When it comes to Corvette icons, one of the most historic names has been Grand Sport.
After a long hiatus after the original five 1963 Grand Sports were secretly produced by Zora and crew, the name lay in rest until the end of the C4 generation when Chevy revived it for one year in 1996. Then with the C6, Chevy brought it back from 2010 to 2013, turning the Grand Sport into sort of a “Z06 Lite” and proving that the name still carried clout as that version dominated sales of the Corvette during those four years.
Most C4 Corvettes don’t get much respect in the market these days, but for fans of that generation, the Grand Sport (at least the convertible version) is probably the best investment you can make right now – perhaps better than the legendary ZR-1.
And right now on eBay, you can buy what looks to be a great example of a Grand Sport Coupe that is essentially a brand new Corvette with just 479 miles showing on the odometer.
A little background: The total Grand Sport 1996 production was 1,000 units: 810 were Coupes and 190 were Convertibles.
The Grand Sport package, going at nearly $5,000 extra, included the new version of the 350 motor, LT4, pumping out 30 more HP than the base LT1 motor. The new LT4 was rated at 330 HP and was packaged with the 6-speed manual transmission.
The Grand Sport paint, of course, painted homage to the original 1963 version, with Admiral Blue with a big white center stripe and special detailing like red hash marks on the driver’s front fender.
Of course, there were also the distinctive aluminum wheels sprayed black.
Back in the day, some enthusiasts hated the combination, including this writer, but it has grown on me, especially after growing accustomed to the black wheels so prevalent on the C7.
Apparently I’m not the only one with a change of heart.
At a Bloomington Gold seminar on collectible Corvettes in 2011, the 1996 Grand Sport was one of the models discussed. The consensus was the 1996 Grand Sport Convertible with its limited production run has the potential to become one of the true late model collectibles.
Too bad this one is a coupe, but it’s still a very rare and hardly used car. So far, though, nobody has accepted the starting bid of $50,000 nor has anyone hit the “Buy It Now” button at $55,500.
The seller doesn’t offer much description of the car on the eBay listing, but we found what appears to be the same car for sale on the Grand Sport Registry Classifieds, with this information: “1996 Grand Sport Coupe #772 – 479 miles and still on MSO, Z51 with black interior, driven only to shows and enough to keep mechanically sound. If you are looking for an unmolested virgin Grand Sport coupe this is the one, always garaged and an excellent car for a Top Flight and/or McLellan Award.”
It’ll be interesting if the owner gets his asking price. Right below it on the Grand Sport Registry Classifieds is an example with 9,824 miles for just $39,000; one for $35,000 with 8,920 miles; and another for $27,000 with 21,000 miles. Of course, these cars, while low mileage, are nowhere near what is essentially a brand new 479-mile version.
Regardless, it’s good to see a C4 getting respect in the marketplace.