'96 Grand Sport Corvette History
    At the 2000 Gathering event at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, John Heinricy (C5R driver par excellence and previous GM Corvette Engineer) spoke to a group of highly enthusiastic Corvette owners telling how the 1996 Grand Sport and Collectors Editions were conceived.

    The Corvette Design Team wanted to do a fitting 'close' for the long-running and successful C4 (4th generation) body style. The 'car guys' had created the mules for the Grand Sport in 1993 and showed it to a small group of dealers and marketers that help set brand direction.

    The feedback was that the design was 'too bold' and they only forecast sales of 500-1000 units. That wasn't enough sales -- they were all worried that the coming C5 would hurt the sales of the last year of the C4. But Heinricy and others were pushing hard to have GM do something different and bring the GS to the market.
         

    At the coffee pot one day, Heinricy and then Corvette Chief Engineer Dave Hill were talking about the problem. One of them thought for a minute and said, "How about we have two special models? We'll make an unlimited number of commemorative specials and the limited-run Grand Sport."

    In that room they set the maximum number of Grand Sports at 1,000 since that's what the marketing guys said they could sell. Each Grand Sport would come with the new high performance LT4 engine (the highest performance small block engine Chevy had ever produced at the time) and a mandatory six speed manual transmission. The Collectors Editions, on the other hand, would be the boulevard cruiser and eventually comprised nearly 25% of the total 1996 production, far from a true limited edition!

          As a result of that coffee room conversation, the planning began for something very special... the extremely limited edition 1996 Grand Sport finished in Admiral Blue and wide Arctic White stripe, one of the most eye catching, collectible, and sought after Corvettes ever produced... a true Legend Reborn!

    One other note: Heinricy said he had a real fight on his hands for the special VIN sequencing for the GS models. After doing a special series for the ZR-1s, GM wanted to ban the practice. John said he and others felt strongly about the need to make the Grand Sports "even more special" and sucessfully fought to make it happen.

    And just in case you didn't know, John Heinricy still owns 1996 GS #0001... the first off the line!


    For detailed information on the 1996 Grand Sport Corvette, visit the Official Grand Sport Registry


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