By on February 13, 2014

01 - 1984 Chevrolet Corvette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou know how there was no 1983 Corvette, and then the C4 finally came out in 1984, and it had this terrible twin-throttle-body fuel-injection system? Of course you do. Anyway, C4 Corvettes are worth enough these days that they’re not common sights in self-service wrecking yards, and those that I do find have been picked pretty clean.. Shops that specialize in Corvettes intercept most basket-case examples before they get to these yards, but I found four C4s all together at a Southern California yard last month. Let’s check out a well-stripped example of the first of the good-handling Corvettes.
08 - 1984 Chevrolet Corvette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one is rough, the interior smells like the blue water in a Porta-Potty, and you’ll get a case of fiberglass-itch if you get too close.
12 - 1984 Chevrolet Corvette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBut the Cross-Fire Injection is pretty cool-looking.
06 - 1984 Chevrolet Corvette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI didn’t bother to shoot the other three C4s, because they were all in similar condition.
09 - 1984 Chevrolet Corvette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m sure these carcasses will stay out on the yard until there’s nothing left of them.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

72 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1984 Chevrolet Corvette...”


  • avatar
    bryanska

    Are these truly a quiet, more comfortable, more powerful alternative to the Miata? Or is too much lightness lost?

    • 0 avatar

      Quieter, except for all the squeaks and rattles on the earlier C4s…

    • 0 avatar
      tkewley

      You must be joking. If by “alternative” you mean numb, imprecise steering, a hopelessly clunky shifter, unsupportive seats, and endless squeaks and rattles, then sure. If not, then…no. The C4 was a seriously flawed car even by the standards of its’ time; 30 years on, only Corvette diehards need apply.

      • 0 avatar
        carinator

        Not sure what car you are remembering, but the March 1983 Car and Driver reviewer felt differently:

        “Item: The roadholding on this new machine is so advanced that we recorded the highest skidpad lateral acceleration — 0.90 g — ever observed with a conventional automobile by this staff. That figure practically trivializes the previous high-water marks, in the 0.82-g range, generated by such exotics as the Porsche 928 and assorted Ferraris.

        Item: It is hands-down the fastest American automobile, capable of 140-mph top speeds, 0-to-60 times under seven seconds, and 15.2-second quarter-mile forays at 90 mph. In fact, these figures qualify the Corvette as one of the half-dozen fastest production automobiles in the entire world!”

        http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/1984-chevrolet-corvette-c4-archived-road-test

        Best skidpad ever tested up to that point; not bad for a numb, imprecise, clunky, flawed car.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “That figure practically trivializes the previous high-water marks, in the 0.82-g range, generated by such exotics as the Porsche 928 and assorted Ferraris.”

          How far we’ve come where run of the mill cars like a Chrysler 200 can beat that number on the skid pad.

          • 0 avatar
            carinator

            True that, not to mention the 0-60 times. But the car was a revolutionary leap for its time. I remember reading that exact Car and Driver review when I was a junior in HS. Tried to rent an ’85 C4 for prom, but couldn’t swing the insurance issue.

            But now I have the last laugh with my 666 RWHP 2011 Grand Sport, with full insurance under $900/yr.

        • 0 avatar
          cargogh

          Goodyear’s Eagle GTs must have changed driving quickly. I remember a year later, Omni GLHs were hitting 0.83. I’d forgotten how low numbers used to be. Tire squealing from old movie chase scenes was more real than I knew.

        • 0 avatar
          Russycle

          As I recall, they got that skidpad performance thanks to huge, sticky tires and a suspension that defined “bone-shaking”. That’s not to say the C4 wasn’t a big improvement over its predecessor, but I’ll take the Miata, thanks.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            Newsflash real performance cars have stiff suspension even Miatas. The Z51 pkg was made for showroom stock racing series. Spec Miatas are stiff too.

            C4 has aluminum double wishbones all around with good geometry. It also has big tires and brakes. It was not a camaro.

            I guess the C4 now qualifies as an underrated classic I didn’t realize there was all this hate!

        • 0 avatar
          Superdessucke

          Car and Driver reviewers are bootlickers, and back then Chevy probably even buttered him up with a hooker. You know that reading this site!

      • 0 avatar
        wumpus

        Two things I remember from my summer working at Jiffy Lube in the 1980s:

        Driving a miata by looking clean over the windshield.
        Corvette seats were amazingly comfortable.

        Note that this is over the course of a whopping 30′ or so. I have no idea how supportive the seats are during hard cornering or after a few hours (the magazines claimed they would want a 944 for “driving fast and long”).

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Not sure how you’d even compare this to a Miata, but if you find the right one, it’s a lot of fun. But the comments about the early C4s are on target – my ex-brother in law had one, and it was a massive rattletrap. Fun to drive, though.

