34,335 Miles: 1996 Chevy Corvette

I keep telling myself now is the time to buy a Corvette of this vintage, as they’ve been far too cheap for too many years. Offering respectable performance in an attractive wrapper, the later C4 cars were dramatic improvements over the first few years of production, and yielded some impressive models like the coveted ZR1. That said, any later car with a manual transmission and the upgraded suspension should be a joy to drive, but this low mileage automatic here on craigslist for $12,000 should provide plenty of smiles per mile, too.

Despite residing in Florida, the seller says this Corvette only saw fair weather and didn’t languish in the sun. This is important, as unlike most Florida sellers, they’re acknowledging that even in the land of sunshine, prolonged exposure to the outdoors can cause dashes to crack and plastics to shrink. Fortunately, this Corvette bears none of those scars, and wears one of the best color combinations out there: white over lipstick red.

The sport sears in the C4 ‘Vettes are some of the best ever made by the OEM, and they look to be in excellent condition here. The removable roof panel provides the best of both words in terms of an open-air experience and coupe-like solitude if you don’t want the wind blowing your hair around. The low mileage helps validate the seller’s claims that it was only used a few weeks per year, but we hope it was maintained in that time as well.

The rounded edges of the later C4s gave it a much more modern appearance, and you can tell from a mile away which end of the production run a Corvette came from. While the automatic transmission takes this one out of the running as a being the kind of performance car you can truly hustle, it will make a fine cruiser for the next owner – and with such low mileage, there’s lots of life left in this nicely-preserved example.

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Comments

  1. ccrvtt

    I owned a 1995 with an automatic I can safely say that it can be hustled quite effectively. Having EEE wide feet precluded 3 pedals in that narrow footbox, but a stick shift may have been more fun. They command at least a 10% premium for C4’s.

    The sport seats are worth the price of admission and far superior to most others from any manufacturer. The high sills combined with the snug fit gives the illusion of an F-111 cockpit, especially with the translucent targa panel.

    And speaking of the targa top – taking it out for “the best of both worlds” is not all it’s cracked up to be. The cowl generates a bodacious shake when the panel is out. There is an X frame under the convertible versions that can be bolted in or there are some aftermarket frame stiffeners available. But it’s generally more pleasant to ride with the panel firmly in place.

    34,000 miles seems reasonable for these cars. A lot of them were purchased as 2 or 3 season 3rd cars and mostly by old farts who babied them. Which is fine for the second or third owners because you can get a virtually new car for a third or less of the price of a new one. They’re not particularly fragile and being Chevrolets there are parts available.

    ’95-’96 cars do not suffer from the earlier LT1’s optispark issues and they have plenty of torque and horsepower. It’s one of those cars that behaves well with increasing speed and it’s not unusual to look at the speedo to see you’re nudging triple digits when you thought you were doing 75.

    Styling is a matter of taste. I always liked the C4 shape and details. Bill Mitchell hated them and preferred the more flamboyant C3. To each his own, but I never got tired of looking at mine.

    I hated to give mine up but as with all Corvettes each succeeding one is better than the last. If whoever buys this decides that he or she doesn’t like it it’s safe to say they won’t have too much trouble unloading it.

    Like 12
  2. ed the welder

    white with red is my personal single worst combo on any car…no sale no matter what car…I can’t be the only one…

    Like 6
  3. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Good looking car. Though to get anywhere near that asking price it should have the 6 speed and be a convertible and even then it would be a stretch.
    I love my 86 and enjoy it every time I get into it, of course it’s a 5 speed convertible (Tremec upgrade).
    If the right person comes along they might get the $$ but I suspect it will be more like $6K to $8K, which is what most of them I’ve seen in similar condition go for.

    Like 3
    • ccrvtt

      I sold my ’95 with 45,000 miles on it 2 years ago for this price. As I was closing the deal another guy came up and said if the first buyer didn’t take it he would.

      Must be the difference between a mint ’95-’96 and an earlier model.

      Like 3
    • Ikey Heyman

      I’d be happy to give the guy $6K to $8K for this car and drive it back to Colorado. The automatic is just fine at my age, the trouble for me is getting in and out of the darn thing.

      Like 6
  4. Steve R

    It might be low mileage, but I don’t see $12,000 worth a car sitting there. The next generation with the LS engine is a better car and can be found for less money in excellent condition. Collectors haven’t warmed to this era of Corvette, they are better than the late-79’s and early-80’s cars, but those don’t have much value either. A friend tried to sell his similar mileage ZR1 on eBay last year, which he bought new, it didn’t receive one bid on his $20,000 opening with no reserve.

    Steve R

    Like 4
    • ccrvtt

      Agree completely that the C5 is a better car and that collectors haven’t warmed to the C4.

      Searching “excellent condition” C5s with similar mileage resulted in nothing less than $12K near me with the average around $16 -$20K.

      Anything newer than 1973 in a Corvette should be considered a driver to be enjoyed, flogged and used up. They are not really collectible.

      Like 4
      • Miguel

        ccrvtt, I bought one of the first C5 Vettes the dealer had. While driving it I couldn’t hear the radio over the humming from the tires.

        That was not a pleasureable driving experience.

        Like 3
  5. KV

    This era Corvette actually looks better than the odd looking C7 designed by the same fellow who gave us the lovely Pontiac Aztek.

    Like 6
  6. Superdessucke

    Best year C4 but bummer it’s an automatic. All 1996 6-speed cars got the LT4. Autos had the LT1.

    Like 3
    • Frank Sumatra

      Supe- Are you sure about that? The LT4 was the optional engine (“Standard” on the 1,000 Grand Sports). Hard to believe you could not get the LT1/six-speed combo. I am not near my reference materials right now, but you have got me on a mission now!

      Like 2
      • Superdessucke

        Yes I’m sure. In 1996, the automatic cars came with the LT1 and the manual cars came with the LT4.

        http://www.vettefacts.com/C4/1996.aspx

        Note that the number of manual transmissions exactly matches the number of LT4s built.

        Like 2
      • Frank Sumatra

        Supe- You are 100% correct. I learned something today! Thanks. And you have saved me some time when I start looking for my 1996 Corvette. LT4/six-speed or Bust!

        Like 2
  7. Al

    One thing I couldnt STAND on the 84-96 models was that cheap looking speedo gauge that looks like designed by 1980 Atari engineers. I could never get past that bar graph looking thing. Especially since it will always be in front of my face.

    Like 2
    • Frank Sumatra

      It could always be worse

      Like 3
  8. Michael

    I love my ’94 6-speed. Not the best riding car but performs quite well.

    Like 2
  9. Bakyrdhero

    Still my favorite Corvette.

  10. Frank Sumatra

    My turn.

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