The fourth-generation (C4) Corvette was one of the most anticipated automotive launches ever. After all, the third-generation Vette had been in production for 14 years, spanning three decades. The rumors swirled. In the ’70s and early ’80s, the new C4 Vette under development was reported to have a Wankel rotary midengine. But that was not to be. Instead, GM held out until the 1984 model year to launch a sleek new front-engine, V8-powered C4 Vette with incredible handling capability and a modern interior. Every school kid at the time was in awe of the new Corvette. The tires alone—255/50VR16s—were so wide, with such low profiles, that they made it look like a concept car. But that first year for the C4 Vette has one of the worst resale values today. Part of the blame comes from the Cross Fire Injected (twin diagonally opposed throttle bodies) 5.7-liter V8 that carried over from the previous car as well as the troublesome 4 + 3 overdrive manual transmission. But don’t let that scare you away. You can pick up an automatic ’84 Vette with just over 100,000 miles for $3000 to $4000. We’d pull the stock 205-hp V8 and swap in any number of great small-block crate engines. It wouldn’t be hard to make an ’84 with the right motor run with a ’94 or even a 2004 Corvette. Want better performance straight from the factory? Shop for an ’85 or ’86 Vette, when GM dropped in the much improved, and much more powerful, L98 Tuned-Port Injected V8 with 235 hp. A nice ’85 with just 40,790 miles sold recently on eBay for $5100. That’s a steal. And buying an early C4 Corvette for cheap means you’ll get an amazing amount of garage eye candy and performance per dollar.