      It took Chevy a few years to work out the bugs on the C4, but when they did, it became a damned awesome car. The C5 was even better, and you can pick one up for very reasonable money.

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        Which would you buy? An early more expensive c5 or last-year cheaper c4?

        Alternately, if the C5 were a stripper and the c4 was loaded, and price were equivalent. Then which?

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          I prefer the LS1 to the LT series of the C4s, so I’d go C5 all the way. Not that I wouldn’t buy a nice C4 for the right price.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            My favorite was always the early/mid 90s(?) one that was very “flat,” least curves possible. It had awesome wheels, and a nicer upgraded Pontiac-type interior.

            I drove the green one back when I was playing the original Need For Speed on PC. I always liked that you could get an interior view, and see all the buttons and the steering wheel. The interior seemed the nicest, and IIRC it was available with an automatic. Maybe I’m mis-remembering though. Was about 20 years ago.

        • 0 avatar
          Reino

          It is common knowledge that the combination of the LS1 and rear transaxle alone put the C5 worlds above the C4. If the cost were similar, the only reason you’d get the late-model C4 is if you really liked the body style. Many think the C5 hatch and rear end are too unproportionate, and also the interior and seats are a step down from the C4. If you don’t mind this, then the C5 is the better car. Personally, I like the look of the C4 better, optispark and center transmission hump be damned.

          • 0 avatar
            bryanska

            Yeah, I like the late C4 interior better too. But I’m not a corvette guy and didn’t want to ask a leading question.

    • 0 avatar

      but…but…but…no one EVER throws a Corvette away !

      I’ve seen a few 5k vettes for sale, amazed that there is still a registration on it.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I understand there were, like, 44 1983 Corvettes made. One of which was swallowed into a sink hole yesterday.

    • 0 avatar
      tkewley

      I believe GM’s position is that all the “’83″ Corvettes were used for internal testing and validation; none were ever sold or registered for private use. So, from a certain perspective, they don’t exist.

    • 0 avatar
      AlternateReality

      No better place for it than at the bottom of a Kentucky chasm. These were utter garbage, even by the standards of the day.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Naw, they were better in most respects than the C3 they replaced. You could after all lift a C4 by its lift points without having to release the hood and open the doors as well as unbolt the roof on targa tops or release the soft top on manuals all to avoid stressing the body and cracking them. Not to mention a better chassis

        • 0 avatar
          AlternateReality

          “Better than a C3″ is an extremely low bar to clear, though. The LT1 models were much better than their predecessors, but overall the C4 was a pig throughout its model run compared to the competition at the time. The C5 was infinitely better, lackluster interior notwithstanding.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            A pig compared to what – a Porsche? A Ferrari? Less sophisticated, perhaps, but far from being a pig. And a LOT less expensive.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        What were the standards of the day? The Delorean, XT, and the 300ZX?

        I don’t have much personal experience with sports cars of the 80s, but most publications seemed to put the C4 midpack at the time.

        • 0 avatar
          Power6

          Go read some car and driver archived reviews. The C4 was well regarded in its day. I just read one where a Z51 coupe easily beat a clubsport 911 with no radio at twice the price. We know the interior was bad but the sport seats rocked the c7 is just now bringing back a decent seat.

          Still see old C4s running great at track days and auto-x.

          • 0 avatar
            raph

            Agreed Power6 and here is the link to the article

            http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/1989-chevrolet-corvette-z51-vs-porsche-911-archived-comparison-test-the-checkered-flag-page-5

            I remember the C4 Corvette being especially successful as a road racer.

            Another great car GM produced at the time was the 3rd gen 1LE Camaro.

          • 0 avatar
            Lt.BrunoStachel

            Dont forget the creation of the Corvette Challenge series. Go here to read about it http://showyourcorvette.com/

            A qoute from that site
            “The late 1980′s Corvette was thriving with their high horsepower V8 engines, aerodynamic body and rigid suspension. As a matter of fact the Corvettes were taking all of the titles in the late 80′s. Porsche, Lotus and many other competitors couldn’t touch the Corvette. The competitors got together and banned the Corvette from competing against them. In 1987 a fellow by the name of John Powell came up with a brainstorm idea of having a “Corvette Challenge”. Which meant only Corvettes could compete against one another, in doing so he wanted to make sure each car was to spec. ”

            You know you have a great car when they have to ban it from racing. And I don’t really agree with every ones accessment on the C4 being a rattle trap. Drove a couple when they were fairly new. No complaints here. Now on the other hand I’ve also driven a few used ones that fit the description. I’m not saying that they are crap once they are broken in but it’s not fair to call them rattle traps when those problems are stupid owner induced. Any car rides rough with non spec tires and worn out shocks. BTW I know of a few Cross Fire Injection C4 that are class record holders in both forms of racing. Drag and Road so all you haters dont have a clue about the potential of the L83.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Easy to say as you probably were not around during the early 80′s and have no clue!

