1996 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Convertible - $44,900
  • Overview & History
  • Specifications
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With just 15,313 original miles and two owners from new, this Grand Sport convertible is an investment-grade Corvette that more than lives up to its billing.

Chevrolet loves nothing better than to create a special edition Corvette, but some are more special than others. The 1996 Corvette Grand Sport was one of those brilliant upgrades that was more than just a tape stripe package, more than just special wheels, and more than just a limited edition. Instead, everything came together just right, and the Grand Sport included an upgraded LT4 engine, custom paint that recalled the great racers of the early ‘60s, a special interior, and very limited production numbers. There are plenty of sites that will tell you how rare your Corvette is just by boiling down the options list, but a 1996 Corvette Grand Sport convertible is a truly rare car, with only 190 being built. Even more remarkably, there were two interior choices, and only 137 buyers opted for the black leather. With just 15,313 original miles and two owners from new, this Grand Sport convertible is an investment-grade Corvette that more than lives up to its billing.

Admiral Blue with Arctic White stripes and red hashmarks was exclusive to the Grand Sport and was the only way you could get it. There were some who thought it was excessive, but in the fullness of time, it’s become apparent that this is one of the best-looking Corvettes in recent memory. It’s aggressive and bold, yes, but the combination is just gorgeous. By 1996, after 12 years of production, they’d pretty much perfected the C4 so build quality is exceptionally good throughout and the paint has a shine that belies its age. Obviously few buyers used their Grand Sport as daily transportation, and that’s obviously the case here—we’re pretty sure this car has never been wet. All the paint is original, there are no dings or chips, not even on the nose, and even the chin spoiler is remarkably bereft of scrapes and scratches. Grand Sports also received special chrome emblems on the nose and tail and ‘Grand Sport’ badges on their flanks, just in case you missed the dramatic paint. Convertibles didn’t get the goofy fender flares like the coupes, and the design is better for it, looking long and sleek. This one is beautiful in every way, and there are likely lower-mileage cars out there, they probably aren’t any nicer.

You could choose black leather or torch red, and black seems like the safe choice. Torch Red is vibrant, but the black will never go out of fashion and lets the bright bodywork speak for itself. Custom interior touches include ‘Grand Sport’ embroidery on the seat backs, but for the most part it sticks to the same formula that made the C4 such a comfortable cruiser. Sure, you’ll have to perfect the “C4 fall” to get in (put your butt on the seat, swing your right foot onto the brake pedal, then pull the left foot over the tall sill), but once you’re in there, you’ll quickly realize that the C4 Corvettes got everything right. The combination of analog and digital gauges was an effective way to convey important information and you’ll note that the LT4 engine has a 6250 RPM redline, up 500 RPM over the LT1. There’s also an oil temperature gauge, which can be useful if you’re going to use your GS to its potential. Just about everything was standard, including power seats, windows, locks, and mirrors, a powerful climate control system, an AM/FM/cassette/CD stereo system, and a trip computer. The driver’s seat shows some very minor comfort marks, but certainly no damage and a set of carpeted floor mats with red piping were added to keep the carpets looking their best. A white top was the only choice, and it’s the model of folding top simplicity, stowing under the rear deck in seconds. A heated glass rear window is standard, too.

Mechanically, the Grand Sport carries the most powerful small block V8 up to that time, adding 30 horsepower to the LT1’s 300. Bigger injectors, a revised camshaft, more compression, larger vales, and roller rockers all contribute to the LT4’s rev-happy nature. The redline was raised and there’s noticeably more punch at any speed, particularly in third gear, and the Grand Sport is still formidable in this age of 600 horsepower Corvettes. The LT4 is easy to recognize with its red intake manifold and plug wires, and a ‘Grand Sport’ badge on the throttle body. Obviously this one is completely unmodified and given its status as an A-list collector’s item, it hasn’t been raced or abused. Turn the key and it springs to life instantly, idles relatively smoothly (remember those upgrades), and makes plenty of oil pressure. The exhaust system still has its original catalytic converters and mufflers, so it’s 100% legal in every state, and OEM reliability is unaffected. This car will run practically forever.

The only transmission available with the LT4 was the ZF 6-speed manual, one of the slickest gearboxes you’ll find behind a small block V8. This one is so painfully stock that even the 1-4 skip-shift (also known as CAGS: computer-aided gear selection) is fully operational. Don’t worry, just goose the throttle a little before hitting second gear. Out back, there are 3.45 gears on a limited slip, and that’s plenty of gear for the torquey 350 to get it rolling with authority. Towering overdrive gears on 5th and 6th mean that it just loafs along at highway speeds and if you’re careful, you can pull down 25 MPG on long trips. Nice, right? This car is also equipped with the optional $1695 F45 adjustable suspension, which narrows the production range down to just 76 Grand Sport convertibles so equipped. It works rather well, with a comfortable softer setting that firms up to near Z51 specs in performance mode. Corvette brakes have always been powerful and are still carrying their factory brake pads, and the exhaust has a nice growl that never gets annoying. 17-inch A-Mold wheels from the ZR1 were part of the Grand Sport package, this time painted gloss black and wearing 255/45/17 front and 285/40/17 rear Goodyear Eagle GS-C tires, which are indeed original-issue (we recommend replacing them if you’re going to drive the car extensively).

Grand Sport convertibles are obviously a rare commodity and they rarely come up for sale. The ZR1 seems to be struggling to find its way onto collectors’ must-have lists, but a Grand Sport convertible will always be a first-rate collectable, and you don’t have to love Corvettes to want one. Great cars will always be great, and that’s never been more true than with this Corvette’s unique combination of style, rarity, and performance. Call today!

Vehicle: 1996 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Convertible
Price: $44,900
Stock Number: 114073
Mileage: 15,313
VIN: 1G1YY3252T5600573
Engine: 350 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 3.45
Wheelbase: 96.2 inches
Wheels: 17-inch aluminum wheels
Tires: Front: 255/45/17, Rear: 285/40/17 Goodyear GS-C
Exterior Color: Admiral Blue
Interior Color: Black leather
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