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1996 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

In this edition of Muscle Car Milestone, we give the 1996 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport an in-depth look back. The 1996 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport took an aging platform and transformed it into one of the most iconic fourth generation Corvettes produced. The 1996 Grand Sport became the top dog Corvette with the elimination of the ZR-1 a year prior. Let’s see what makes the 1996 Chevrolet Corvette a muscle car milestone.

To send out the fourth generation Corvette in grand fashion, Chevrolet revived a nameplate from its 1960s racing heritage. Back in 1963, the Grand Sport moniker was bestowed on five lightweight Corvette racers that were created to compete in FIA endurance races. Corvette Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov created these juggernauts that gave the Shelby Cobra a run for its money. Fast forward 33 years and the 1996 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport celebrates the original Grand Sport’s racing heritage by putting the most powerful production small-block V8 ever found under the hood of a Corvette.

The 1996 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport is unmistakable with its exclusive Admiral Blue Metallic paint, Artic White center stripe, and dual red hash marks on the left front fender. Keeping the Grand Sport firmly planted to the road are 17-inch five-spoke wheels bathed in black and wrapped in Goodyear Eagle GS-C radials. Four-wheel disc brakes feature black brake calipers with bright aluminum “Corvette” lettering. Chrome “Grand Sport” emblems on the front fenders proclaim this is no ordinary Corvette.

The Corvette Grand Sport’s interior could be ordered in black or a red and black color combination. Six-way power adjustable perforated seats with lumber support feature “Grand Sport” stitching on the headrests. Black floor mats with black carpeting round out this special Corvette’s interior.

As attractive as the Corvette Grand Sport may be on the outside, the true beauty of the Grand Sport lurks underneath the hood. The Corvette Grand Sport features the new 5.7-liter V8 LT4 engine with 330 horsepower and 340 lb.-ft. of torque. The LT4 builds on the Corvette’s standard 300 horsepower LT1 powerplant but increases torque at the low end and boosts horsepower at a higher rpm level. Redline for the LT4 is at 6,300 rpm vs. the LT1’s 5,700 rpm. Other features of the LT4 include a cast iron crankshaft with undercut and rolled fillets, Bosch electronic sequential port fuel injection, and powdered metal connecting rods. The LT4’s throttle body also sports red accents with “Grand Sport” in red lettering on the cover plate. The sole transmission available with the LT4 is a ZF six-speed manual with overdrive and skip-shift.

The 1996 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport comes available with an abundance of performance equipment. Four-wheel independent suspension with new Selective Real Time Damping, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and Acceleration Slip Regulation (traction control), and the Z51 handling package, which includes stiffer springs, Bilstein shock absorbers, and front and rear stabilizer bars are a few goodies to tick off on the option sheet.

Car and Driver put the 1996 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport to the test in their January 1996 issue. The Grand Sport sprinted from 0 to 60 in 5.1 seconds and finished the quarter mile in 13.7 seconds at 104 miles per hour. Those times are just under the Corvette ZR-1’s times of 4.7 seconds running 0 to 60 and quarter mile time of 13.1 seconds at 111 miles per hour.

The 1996 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport sent the fourth generation Corvette out on a high note. With a limited run of only 1,000 units, the Grand Sport became an instant collectible. Fourth generation Corvettes are finally getting the respect they deserve and the 1996 Corvette Grand Sport is a shining example of what made the C4 generation great.

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