Photos & text courtesy of Mecum Auctions
For the 1996 model year, Chevrolet decided that a very special Corvette was needed to commemorate the end of the highly successful C4 generation. It was decided to build a limited run of visually stunning special editions with the performance to match. Dubbed Grand Sport, this special car was named after the famous lightweight factory Corvette racers of the early 60's, only five of which were built before Chevrolet famously exited from factory participation in racing.
Echoing the original, the new Grand Sport featured a special Admiral Blue exterior with an Arctic White stripe up over the hood and rear deck, two Red hash mark stripes over the left front fender, Black spoke ZR1 style wheels, chrome badging and GS embroidery on the headrests. But what really made the car so special was the one year only "Grand Sport" LT4 engine with its distinctive red intake manifold, conservatively rated at 330 HP and available only with the 6-speed manual transmission.
Originally priced at just over $50,000, the Grand Sport has recently been touted by CNN Money as one of the Top Ten Most Valuable Corvettes. Only 1,000 Grand Sports were built, the most coveted being the Grand Sport convertible with Red and Black interior, only 53 of which were produced. Each car carries its own unique VIN sequence, distinct from all other 1996 production Corvettes. The amazing example you see here is number 474, an early delivery that has only accumulated 11 miles since produced (Significantly, the factory window sticker, which remains in place, announces that “complete vehicle pricing information was not available at time of shipment.”). Equipped with F45 Selective Real Time Damping suspension, dual power Sport seats, electronic air conditioning, Delco-Bose stereo with CD/cassette and a 6-speed manual transmission, it is a true time capsule of one of the most iconic and visually recognizable Corvettes ever produced.