One of the main events of this year’s Corvettes at Carlisle show was the 25th anniversary celebration of the 1996 Grand Sport Corvettes. With just 1,000 units made that year, the Admiral Blue and white “skunks” were the perfect sendoff for Corvette’s 4th generation.
All Grand Sports wore Admiral Blue paint, white body-length stripes, and red hash marks on the front left fender. Buyers could choose from red or black interiors and coupe or convertible models. The drivetrain on all Grand Sports was made up of the new-for-1996 330 horsepower LT4 engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. Today all C4 GS’s are desirable, but collectors clamor for a convertible with the red interior.
The 25th anniversary Grand Sport display was located pretty much right in the center of the show field. An island of blue and white stood apart from the sea of colors from all the other Fun Field cars situated nearby. Over the course of the weekend, we noticed anywhere from 35-40 cars in the cool line up C4’s. Other, newer generations of Grand Sports were parked adjacent to their older siblings. A tent located on the main aisle housed 1996 GS #1 as well as Grand Sports from the C6, C7, and C2 generations. Of course, the C2 wasn’t one of the 5 original Grand Sports. It was, however, a stunning replica produced by Duntov Motor Company.
The Grand Sport Registry, coordinated the 25th anniversary celebration which also included retired GM Engineer and NCM Hall of Famer, John Heinricy. Affectionately referred to as “Heinrocket”, he’s best known as the “Father of the Grand Sport” and being one of Corvette’s most accomplished racers. Off the track he was Corvette’s Assistant Chief Engineer through the late C4-era and spent time as the Director of GM’s Performance Division. As such, he was able to procure 1996 Grand Sport #001, a coupe with red interior. He owned that car up until last weekend when he gifted the special edition ‘Vette to a well-deserving Corvette friend. That’s what our hobby is all about.
The Grand Sport display was bustling all weekend long. The massive wave of blue and white was a really cool part of the 2021 Corvettes at Carlisle event. In case you missed the 25th Anniversary celebration, here’s our gallery of Grand Sports below.
Photos by Steve Burns
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