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The 1986 Corvette convertible was a big deal… back then

It was the sports car for which Corvette fans had been waiting 11 years. No, not the mid-engine C8 or its just-revealed drop-top sibling. Folks stood by much longer for those. Nevertheless, when the cover came off the highly anticipated 1986 Chevrolet Corvette convertible three decades ago—the first drop-top ’Vette since 1975—it was a very big deal.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/10/03/1986-corvette-convertible-was-a-big-deal

It was welcomed by many but not all Corvette fans. Many people had bought '75 convertibles and held onto them in anticipation of a huge profit some day. How’d that work out for them?? Not too good!

I am still enjoying the 1986 “Pace Car” replica I bought new in September 1986. I had previously owned a 72 C3 coupe and a 85 C4 coupe. In 82 thousand miles I have replaced a intake gasket, rebuilt the alternator and replaced a number of tires. It has been a daily driver and made two thousand mile trips. It has never had any squeaks or rattles and gets about 22 MPG around town and 28 on a trip. The convertible has a extra frame X member compared to the coupe, a whopping five extra hp and one inch wider wheels. The top is one of the best manual type I have ever seen. Decals were dealer installed at the buyers option, mine are still in the original box. I think the convertible is much better looking that the coupe and I still get compliments on the car after 33 years. I my opinion a decent C4 is a absolute bargain at today’s values.

I still like the C4’s styling better than any Corvette that followed. No big butt (C6), no huge butt (C5), and no louvered-Batmobile styling (C7). Sleek, sleek, sleek.

We owned a 1987 Convertible drove it a cross countery from Alpine “San Diego” to Bay City " Kawkawlin" Michigan returned up over the Great Lakes to Duluth on to the Black Hills,Salt Lake City, Las Vegas back home to Alpine California
We had a blast trip of a lifetime with my love

One of the Corvettes that I own is a Red '89 Convertible and I got the optional Hard Top with it. It was a higher mileage car, but still a pretty sweet ride. I loved the Digital Dash (and I know not everyone likes this digital dash). The relatively low entry cost of the C-4 Vettes makes them a good value for the money. The convertible C-4 Vettes always seem to go for more money than the coupe, but I think they are well worth the premium over the more common Coupes. The Soft Top is easy to deploy up or down (all manual operation) for one person and the car handles well when compared to other cars for that era. Power is a bit low when compared to newer generation Corvettes, but I would still call it “spirited” to drive and never disappoints when I use it. I would tell someone looking for a good entry level Vette to consider the C-4 for the lower price point. The convertible C-4 looks sharper and should be considered first. Still a lot of car for the money with the all the Corvette history built into it.

Not all convertibles were Pace Cars. The official pace car was yellow. My convertible came with the decals. I didn’t know that they all came with them. But,. Only the yellow was used at Indy that year.

The C4 especially in convertible guise(1986 thru 1996) was in fact a car ‘right for its time’. Pretty cool when the C4 was introduced in '84 with a winning style. Then when ASC was consulted for an ‘in house GM factory build’ convertible, the car never looked better. I can see why condition #1, and #2 still bring a decent dollar. (For the 1986 model year only though, I suspect)? Yes, we ‘boomers’ sure love the car today(guess that’s why I continue to own and drive a '96 convertible).

I have a1990 conv, and we drove the Route 66 trail from Chicago to Santa Monica, starting in San Antonio, Tx, and the only hiccup we had was with the 16 year-old tires.

Had a ‘05 C6 coupe, now in a ‘96 C4 convertible w the LT4 6-speed. Of course the ‘05 was much more refined, but the ‘96 is a blast and I think it looks better than the C5 and C6s.