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      All but one were destroyed, and the sinkhole yesterday missed the one 1983 still in existence.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The Fire Department allowed them to roll the ’83 out (apparently it was in an undamaged part of the building). And it was the last one in existence.

  • avatar
    JohnAZ

    As a Mustang fan and celebrant of the 50th Anniversary of the Mustang, I am curious about how GM and the Corvette fan base handles the absence of the 1983 Corvette in the historical record.

    For example, with the first production Corvette being I believe a 1953 model first produced in June 1953, and the 2015 Corvette now in production in 2014, the current Corvette would either be the 62nd anniversary model based on model year, or the 61st anniversary based on production year, or the 60th anniversary based on the number of model years produced.

    Also, how does GM and the fan base deal with the number of contiguous years of Corvette production? Does the missing 1983 Corvette mean that the largest period of contiguous production for Corvettes is considered to be just 31 years?

    Pardon my ignorance, but I seriously would like to understand how Corvette fans see the Ford claim that Mustang is the longest contiguous car model at 50 years.

    • 0 avatar
      Reino

      Its just the anniversary of the very first Corvette produced. It’s like if you and your wife took a year break, but then decided to stay together. You wouldn’t adjust your anniversary date.

    • 0 avatar
      Joe McKinney

      The C3 was made through October 1982 and production of the C4 began in March 1983. The 5 month hiatus between the C3 and C4 was rather long for a new model changeover, however, the Corvette was never discontinued (like the Camaro) and it has been in continuous production since 1953. While there was no 1983 Corvette, both the 1982 and 1984 Corvettes were built during the 1983 model year.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnAZ

        That’s how I would judge it. GM missed a model year schedule but did not close up shop on Corvette production.
        In Reino’s example, if the couple had divorced then remarried after a year, then that is not contiguous. If they were separated on the occasion of their anniversary then got back together 5 months late, that could be considered contiguous.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Seems to me the “exploding scoreboard” instruments would be a Holy Grail find for Murilee.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I would imagine that curved rear glass is an expensive part to replace, and think these four would lose those first.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’m not a Corvette fan, but the C4 remains my favorite style of all.

    • 0 avatar

      First time I’ve heard that…

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        In terms of Corvette generations I can actually get my hands on (so C3-6), the C4 is also my favorite. However if I could have any one of them it would be a C2 Convertible.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          C2 convertible? I’d take one, but only one C2 would do if money were no object:

          http://www.soksa.com/assets/publicDocs/userFiles/icy/image/1963_Corvette_Stingray_SportCoupe.jpg

          Not just the best looking ‘Vette ever…this is one of the most beautiful cars ever made.

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      Personally, C5 is my favorite. I think it’s a good clean and restrained design that still manages to look aggressive. The C4 is good too, and I have always liked the curves of the C3. My problem with the latest C6/C7 Corvettes is that they are falling in the trap so many American cars do. The look is just too busy with all sorts of vents and angular creases. It’s almost like in a desire to look “not boring” they wind up making it look goofy.

      Still, creases, vents, scoops, and all it’s not a bad design. Just not my favorite.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Let’s face it, there wasn’t a bad looking ‘Vette ever made. My preferences:

      C2 (The ultimate ‘Vette – how would this NOT get the top spot?)
      C3 (’68-72 only – after that it became a self-caricature, but the early models were GORGEOUS, and I’m a sucker for any car shaped like a woman’s body)
      C7 (This car is SHIT HOT)
      C4 (Paging Sonny Crockett…)
      C6 (Love that shortened rear end)
      C1 (Not a fan of ’50s styling in general, but I like the ’61-62s)
      C5 (Too much junk in the trunk)

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I drove a very early production 1984 Corvette when they were first released. It was like a rocket ship, especially back in the performance-strangled early 1980′s. I have a real soft spot in my heart for one of these. Although, I think I would actually like to find one later in the series (post-1990) as opposed to these early ones.

  • avatar
    Short Bus

    The early C4s catch a lot of flak for reasons I don’t understand. Yeah, by standards of cars 10-15 years later the car was kind of a turd, and I wouldn’t touch one now given the complete superiority of the later LT1 cars. But in 1984 what was better that maintained a similar level of performance for the same amount of money?

    • 0 avatar
      tkewley

      I suppose that depends how you define “performance”, but the Porsche 944 and Nissan 300ZX Turbo leap to mind.

