MARLBOROUGH MUSCLE CARS & BIKES MUSEUM
1989 Chevrolet C4 Corvette Coupe
Cosmetically the '89 Corvette's exterior saw little change from the '88 model. An optional stylized, removable, bolt-on hardtop was introduced for the '89 model year provided convertible owners the option (and function) of driving a convertible without increased wind noise that sometimes accompanied a soft-top. For those that preferred the factory soft-top, the convertible mechanism was simplified for easier operation.
Most changes came in the driveline and suspension. The 17" wheel / P275/40ZR17 tyre setup that had only been available with the Z51 and Z52 packages in 1988 were now standard on all '89 cars as were all other features offered in the '88 Z52 option including gas shocks and fast-ratio steering.
Gone was the never-popular Doug Nash 4+3 transmission (a 4-speed manual coupled to an automatic overdrive on the top three gears) that had been introduced in 1984, replaced by a ZF six-speed manual transmission.
The arrival of the new six-speed transmission was met with unquestioning approval, although its introduction drew a certain amount of controversy. To improve fuel economy and keep the Corvette out of the "gas guzzler" category, the new 6-speed transmission included a new, Computer Aided Gear Selection (CAGS) system. When the Corvette was operated at anything under 35% throttle or between twelve and nineteen miles per hour, the CAGS system would lock out second and third gears, forcing the driver to shift directly from first to fourth.
With the Z52 package options being included as standard in all 1989 model year cars; future Corvette owners could order a new FX3 suspension option; a selective ride and handling package. Available only on Corvettes also equipped with the Z51 option, the FX3 system adjusted shock damping by adjusting suspension firmness levels specified by a console-mounted switch. The SRC (Selective Ride Control) system used microprocessors to activate miniature electric motors at the top of each shock absorber that in turn operated rotary valves to control flow of fluid into the pistons. The system monitored and adjusted itself ten times per second.
Three suspension modes were available to select from during vehicle operation: touring, sport, or competition, and each was designed to suit the mood of the driving condition. Within each mode, the damping rate increased with the car's speed in six, twenty-five-mile-per-hour increments, from 25 to 150MPH. When set to touring, the suspension partially absorbed ruts and pot-holes. When set to competition, the Corvette effectively transformed into handling like a race car.
An aftermarket turbocharger package was available to customers when ordering their Corvettes from the factory. Although not a "factory option", customers could order a B2K Callaway Twin-Turbo engine package through participating dealers. A B2K twin turbo engine was rated at 382bhp. When installed, the Corvette could reach 191 MPH. The B2K package wasn't cheap. It was an additional $25,895.00 over the Corvette base price. In total Callaway converted sixty-nine '89 Corvettes.
In total 26 412 Corvettes were built during the 1988 model year - 16 663 coupes and 9,749 convertibles.
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