We aren’t sure if the unprecedented external factors are the culprit or if it is pure coincidence but anyone thinking about adding a 1996 Grand Sport to their garage is spoilt for choice right now. Across the many online automotive marketplaces that we check daily, there are as many as 20 examples of the C4 Corvette’s swansong available.
For the purpose of this article, we are going to focus on the breed’s rarest configuration; red interior convertibles.
To celebrate the 13th and final year of production for the revolutionary fourth-generation Corvette, Chevrolet built 1,000 very special cars by dusting off the hallowed Grand Sport name, spraying a full-length Arctic White “skunk” stripe and red Driver’s side hash marks over an Admiral Blue base in an homage to one of the original car’s liveries. They then dropped the one-year-only, LT4 (an upgraded LT1 with 30 extra ponies) under the clamshell hood of each and every one, creating the highest performing Chevrolet model of 1996 in the process. Customers had the choice of either all black or red and black interiors and a six-speed manual was the sole gearbox on offer.
Disciples of this, most beloved of ’90s ‘Vettes can recite along with us here: the body styles were split 810 to 190 in favor of the coupes and their tacked-on fender flairs. Among the far scarcer drop-tops, just 28% (53 units) were optioned with the bright interior. That means that a scant .24 of a percent of Corvettes made in 1996 were blue over red GS ‘verts. This rarity, throupled with the aforementioned performance and one of the most striking paint jobs in Corvette history make ’96 GSs extremely desirable.
One of these unicorns is currently up for grabs from auction house, Russo and Steele. It is number 709 of the thousand-unit build and, once you pop the lid of the center console, you’ll find out that it also features RPO F45, Selective Real Time Damping. This optional suspension package puts GS #709 in a class of just 42 similar cars. The odometer shows 22,000 original miles, which averages out to less than 1k per year; low but not so low that the next owner should be worried about devaluing the car by enjoying it. Included in the $54,500 asking price are all of the original manuals and dealership marketing materials.
While we were drawn to the possibility of driving GS 709, we understand that there are others out there whose interest in America’s Sports Car lies in collecting and preserving concourse-ready specimens. If that sounds like you, there is a private seller in Arizona that demands your attention. They have another red interior 1996 GS convertible (number 642) with only 1,355 miles on the clock for sale. If your interested in snagging one of each Grand Sport body style, sitting right next to 642 is a red interior coupe (one of 217) that, incredibly, has only ever covered 192 miles. The Arizona cars are listed at $60,000 for the rag top and a reasonable $55,000 for the brand new coupe.
Whether you are interested in driving, collecting, or a bit of both, you can’t go wrong with a C4 Grand Sport and even though these examples command base C8 money, they might be a better long-term investment.
Russo and Steele
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