      • 0 avatar
        Short Bus

        By performance I mean which car was faster (drag strip, road course, etc). The 944 was a sweet handling car, but just like you see today with Porsches priced similarly to the Corvette, it was severely lacking in horsepower relative to the Chevy (nevermind the torque difference). In 1985 the horsepower gap got a lot wider.

        I guess the 300ZX is a better match, but I’m having a difficult time coming up with original MSRP numbers for these cars for an accurate comparison.

      • 0 avatar
        Reino

        Hard to find a 944 (especially a turbo) these days that hasn’t been severely beat on, with a cracked dash, faded paint, broken sunroof mechanism, and failing hatch struts. Corvettes, on the other hand, have the distinction of generally being garage queens. As for the 300ZX, I assume you mean the Z31: its not even in the same league.

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        Oof the Z before the z32 came was a pig, it was a 2 door luxury coupe. You also had to buy a turbo 944 to hang with a Vette, much different price range and quality there but the C4 could hang on the track easily.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    A few years back I was perusing the Pick-A-Part in North Las Vegas and they had over a dozen of them all in one row ~ LVPD is merciless about impounding anything and everything so I imagine these were similar C4′s that had little value .

    Kinda sad , those ” spitter ” dual throttle body injection setups sucked *SO* badly , we hated them when our fleet had mostly Chevy pickups & Radio Cars so equipped .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      I had an early (82 or 83?) iron duke with single TBI that seemed like a vast improvement over the “electronic carbs” previous. What made them a problem when doubled?

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Mainly ignorance and lack of knowledge on how to properly work on that system. I see tons of 1982/83 F-bodies running the original Cross Fire setups and they run perfectly and there are still quite a few 84 Vettes at car shows with the original 5.7 Cross Fire motors intact and running well so it’s obvious that these were not as bad as some make them out to be.

    • 0 avatar

      What truck did you have that had the Cross Fire setup? If I remember correctly only the Y and F bodies got the CrossFire system (dual throttle bodies) the trucks and every other SBC got the two barrel (like a two barrel carb) TBI system in 1987. By 87 the Crossfire was gone (died after ’84 for TPI)

      GM’s TBI system was pretty reliable, the only issue I recall with it was cleaning the IAC motors after a time, otherwise they were damn near unkillable. and that was with 10+ years after it left the factory.

      • 0 avatar
        ex-x-fire

        I have an 84 vette, I swapped over the crossfire injection for a truck tbi set up. The intake is like a traditional 4bbl type intake. I’d say if gave it about 40-50 hp increase. Traction is an issue. I used the stock 84 corvette wiring harness & ecm. The two systems are really quite alike.
        One thing you can do to a stock crossfire intake is port it & port it some more, there’s a lot of restriction in it. Mod the fuel pressure regulator for more psi to keep it from running lean.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    This was a great chassis in search of a great engine/trans combo. For my money that didn’t happen until the LT1 hit 300+hp and the 6 speed manual was available over the 4+3 gearbox. 1992 to 1996 is the sweet spot for the C4 for me and I love this generation’s exterior. Now even the nice examples of these are going for $10,000 a very affordable 2nd fun car.

  • avatar
    philipbarrett

    Wheeler Dealers did a flip on one recently with Mike raving about the Americana & 205HP! Ed of course got all the electrical niggles sorted (including the dash) and built door panels from scratch. Clever lad that.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      And they mocked the “dodgy” American electronics…talk about the pot calling the kettle black. The British have no right to mock anybody for reliability issues…LUCAS Lousy Unreliable Crap Auto Supplier

  • avatar

    You took a really good picture of that throttle body, Mr. Martin. Thanks very much.

  • avatar
    Jack Baruth

    Cease-Fire Injection!

    But my God, the logo was so cool.

    Cooler on the ’82 though.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    I love the people going ‘C4 was bad by the standards of the time [1983]“. But then someone showed a Car and Driver article praising it. Yes, it was praised and popular, “by the standards of its time”, but it got overshadowed by later versions.

    Don’t make claims if one was not old enough to remember, or without verification.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Had an 85 with the multi port injection. Bought with high miles and put 30K trouble free miles on it. Was dependable and ran 14.0 1/4.. Not bad for 160K miles. I am not a Gm guy by any stretch but always wanted a Vette. Cheap fun, easy to fix and easy to run. I would buy another in a sec. I think they are some of the best deals out there. Surprised to see three there in a row! That back glass is an expensive item as are alot of the other Vette-specific bits.

  • avatar
    Peter421sd

    The comments here are really priceless,to dare to compare a Corvette to a Miata is so out of line is almost blasphemous,one wonders if the “reviewer” in question didn’t spend his whole existence squeezed in the back seat of a Honda Civic…


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India