The 1996 model year would mark the final year of both the C4 and the Generation II small block engine that powered it. As such, Chevrolet was prepared to commemorate its departure by offering two special edition Corvettes, both of which would feature an upgraded version of the LT1 power plant. Denoted as the LT4, the 330-horsepower engine would be showcased in both the Collectors Edition Corvette and a limited edition Grand Sport Corvette.
Despite its improved horsepower over the LT1 engine, the LT4 was not considered a showstopper for many automotive reviewers that year. The fact remained that while the LT4 produced an extra 30 horsepower than the LT1, there was no notable difference in acceleration. In fact, both the LT1 and LT4 equipped Corvettes ran similar 0-60mph times. Another noted complaint of the LT4 engine was the fact that, because it lacked an engine oil cooler, it tended to overheat at sustained top speeds of around 186 miles per hour.