1997Ford (913,440)Honda (722,431)Chevrolet (650,820)650,820
1996Ford (1,036,048)Honda (680,711)Pontiac (541,844)537,711
1995Ford (1,012,818)Chevrolet (665,955)Honda (643,336)665,955
1994Ford (1,220,512)Chevrolet (651,647)Honda (650,105)651,647
1993Ford (1,026,338)Chevrolet (692,116)Honda (608,149)692,116
1992Ford (922,488)Honda (648,745)Chevrolet (647,227)647,227
1991Honda (659,659)Oldsmobile (474,837)Nissan (405,147)

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