Guide for the 1987 Corvette

The 1987 Corvette is a fantastic classic sports car, but beware the special edition engine.
Written by Jasmine Kanter
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Jan 19, 2023
With 240-horsepower and 345 pounds of torque, the 1987 Corvette smashed performance benchmarks for its time, roaring to 60 miles in just under 6.3 seconds.
Outwardly, there was little change between Corvette’s 1986 and 1987 incarnations, except for argent gray wheel caps and slots. Under the hood, however, the ‘87 Vette was built to outpace every one of its older siblings and improve on the innovations of the L98 engine introduced three years prior. Available in both coupe and convertible options, consumers had the chance to taste top-notch driving performance with all-American origins.
But before you get carried away by the need for speed, better read on for all the details of this limited-run offering. Fellow Corvette enthusiast,
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Ownership costs for a 1987 Corvette

A 1987 Corvette’s price depends first and foremost on whether you opt for the coupe or convertible model. The coupe originally ran for $27,999; today, they range from $4750 to $13,000, depending on condition. The pricier convertible, which originally retailed for $33,172, saw a proportional increase in used prices from $6,695 to $19,900.
In addition, manual-transmission coupes offered the choice of either the Performance Handling Package (Z51) or the Sport Handling Package (Z52). The former was priced at $795 and included a solid rear stabilizer, gas-charged shocks, and quick-ratio steering, while the latter softened springs and lower-control-arm bushings. For just $470, the Z52 package put a sporty spring in the Corvette’s step and was widely praised for improving ride quality for a great price.
Last but not least, there was a special option marketed in select dealerships: the first Callaway Twin-Turbo engine package. Featuring new, forged pistons and a secondary fuel-injection system, this exclusive boost in engine power came with an equally massive increase in price: an additional $19,995 to the Corvette’s base price tag. Cars with this modification, marked RPO B2K, are rare finds, with only about 500 ever ordered.
On top of purchase costs, don’t forget to factor the real costs of ownership into your budget—these are daily, monthly, and occasional cash requirements like insurance, maintenance, and taxes that can add up fast if you aren’t careful.

Where to buy a 1987 Corvette

You can find 1987 Corvettes for sale on
, or
Classic Cars
. If you don’t mind doing a little networking, there’s always the fellow enthusiasts on the
Corvette forums
who are happy to supply tips, leads, or even listings. Who knows what you’ll find?

What does the 1987 Corvette bring to the table? 

The 1987 Corvette featured hydraulic lifter rollers, a thick-core radiator, a second electric cooling fan, and a finned power-steering cooler, all of which boosted horsepower and torque
Additionally, GM used a newly-acquired small British manufacturer, Lotus, to produce a special batch of twin-cam, sixteen-valve cylinder heads. They were installed in a select number of vehicles in Old Lyme,
, outside of regular factory production in
. The result was the special Callaway Twin-Turbo engine upgrade, which netted 100 extra horsepower, 120 extra pounds of torque, and a top speed of 177.9 miles per hour.
Corvette enthusiasts were happy to see the return of both coupe and convertible models in 1987, although they were less enthused about the price increase. MSRPs of $27,999 and $33,172 for the coupe and convertible, respectively, still managed a respectable total sale number of 10,625 units. Buyers must have recognized that, compared to European cars of the same performance level, the 1987 Corvette still represented better value.

Strengths and weaknesses of the 1987 Corvette

There are as many cars on the road as there are kinds of drivers, and one person’s favorite feature might be another’s most-hated pet peeve. That being said, here are some common pros and cons of the 1987 Corvette.

The good: Speed

With GM looking to solidify its reputation on the Formula One Grand Prix racing tracks, 1987 was all about speed. Zero to sixty miles in 5.8 seconds flat, as reported by
, is nothing to sneer at. 

The good: Great handling

Find the perfect road, and the 1987 Corvette guarantees you a perfect ride: smooth, responsive, sporty, and powerful, drivers have loved this Chevy’s exhilarating handling for over 30 years.

The good: Incredible engine

The L98 does what it’s supposed to do and does it well—so well that you could be forgiven for forgetting about it on all but the highest speeds, when it’s in its element. The only time it’ll frustrate you is when you’re stuck in traffic, and that’s hardly the Corvette’s fault; a car like this yearns to be on the open road.

The bad: Little storage space

Speedy, sporty, fun, and fast, 87’s Corvette shines brightest on short trips. Not counting the driver, the coupe has room for one passenger and one suitcase, while the convertible only has room for one or the other. Make the most of it by picking a nearby destination and traveling light.

The bad: Fragile engine

Although breathtakingly fast, the seminal Callaway Twin-Turbo engine was notoriously fragile. And, at nearly $20,000 extra, it was a pricy disappointment for those few who opted to pay for it.

The bottom line—which 1987 Corvette to buy

The coupe and convertible models offer the same tremendous engine power—beyond that, the right 1987 Corvette to buy depends on your taste. The coupe will have your back with just that little bit of extra storage space, but if you plan on making day trips and bringing home nothing but memories, the convertible is for you. 
If you opt for the coupe, keep an eye out for either the Performance or Sport packages: the Z51 base is a solid, dependable ride, but if you have some extra challenging roads ahead, you might appreciate the springiness of the Z52. Either way, skip the RPO B2K’s turbocharged engine; it’s expensive, it’s rare, and it’s not known for its durability, even in its heyday.

How to save money on car insurance for the 1987 Corvette

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