History/News/Commentary from K. Scott Teeters

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Mike Yeager’s “The Last C4 Corvette”

Dateline: 11.28.11

Mid America Motorworks’ Mike Yeager, scoops up the LAST C4 1996 to roll off the Bowling Green assembly line!

Corvette people are brilliant. Mike Yeager of Mid America Motorworks came up with a novel idea. While most collectors think of ” special editions” and “firsts,” Mike thought of the “last” C4 Corvette off the production line. No one had ever considered that before. Here’s food for thought – imagine how valuable the last production line C1, C2, and C3 Corvettes would be today. Mike must have been thinking along that line when he approached Chevrolet with his unique proposal.

As the ’90s progressed, the rumors of a replacement for the aging Corvette began to build. When GM announced in mid-’95 that the ’96 model would be the last of the C4 Corvettes, Yeager launched his plan. Mike leveraged his relationship with Chevrolet with a unique proposal. Yeager’s request was to be permitted to buy the very last Corvette to roll off the production line, on the condition that the he would retain ownership of the car and display it at his “MY Garage” (Mike Yeager Garage). Mike has an impressive collection Corvettes and other cars. GM liked the proposal, had nothing to lose, and a lot of publicity to gain. So a deal was struck and Mike began his plans to make the “Last C4” a very special car.

Yeager decided that the Last C4 should be visually unique. In honor of the first Corvette, he chose polo white as the body color. From there he added the Grand Sport rear fender flares, white ZR-1 wheels, red Grand Sport front fender hash marks, special embroidery for the seats, and special “Last C4” decals for the front fenders and the windshield. Under the hood was a standard LT1 engine and an automatic transmission. The overall look was clean and unique.

June 19, 1996 must have been a strange day at the Bowling Green Corvette assembly plant. Yeager was on hand to watch and video tape the Last C4 as it made its way down the assemble line. As each station completed its tasks, workers began disassembling the production line equipment behind the car. It took two days to build the Last C4 and Mike helped assemble the right front suspension and rear shock assemblies.

Even the engine for the Last C4 was special, as it was the last Corvette engine to come from the Flint, Michigan Corvette engine assembly facility. The tag on the shipping crate read, “After 41 years – the end.” As the car left each assembly station, Yeager asked each of the workers to sign the car. Signatures are all over the inside of the car. When the car was complete, all of the assembly workers gathered for a group photo. Then the car was transported to the National Corvette Museum for a party and a memorial service for Zora Arkus-Duntov. Two months later, The Last C4 won the “Chip’s Choice” award at the 1996 Carlisle Corvette Show.

When the Last C4 came home to MY Garage, Mike had stacks of documentation for the car. The Last C4 has NEVER been driven and still has the plastic seat covers. Yeager then bought the “First C5” and had it trimmed out like the Last C4 – polo white with white wheels and red fender hash marks. Simply brilliant! – Scott

PS – So, if you happen to be in Effingham, Illinois, stop by “MY Garage” and check out Mike’s “Last C4 Corvette, his “First C5 Corvette” and Mike’s other historical Corvettes! You can visit Mid America Motorworks by clicking the below links. And visit Mike’s MY GARAGE webpage, HERE.

www.mamotorworks.com

PSS – We have prints featuring the above images from The Illustrated Corvette Series available HERE.


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