The 1984 Corvette Proves to be a True Form Follows Function Design

First Year of the C4 Generation is Worth the Much Anticipated Wait

The 1984 Corvette not only represented the new C4 generation of the Corvette, it also represented the first time in 15 years that General Motors set out to totally redesign the Corvette.  The mission statement for chief engineers and designers Jerry Palmer and David R. McClellan would be ‘form follows function.’ Though this was supposedly followed in the past, this new generation had to prove to be worth the wait.

art9Design for the 1984 Corvette began years earlier and was intended to come out in 1983 so that Corvette fans could have a 30 year anniversary model. Unfortunately for the fans though, snags and glitches delayed the production and the new generation of Corvette would not go into production until March of 1983 but had to be released as a 1984 model. Still the 1984 Corvette was worth the time it took to get it right.

The 1984 Corvette was a total redesign from the top down and carried over nothing from the ‘Shark’ area save the engine. Some of the new features for the 1984 Corvette included:

  • Improved Frame: Chevrolet and the 1984 Corvette made history incorporating the first ever uni-frame, or ‘birdcage’ frame.
  • Improved Steering: The 1984 Corvette featured rack-and-pinion steering design as opposed to the past recirculating-ball steering that General Motors typically used at the time.
  • Improved Suspension: The 1984 Corvette featured a Z51 Performance Handling Package. This package included 13.0:1 quick-ratio steering, heavy-duty shocks, and upgraded front and rear springs. The new Corvette also featured Formula 1 and Indy Car racing inspired V-Rated tires for a better overall grip.
  • Improved Braking: A new design of 11.5 inch rotors made their way onto the 1984 Corvette. These rotors were a special design from the company Girlock.
  • Improved Hood: The 1984 Corvette saw the birth of the clam-shell hood which made access to the engine much easier than previous models.
  • Improved Trunk: The 1984 Corvette had an bigger back piece of glass that opened as a hatch to give way to a much roomier trunk.
  • Improved Top: The new Corvette brought the first targa top with no centerline reinforcement for the muscle car.
  • Improved Transmission: The 1984 Corvette had a new four speed automatic transmission like no one had ever known before. Dubbed the ‘4+3,’ the new transmission was basically a regular four speed transmission with three planetary gears attached to the rear which acted as a step down or overdrive reduction in the top three gears when signaled by the computer.

Even though the engine was a carryover from the 1982 model, the 1984 Corvette was able to put out five additional horsepower and five additional foot pounds of torque thanks to a more efficient radiator fan and accessory drive. The 5.7-liter 350 V-8 featured twin throttle-body electronic fuel injection and ‘CrossFire’ manifolding with dual ram-air intakes.

The official unveiling of the 1984 Corvette was done in the early spring of 1983. The new generation of Corvette came out to much herald acclaim by both enthusiasts and critics alike and thanks to an extra long model year the 1984 Corvette saw 51,547 units sell which represented the second highest in Corvette history. While it took a long time for General Motors to create another generation of Corvette it seems that the wait was more than worth it.

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