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1996 Corvette Grand Sport
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LAsBestcom



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LAs Best At the 2000 Gathering, John Heinricy (C5R driver par excellence and previous GM Corvette Engineer) spoke to a group of Grand Sport owners -- he told us how the 1996 Grand Sport and Collectors Editions were conceived.

The Corvette Design Team wanted to do a fitting 'close' for the long-running C4 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 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 Dave Hill were talking about the problem. One of them (he couldn't remember which) 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 GS."

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. The Collectors Editions, on the other hand, eventually comprised nearly 25% of the total 1996 production!

As a result of that coffee room conversation, the planning began for something the General had never done -- two very different, special versions of the Corvette in a single model year.

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 ZR1s, GM insituted a policy banning the practice. John said he and others felt strongly about the need to make the Grand Sports "even more special" and fought the political types to make it happen.

In case you didn't know, John Heinricy still owns 1996 GS #0001... the first off the line!
· Date: 1 April 2010 · Views: 27896 · Filesize: 56.9kb, 1073.1kb · Dimensions: 1265 x 889 ·
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