1985 Corvette Overview – What Made it So Special?

Why the 1985 Corvette’s L98 Engine Made All the Difference

1985 Chevrolet Corvette © General Motors
1985 Chevrolet Corvette © General Motors

The 1985 Corvette was an important model year for the iconic sports car, largely thanks to the introduction of the L98 engine. This revolutionary engine was a major step forward for the 1985 Corvette. With its improved power, torque, and reliability, the L98 engine was a true game-changer for the 1985 Corvette. In this blog post, we’ll explore why the 85 Corvette with the Z51 Performance Handling package is worth keeping an eye out for.

In this article:

Overview

The 1985 Corvette is a model year that is particularly important in the evolving history of this iconic American sports car. As the second year of the Corvette C4 generation, it represented a continuation of the modernization efforts started by the previous model year. For the 85 Corvette, some of the inherent rattles and squeaks from the 1984 model were eliminated.

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It also brought some other major improvements to the table, including a brand-new engine that set the standard for future Corvettes. In comparison to the ’84, the introduction of the L98 engine marked a huge advancement.

The 1985 C4 Corvette was designed to be an affordable sports car that would appeal to a wide range of enthusiasts. The base price was $24,403.00, and the standard equipment included the 350ci, 230hp engine with a 4-speed automatic transmission, removable body-color roof panel, AM-FM stereo, and cloth seats.

The 1985 Engine

The 1985 Vette saw major improvements over its predecessor, most notably in its powertrain. The L98 engine, a 5.7-liter V8, replaced the 5.0-liter engine from the previous year. This engine was a significant upgrade and boasted 230 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque. It featured a tuned port injection system, which made it more efficient and powerful than previous models.

The 1985 Corvette engine was paired with a standard four-speed automatic transmission, but a four-speed manual transmission was also available as an option.

When the C4 1985 Chevrolet Corvette was first unveiled, Car and Driver carried out a test that revealed the vehicle could reach 60 mph in 5.7 seconds and, after covering a quarter-mile, reached a speed of 97 mph in 14.1 seconds.

Overall, the introduction of the L98 engine was a game-changer for 1985 and added power and style to the car, and helped make it one of the most iconic American sports cars of all time.

Transmission

The 1985 Corvette transmission was the Doug Nash 4+3 manual transmission which included the addition of an override button situated on the top of the shifter, with overdrive gears featured on the three highest gears.

Z51 Performance Handling Package

For 1985, the Z51 package included 9.5-inch-wide wheels both front and rear, as well as a softened rear spring and adjusted shocks, with roll resistance, maintained through larger anti-sway bars. Furthermore, the 1985 base suspension was also enhanced through reduced spring rates.

With the Z51 package, drivers could expect improved handling and grip, making the Corvette feel more agile and responsive on the road. It also provided better stopping power, thanks to the upgraded brakes.

In 1985, Chevrolet sold 39,729 Corvettes, with 14,802 featuring the desirable Z51 Performance Handling package.

Exterior

The 1985 Chevy Corvette exterior design didn’t change much from its predecessor, and the 85 Corvette was only available in the coupe; the convertible wasn’t available until ’86. However, subtle improvements made the car more aerodynamic, which helped with its performance on the road. The car still retained its sleek, angular shape, but the front end had a new design with an extended nose and a more rounded look. This gave the car a more modern appearance.

Overall, while the 1985 Corvette exterior design wasn’t a complete overhaul, the subtle improvements and enhancements helped make the car a more well-rounded and appealing option for sports car enthusiasts.

Exterior Color Options

On the exterior, the 1985 Corvette colors were also expanded, and owners had the choices of Silver Metallic, Medium Grey Metallic, Light Blue Metallic, Medium Blue Metallic, White, Black, Gold Metallic, Light Bronze Metallic, Dark Bronze Metallic, Bright Red, Silver/Grey, Light Blue/Medium Blue, Light Bronze/Dark Bronze.

Interior

The interior was given an overhaul, with the digital instrument cluster being the focus. Although the style of the panel was similar to that of the 1984 model, its legibility had been improved.

Interior Color Options

The 1985 Corvette interior colors included Graphite Sport Seat Cloth, Graphite Leather, Medium Gray Cloth, Medium Gray Sport Seat Cloth, Medium Gray Leather, Medium Blue Cloth, Medium Blue Sport Seat Cloth, Medium Blue Leather, Saddle Cloth, Saddle Sport Seat Cloth, Saddle Leather, Bronze Cloth, Bronze Sport Seat Cloth, Bronze Leather and Carmine Leather.

Conclusion

Overall, the 1985 Corvette Stingray was a good value for those seeking an affordable used sports car. The introduction of the L98 engine improved upon the criticisms of the previous year’s model and delivered better performance. The C4 design and features, such as the upgraded transmission, sleek exterior, and comfortable interior, made the ’85 Corvette a desirable option for sports car enthusiasts. Despite being over three decades old, this Corvette remains a popular choice among collectors and fans alike, and for good reason. It continues to offer good value for those seeking a unique and thrilling driving experience. If you are looking for a used Corvette, check out our Corvettes for Sale Classified ads.

