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The Last C4

The Last C4

The Last C4

While everyone else was ready for the first of the new generation, Mike Yager asked for the last. Mike contacted Chevrolet General Manager Jim Perkins to request the honor of purchasing the final C4 Corvette. The whole Yager Family went to Bowling Green, Ken. to watch the car being assembled. Mike asked every person who worked on the C4 to autograph it as it moved down the assembly line. After a 13-year lifespan and 358,180 Corvettes created, the C4 era ended.

A Corvette Milestone

The C4 Corvette (Fourth Generation Corvette) was a milestone from the day it was introduced in March 1983 as the new 1984 model. Corvette engineers had completely redesigned “America’s Sports Car,” creating a reliable, high performance, high-horsepower sports car that fully complied with emission control and fuel economy regulations.

The C4 firmly established Corvette as a world class car. For the automotive enthusiast, the C4 Corvette was a world class car, and a world class bargain. For a base sticker price of $21,800 when it was introduced, Corvette owners had a car that was unmatched by other cars costing tens of thousands of dollars more. In fact, many critics in the motoring press considered the car to be among the best handling cars in the world.

1984 Light Blue Corvette

Unique Style And Handling

The C4 Corvette was truly an innovation and brought Corvette back to the automotive center stage. Under Dave McLellan’s direction as Chief Engineer, the 1984 C4 introduced a forged aluminum chassis and a thorough update to every other aspect of the car, leading Motor Trend to announce, “A Star is Born.”

The styling took its cue from the mid-engine 4 Rotor Corvette Paris Show car and lowered the drag coefficient to 0.34. The technology infusions over the life of the C4 included:

  • Aluminum Intensive Chassis
  • 50, Then 40 & Then 35 Aspect Ratio High Speed Tires, Then Finally Run Flat Tires
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring
  • Mono-tube Adjustable Bilstein Shocks
  • 11.5" Ventilated Disc Brakes
  • Zero Scrub Front Suspension
  • Rack & Pinion Steering
  • Ultra Light Fiberglass Springs F/R
  • 6 Speed Manual Transmission
The Last C4 with Sign

The Last C4

In mid 1995, after General Motors announced the 1996 model year would be the end of the line for the C4, Mike began making plans to purchase the car. He recognized the significance of the C4 in the development of the Corvette, and he wanted to make sure the last C4 was properly honored. He secured GM’s approval to buy the last C4 on the condition that he would retain ownership of the car and display it in his museum.

“You can find a lot of ‘first cars’ because everyone is excited about a brand new vehicle. But ‘last cars’ are rare. The ones that exist are typically in private collections and no one ever sees them. This car is on display at the MY Garage Museum for everyone to see,” Mike said.

The Last C4 is a stock Arctic White coupe, with the LT1 350 cu. In. 330 horsepower engine and an automatic transmission. Unique commemorative design features added to distinguish the Last C4 include:

  • White ZR-1 Wheels
  • Grand Sport Flares Mounted To The Fenders
  • Red Grand Sport “Hash Marks” Adorn The Fenders
  • A Unique “Last C4” Emblem Mounted On Each Side Of The Car
  • Custom Mid America Motorworks Seats With “Last C4” Stitching
  • A “Last C4” Decal Mounted To The Top Of The Windshield
The Last C4

A Celebration Of A Landmark Generation

At the assembly plant, production of the last C4 was a celebration, not an ending. Mike escorted the car as it moved down the production line. He even helped install the shock absorbers, control arms and the ZR-1 wheels on the car.

Before the car left each work station, Mike asked employees to sign the car. Their signatures can be found all over the Last C4, autographed on the section of the car they created. The car was also signed by Jim Perkins, former Chevrolet General Manager; Dave McLellan, Chief Corvette Engineer; Fred Gallasch, then Assistant Brand Manager for Corvette; and Jeff Cauley, of Cauley Chevrolet in Michigan, the “dealer of record” for the car.

As the Corvette moved down the line, the employees followed behind, removing fixtures used to build the C4 and watching as the last C4 left the plant.

The Last C4 Engine, autographed by Jim Perkins and Dave McLellan
The Last C4 Engine, autographed by Jim Perkins and Dave McLellan

For the last C4, Mike chose the R8C option, which enabled him to take delivery of the car at the National Corvette Museum, also located in Bowling Green. The actual delivery of the car to Mike was at a partycelebrating the Last C4 and a memorial service to Zora Arkus-Duntov, the Godfather of the Corvette, and personal friend of Mike’s.

The car has only been driven 37 miles. In fact, the plastic covers installed at the plant to protect the steering wheel and seats are still in place.

The Last C4 is on public display 7 days a week at the MY Garage Museum & Retail Store in Effingham, Ill. Visitors get a chance to see the raised hood, where signatures cover the engine bay. They will also seephotos of the car’s production and delivery, including photos of the Bowling Green employees surrounding the car after it rolled off the line. There is even a hammer that was used on every C4 built over the 13-yearproduction! A banner with more employee signatures and the framed “After 41 Years—The End” tag commemorating the last small block engine produced in Flint, Mich. complete the display.

In June the Last C4 was honored by being inducted into the Bloomington Gold Great Hall. It was selected to join the ranks of 49 other Corvettes to be among the 50 most significant Corvettes in the Corvette Hobby.

Mike and Michael Yager with the Last C4
Mike Yager and Michael Yager with the Last C4 in the Bloomington Gold Great Hall