24K Original Miles: 1986 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

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It’s hard to find a collector car with under 30,000 original miles that doesn’t go for a healthy five-figure sum. The 1986 Chevrolet Corvette convertible shown here is a nicely preserved specimen with the rare and desirable manual transmission, and there’s just 24,222 miles on the clock. The cosmetics are in outstanding condition and it’s readily apparent this early C4 was set aside as someone’s weekend toy and collector vehicle. To me, this is one of the best values out there for a vintage collector car right now, and bidding is sitting at just over $10,000 here on eBay with no reserve.

The seller refers to this convertible as being one of the pace car tribute models produced in 1986, a nod to the famous yellow Corvette convertible that lead the field at that year’s running of the Indianapolis 500. Every 1986 convertible was designated as a pace car tribute vehicle, and the distinguishing characteristics were minor at best. For a pace car tribute, it’s surprising there aren’t additional features beyond the decals and a small badge on the center stack; then again, Chevrolet didn’t have to work particularly hard to sell special edition models like this – but c’mon, not even an embroidered badge on the headrests? This Corvette, like so many other pace car replicas, was obviously used sparingly, put away for a rainy day in hopes of a future payoff.

Over the years, any number of pace car Corvettes have popped up for sale, and many of them with even lower miles than this car. The seller notes it was a numbered offering with C4s like this supposedly one of just 3,685 examples marketed as a pace car tribute vehicle. However, let’s clarify that statement a bit: the 3,685 is the number of pace car replicas with a black convertible top; the overall production number is higher, with a grand total of 7,315 convertibles made in 1986, and all of them were pace car editions. The interior is in good shape overall, though I’m surprised to see the wear on the driver’s side upper seat bolster, near where the seat belt might get dragged across.

The engine bay is in clean condition overall, and the listing indicates the seller gave this car a thorough once-over to identify any potential mechanical faults. None were found, which isn’t a surprise for a low-mileage C4 Corvette that has typically been a fairly cheap and easy car to maintain. The seller reports that the 4+3 manual transmission works as it should and that there are no issues with the cooling system or differential operation. The air conditioning still works and the tires are brand new. With no reserve, I suspect someone is going home with a bargain basement collector car that will remain affordable to maintain for years to come.

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  1. Frank Sumatra

    All 1986 convertibles were Pace Cars. Color had nothing to do with it. Every car came with the decals in a box. They were a rare exercise in good taste by GM compared to most other Pace Car designs.

    Like 4
  2. tiger66

    Is the Doug Nash 4+3 transmission in this car really “rare and desirable”? Never thought they were much desired by Corvette fans though it may be somewhat rare especially in an ’86 vert. Which doesn’t mean it’s good. With C4s I’d guess an ’89-up with the much more desirable ZF 6-speed would be the way to go if you want a manual.

    Like 1
  3. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Sold for a little over $11K. Car looked good but there were some small things like the rims not being on correctly. IIRC the rears are right and the fronts are wrong. Overdrive if used correctly is good, if not it’s trashed. I suspect that’s what happened to mine before I bought it and it has a Tremec in it now. Tires are an issue, OEM’s are not easy to locate but there are options.

    Like 2
  4. drew

    It’s been mentioned here previously that the parts for the 4+3 are difficult to come by.

    Like 0
    • Grant

      I don’t recall, why did Chevy do that trans? Pollution control? Novelty? A standard 4 speed would have been optimal, if not a 5 speed by that time, even better. Too bad, had it been an auto, would have sold for more in this situation, and that is not sometime that I would normally say. I don’t care what people say, these were beautiful cars to look at, still are. I find them prettier than later generations.

      Like 2
      • Bick Banter

        I don’t know for a 100% sure but recall that back in the 1980s, GM did not have a 5-speed manual transmission that could handle the torque of the 350. The T-5 certainly could not, which is why all L98 350 F-bodies were automatics.

        The 4+3 is basically a Borg Warner T-10 4-speed with an overdrive unit stuck on the back. So my guess is that is why it exists – so the low production and expensive Corvette could still offer a manual and not kill CAFE fleet fuel mileage.

        Like 2
  5. Frank Sumatra

    The Doug Nash 4+3 was good enough for the $20,000 RPO B2K Callaway twin-turbo option for the 1986 and 1987 Corvettes. Maybe they were modified by Callaway, but they seemed to work OK.

    Like 0
  6. T. MannMember

    Why are we seeing a car that was Sold Yesterday Morning?

    That is a terrible transmission.
    If it been an auto, it would have sold for more.

    Like 2

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