The 1985 Corvette Sees Sales Plunge as its Price Skyrockets

The 1985 Corvette C4 was a Dismal Follow up to the Rookie C4 Vette of 1984

The 1985 Corvette should have found itself in the right place at the right time in American history. Gone was the gas shortage and here was the gas oversupply that saw gas prices fall by the wayside. This coupled with then President Regan’s agreement with Japanese automakers to limit their exports to a certain number per year grabbed the attention of the American people and the masses rushed out looking for the big boy cars one again. However due to some steep pricing, the Vette didn’t fare as well as GM would have liked.


Because the time of the high output cars was back, Chevy responded by creating an all new engine dubbed the L98 which saw for the first time ‘Tuned Port Injection.’ This gave the all new engine a welcomed boost in performance and now saw the 1985 Corvette put out an awesome 230 bhp, which represented an increase of 25 ponies from the previous version. To stop the new power Chevy used a braking system that featured a larger master cylinder and booster as well as improved brake pads.

With the new power came new complaints of a harder ride and Chevy quickly responded to those complaints by softening up both the spring and shock rates for all models in their arsenal for the year. If a buyer opted for the Z51 package they could even get Delco-Blistein gas pressurized shocks for added performance

Transmission improvements were also made to the mid 80s year Vette and the 4 + 3 Overdrive manual got a new 8.5 inch differential gear which was up from the previous year’s 7.9 inches. Additionally the 1981 Corvette’s transmission was redone to make the function of the overdrive less intrusive on the driver.

Many changes also came the way of cosmetics that gave the 1981 Corvette a better overall convenience feel. Some of the new cosmetic changes were:

  • Newly reworked instrument graphics.
  • Lear-Siegler seats at an extra cost.
  • Refined interior for better overall comfort.

The most welcomed change however came by the way of Chevy acknowledging the squeaks and rattles that had plagues the super car for some time and they began to attempt to make vast improvements upon that. The refinements worked and even earned high praises from Car and Driver Magazine that year.

Most of the critics gave high praises to the 1985 Corvette though they still cited the digital dashboard to be too much of a gimmick. What was loved however, was the style, speed, and added refinement that came with the 1985 Vette.

Once again it seemed that the critics and the enthusiasts were at odds as the 1985 Corvette saw the lowest sales in quite some time. For the model year, the 1985 Corvette sold only 39,729 units and this represented the lowest total since 1975. Though there were many places to point the finger as to the cause of the sales plunge, the sticker was probably the best place to point. The Corvette was now costing over $24,000 for the most basic model and although the economy was indeed doing better it was still not in its heyday by any means and the price of the 1985 Corvette may have just proved that America was not ready for such a high priced piece of Heaven.

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