Standard Equipment

  • AM/FM
  • Active (Manual) Belts
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Brakes
  • Power Steering
  • Power Windows

1985 Corvette Options

RPO#DESCRIPTIONQUANTITY$ RETAIL
1YY07Base Corvette Sport Coupe39,72924,403
AR9Base Seats – Leathern/a400
n/aSport Seats – Clothn/a5,661
AQ9Sport Seats – Leathern/a1,025
AG9Power Driver Seat37,856215
AU3Power Door Locks38,294170
CC3Removable Transparent Roof Panel28,143595
D84Two Tone Paint6,033428
FG3Delco-Bilstein Shock Absorbers9,333189
G92Performance Axle Ratio5,47722
K34Cruise Control38,369185
MM44-Speed Manual Transmission9,5760
NN5California Emission Requirements6,58399
UL5Radio Delete172-256
UN8AM-FM Stereo, Citizens Band16215
UU8Stereo System, Delco-Bose35,998895
VO8Heavy Duty Cooling17,539225
Z51Performance Handling Package14,802470
Z6ARear Window/Side Mirror Defogger37,720160

1985 Corvette Exterior Color: Code and Quantities

CODEEXTERIORQUANTITY
13Silver Metallic1,752
18Medium Gray Metallic2,519
20Light Blue Metallic1,021
23Medium Blue Metallic2,041
40White4,455
41Black7,603
53Gold Metallic1,411
63Light Bronze Metallic1,440
66Dark Bronze Metallic1,030
81Bright Red10,424
13/18Silver/Gray2,170
20/23Light Blue/Medium Blue1,470
63/66Light Bronze/Dark Bronze2,393

1985 Corvette Interior Colors and Codes

CODECOLOR
12CGraphite Cloth
12VGraphite Sport Seat Cloth
122Graphite Leather
15CMedium Gray Cloth
15VMedium Gray Sport Seat Cloth
152Medium Gray Leather
28CMedium Blue Cloth
28VMedium Blue Sport Seat Cloth
282Medium Blue Leather
62CSaddle Cloth
62VSaddle Sport Seat Cloth
622Saddle Leather
65CBronze Cloth
65VBronze Sport Seat Cloth
652Bronze Leather
742Carmine Leather

How much does a 1985 Corvette cost?

According to online valuations (2023), you can get a 1985 Coupe with the 8-cyl. 5.7L 350cid/230hp TPI for as low as $4,000 and concours condition $26,000. You can add another $500 if it has the Z51 suspension and $500 more if it has the glass roof. Obviously, mileage and condition are going to make a hugh difference.

1985 Corvette for Sale

Right now, there is a 1985 Corvette going to the Mecum Indy 2023 Auction, and its estimated value is $30,000 – $35,000. It has a 5.7L/230 HP V-8 engine, 4-speed with the Z51 Performance Handling Package, and a Glass removable roof panel with only 566 miles on it. It is part of the Ron Delli Santi Collection. It also has a window sticker on the window.

Features

  • Glass removable roof panel
  • Digital display
  • Power steering
  • Air conditioning
  • Power windows and locks
  • 6-way power adjustable driver’s seat
  • Delco/Bose AM/FM/cassette stereo
  • Tinted glass
  • Limited slip rear axle
  • Power 4-wheel disc brakes
  • Gold crossed lace wheels, original factory alloys included
  • Twin tipped dual exhaust

LOT W216 at Indy 2023 Mecum Auction Photos

Back of Bright Red 1985 C4 Corvette Coupe - Photo Courtesy Mecum Auction
Back of Bright Red 1985 C4 Corvette Coupe – Photo Courtesy Mecum Auction
Bright Red 1985 C4 Corvette Coupe - Photo Courtesy Mecum Auction
Bright Red 1985 C4 Corvette Coupe – Photo Courtesy Mecum Auction
Front of Bright Red 1985 C4 Corvette Coupe - Photo Courtesy Mecum Auction
Front of Bright Red 1985 C4 Corvette Coupe – Photo Courtesy Mecum Auction
L98 57L 230 HP OHV V-8 engine - 1985 Corvette Coupe - Photo Courtesy Mecum Auction
L98 57L 230 HP OHV V-8 engine – 1985 Corvette Coupe – Photo Courtesy Mecum Auction
L98 57L 230 HP OHV V-8 engine - 1985 Corvette Coupe - Photo Courtesy Mecum Auction
L98 57L 230 HP OHV V-8 engine – 1985 Corvette Coupe – Photo Courtesy Mecum Auction
Red Interior 1985 Corvette Coupe - Photo Courtesy Mecum Auction
Red Interior 1985 Corvette Coupe – Photo Courtesy Mecum Auction
Side of Bright Red 1985 C4 Corvette Coupe - Photo Courtesy Mecum Auction
Side of Bright Red 1985 C4 Corvette Coupe – Photo Courtesy Mecum Auction
Window Sticker - 1985 Corvette Coupe - Photo Courtesy Mecum Auction
Window Sticker – 1985 Corvette Coupe – Photo Courtesy Mecum Auction

At the Mecum Kissimmee 2023 auction, three 1985 Corvettes were sold. Two sold for $9,900. One sold for $20,900, and that one was a custom with Lingenfelter upgrades.

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