More of an update than a full-on road test, this one is of the much-improved 1985 C4.
Courtesy of R&T’s 1984 December issue:
This reminds me of C&D test of the 85 Vette in which they hammered on its lousy ride and handling. GM retorted that C&D testers didn’t have the driving skill to appreciate the car and hadn’t driven it hard enough.
Are you sure that wasn’t the 1984. The 1984 model suspension tuning was intended more for the race track than normal highways. I did own one. The 85 and later were much better for normal highway use (I also had an 86).
Sorry my memory was failing me I remembered that there were no 1984 Corvettes when it was actually that there were no 1983 Corvettes.
Right, the ’84 with the Z51 suspension package was not very usable outside of a completely smooth skid pad. Hitting 1.0g was a big accomplishment at the time.
My parents still have their babied ’85. Stock except for a set of later 18″ ZR1 wheels. Still fun to take for a ride.
Even without the Z51 (mine did not have it) the ride was quite firm, but on worn highways one had to keep a firm hold on the steering. My 86 had the Z51 and was softer riding and was easy to steer on worn roads.
I still have my dealer brochure from when the ’84 came out. They would not do a test drive unless you waved a hefty deposit their way, and if you did, part of the test drive included a sprint from 0-60-0 (forget how quick that was supposed to happen).
0-60 was about 7 seconds, not fast by today’s standards, but for the mid 80’s quite good. My V6 CTS is quicker.
So is my Kia Cadenza, lol. 0-60 times in the sixes just aren’t as impressive as they used to be!
A good friend of mine had one of these from new. It was an ’86 and I drove it quite often. It was a very comfortable, enjoyable sports car. And it was fast. My only complaint was the fact that it did have a few squeaks and rattles, but overall it was a fantastic car. In fact if I had some extra cash I would try to find a nice condition ’85 or newer as it is a lot of bang for your buck.
I just love the way the TPI engine looks. It’s a very attractive setup.
+1 So much better *looking* than the LS series engines where GM has felt the need to install plastic valve cover covers for “dress up”.
I liked the styling of the C4, chaste, sleek and smooth after the Mako Shark inspired excesses of the C3.
I still prefer its looks to those of the C5 and newer.
The C5’s styling is let down by its grotesquely wide rear end. The basic styling would have looked great with closer to C4 proportions.
I like big butts – I cannot lie…
I think C5s usually look just fine in traffic, but have never looked that great in photographs.
I’m sorry…I look at these and automatically think…”parts car”.
There was a one or two model year window with the C4 where a conventional 5 Speed wasn’t available and GM went with a trick OD with the 4 Speed.
Myself, I think a late-80s C4 would be a great affordable performance car. They’re solid with plenty of parts available.
Actually it was 1984 to 1988 and it was the 4+3 transmission. 4 speed with overdrive available for 3 of the 4 gears, in effect a 7 speed transmission.
Doug Nash transmission, IIRC. It’s a shame that the #$%$#$%^U& EPA test penalizes manual transmissions, because I’d love to see the return of selectable final drives in the manner of the old ‘electric overdrives.’ The Corvette and Porsche 7-speed manuals seem like they have crowded shift patterns, but what about a 6+6 like the old Mitsubishi Twin-Stick, or a 6+3 like an Austin-Healey 100S overdrive? That would be cool, and efficient on the highway.
Yeah, this was GM’s first attempt at improving the fuel economy of their performance cars through manual transmission gimmickry. After the 4+3 came the annoying ‘skip-shift’ 6-speed which, under light throttle application, would close off second gear and drop, instead, into fourth, resulting in a bog. It was quite aggravating.
At first, skip-shift could be defeated easily by simply unplugging it at the transmission. But, soon enough, it was discovered that doing so would throw an error code into the ECM, so a special plug with the proper resistance value was developed that would trick the car into thinking the skip-shift electronics were still hooked up.
It’s more like 6 speeds, as 2nd overdrive and 3rd are nearly the same ratio. One could go 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th, then shift down to 3rd overdrive and then 4th overdrive:
2.88, 1.91, 1.33, 1.00, .89, .67
2nd overdrive is 1.28 which makes little sense unless one shifts to overdrive in 2nd and stays there.
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